Credit Counseling

Before your case is filed, you are required to obtain a certificate of completion of a credit counseling course offered by a U.S. Trustee-approved credit counselor. While in the vast majority of cases, good credit management skills have absolutely nothing to do with the circumstances requiring the filing of bankruptcy (see my blog on this, “Why I Hate Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling,” at the Bankruptcy Law Network), Congress has nevertheless required the completion of the counseling before a bankruptcy can be filed, and a second class before a discharge can be entered.

The counseling normally takes 45–90 minutes, and can be conducted either by telephone or over the internet. The cost is about $50.00. We recommend that you not complete the counseling course until after you have spoken with an attorney.

For telephone counseling, we recommend contacting the Institute for Financial Literacy at (866) 662-4932. If you are unable to contact IFL, call Greenpath Credit Counseling at (800) 550–1961.

For internet counseling (which requires a very brief telephone discussion at the end), we recommend Hummingbird Credit Counseling and Education. Its website is http://www.hummingbirdcreditcounseling.org. We also recommend the Institute for Financial Literacy, at http://www.freshstartonline.org.

Please be sure to tell the counselor that you have hired a bankruptcy attorney, that all paperwork has been completed, and that you just need to complete the course so that you can file.