Credit Counseling

US Trustee Approved Pre-Filing Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Course

If you (and your spouse if applicable) have not completed this counseling before you file your petition and you do not meet the requirements for an extension to complete the counseling after filing, your case may be dismissed and you will not receive a discharge of your debts. In some cases, you may not be able to file another case for 180 days. If you file another case within one year after your first case was dismissed, protection under the Bankruptcy Code from your creditors may be limited to thirty (30) days after filing the new case. This counseling may be done in person, by telephone or via the internet, and may be completed up to 180 days prior to filing your bankruptcy case. If you do not have access to a computer, the Clerk’s office Public Area has a computer you may use to complete your Credit Counseling. You may also be able to use a computer at your public library. The Clerk’s office maintains a list of approved Credit Counseling Agencies. The Credit Counseling Agency will issue a Certificate of Completion of Credit Counseling which you must file with your bankruptcy petition and schedules. Failure to file the Certificate of Credit Counseling will result in the issuance of a seven-day notice to comply with the requirements before the case is dismissed.

Under the bankruptcy laws, you may only complete the course after filing if you meet all of the following conditions: [See 11 USC Section 109(h)(3)].

  1. You must have tried to get credit counseling from an approved agency within at least a 5-day period before filing and the agency couldn’t provide it: AND
  2. There are exigent (emergency) circumstances that make it necessary for you to file your case immediately: AND
  3. You must sign and file a Certificate of Exigent Circumstance which is a statement of facts, including:
    • the specific exigent circumstance
    • the date on which you attempted to obtain counseling
    • the reason why the counseling could not be obtained on that date
    • the following statement: “I hereby affirm or attest that the above information is true to the best of my knowledge and belief”

If the Certificate of Exigent Circumstance is deemed accepted, you will be allowed an additional 30 days to file your Certificate of Credit Counseling. If your Certificate of Exigent Circumstance is deficient, the matter may be scheduled for hearing.

There are exceptions for persons who are mentally ill, disabled or on military duty in an active combat zone. [See 11 USC Section 109(h)(4)] If you qualify under these conditions, you must file a Motion for Exemption from Credit Counseling with the Court. Failure to file either a Certificate of Credit Counseling, a Certificate of Exigent Circumstances or a Motion for Exemption from Credit Counseling will result in the issuance of a two-day notice to comply with the requirements before the case is dismissed.

revised 6/20/06