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During counseling, you will go through an evaluation of your personal financial situation, and your counselor will review the alternatives to bankruptcy, in case there's a way for you to resolve your financial difficulties without filing. The two of you will also work on a personal budget plan. Once you have completed the counseling, you will be issued with a certificate. You must have this paperwork before you file bankruptcy.
Length of Counseling
The counseling session that's required before you can proceed to file bankruptcy can be achieved in one session and usually takes around an hour. It can be done in person, over the phone or even online. If you cannot afford the counseling fee, which is generally around $50, the agency is required to waive the fee. You must request this waiver in advance.
Post-Filing Debtor Education
After your filing is accepted, but before your bankruptcy is discharged, you must undergo another course known as debtor education. This can be face-to-face, online or by phone. This will take you through the process of developing a budget, managing
money and handling credit. Other resources may be offered, depending on your personal situation and the difficulties you need resolved.
Length of Debtor Education
The debtor education portion of your counseling is more involved than the session you undertook before filing and generally will last for two hours. It can cost up to $100. You may also request a fee waiver for this part of your counseling. You will receive a certificate as proof that you've completed the course, and this certificate will be required for you to complete the bankruptcy proceeding.
Choosing a Counselor
You must go through your counseling and debtor education with an organization that's approved in the judicial district where you are filing for bankruptcy. You can ask for a list of approved agencies from the bankruptcy clerk's office, or you can find one online at the U.S. Trustees' website. When making a choice from this list you should call the agencies that you are considering to find out if they are offering the services and advice you believe you need, check the qualifications of their advisers and ask about their fees.