- Any debtor wishing to file bankruptcy is required to take a credit counseling and budget course before they file. If they do not take the credit counseling and budget course they will not be allowed to file bankruptcy.
- The credit counseling and budget course is available in English and a number of other languages depending on the agency providing the course. It is advised that you take the credit counseling and budget course in the language you are most proficient in.
- The credit counseling and budget course can cost anywhere between $30 and $75; but there is no substantial difference between a cheaper course and the more expensive course.
- The credit counseling and budget course will last about 1 to 2 hours and can be taken online, over the phone or in person. Once again the value of the information you receive is not necessary increased by taking a longer or more expensive course.
- If a husband and wife are filing bankruptcy together, they will still both need to take the credit counseling and budget course.
- Once the debtor completes the credit counseling and budget course they will receive a certificate of completion and can use this to file bankruptcy. The certificate is valid for 180 days after the course has been completed.
When legislators instituted the credit counseling requirement for debtors filing bankruptcy, they erroneously believed that by taking the credit counseling and budget course many people would be able to discover a way to avoid bankruptcy and repay their debts by just "budgeting better." But the reality is that when people come to bankruptcy they are already on their last leg. They have already exhausted all other options and bankruptcy is their option of last resort.