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Pre-bankruptcy Counseling and Post-filing Debtor Education

January 19, 2010


The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 added two new requirements to the bankruptcy filing process: pre-bankruptcy counseling and post-filing debtor education.

In order to successfully file for bankruptcy, you must receive credit counseling from a government-approved agency within 180 days of filing.

The pre-bankruptcy counseling session will cover three main topics: an evaluation of your individual financial situation, an explanation of bankruptcy alternatives and a personal budget plan.

These counseling sessions typically last hour to an hour and a half. The session does not have to be in person. Online counseling and sessions conducted by phone are also accepted. Pre-bankruptcy counseling sessions cost around $50, but you can request a fee waiver if you cannot afford to pay.

Once you complete the session, you will receive a certificate that serves as proof. It is critical that you receive your counseling from an organization that is approved by the judicial district in which you are filing for bankruptcy.

The second requirement, post-filing debtor education, includes information on managing your money, creating a budget and using credit wisely, among other topics. As with pre-bankruptcy counseling, debtor education can take place in person, online or over the phone.

Debtor education courses typically last about two hours, and the fee ranges from $50 to $100. However, as with pre-bankruptcy counseling, a fee waiver can be sought by those who cannot afford to pay the fee.

After you complete the debtor education course, you will receive a certificate that serves as proof; this certificate is separate and distinct from the certificate provided for completing the pre-bankruptcy counseling session.

A qualified Texas bankruptcy attorney can answer all of your questions about pre-bankruptcy counseling and post-filing debtor education, as well as explain all of your legal options.


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