Nowadays most people do some research on bankruptcy before making an appointment to talk to a lawyer. One common concern is the education requirements for bankruptcy. People are required to complete an approved course on credit counseling and a second course on financial management. The courses are specifically for bankruptcy and must be taken from an approved provider. Fortunately, there are many approved providers online, the cost is nominal ($15 to $20) and providers offer fee waivers to low income individuals. I suggest www.accessbk.org for people that ask. Naturally, people wonder if the courses are long or difficult and if there is a test they need to pass. The short answer is no, you do not need to a pass test but there is a mandatory online chat session at the end of each course. Here is a general description of the courses.
Credit Counseling – This course must be completed within 180 days before a bankruptcy filing. This course is a minimum of 60 minutes and is usually taken online. The online course is an automated e-course that can be taken 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. The course generally requires you to input an estimate of your household income and expenses. This estimate is only used for this course and will not be compared to the bankruptcy papers. The course will offer suggestions about your budget. You are not required to implement the suggestions. The course culminates in a one-page certificate of completion. This certificate is filed with the court as part of the bankruptcy papers.
Personal Financial Management – This is the second course. This course must be completed after the bankruptcy is filed. This course is a minimum of 90 minutes and can be taken online. This is a self-enrichment course and you are free to use the information as you see fit.
No computer? No problem. The course can be taken on any computer. People often use a family member’s computer or go to a public library. No computer skills? No problem. Frequently people ask a friend or family member to help them complete the course. Alternatively, some providers offer the course by telephone but the cost is usually higher.
At the Law Office of Michael Primus we have helped thousands of clients get out of debt, stop wage garnishments, and start fresh through bankruptcy. If you live in Contra Costa, Alameda or Solano counties and have debt problems, contact us for a free in-office consultation. We have offices in Walnut Creek, Antioch, and Hercules.