Credit counseling and debtor education are provided by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program. Anyone filing for bankruptcy is required to be a part of these programs. The U.S. Trustee Program’s list shows approved counselors and educators. There are only two states where these programs do not operate and those states are Alabama and North Carolina. In these states, Bankruptcy Administrators must approve pre-bankruptcy credit counseling organizations and pre-discharge debtor education course providers.
Pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and pre-discharge debtor education are not allowed to be given at the same time. Individuals must receive credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy and debtor education must be completed after filing. When one files for bankruptcy, they must also file a certificate proving they completed credit counseling. Watch the video above to learn why applicants must get a copy of their credit report before filing for bankruptcy. After filing for bankruptcy, the applicant must prove completion of a debtor’s education course before debts are discharged.
During the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling, the individual will review their finances with an approved credit counselor. The individual will also discuss an alternative plan to bankruptcy and make a budget plan for their family if they have one. A counseling session lasts about an hour or an hour and a half. It can be done in person, online, or over the phone, and anyone who cannot afford to pay is not required to pay. Once this counseling is complete - be sure to receive a certificate of proof.
Post-bankruptcy filing debt counseling should provide information about developing a budget, managing money, and using credit wisely. This session may last about two hours, longer than pre-bankruptcy counseling. It can also be done over the phone, in person, or online. Bankruptcy applicants can get a fee waiver for this course as well as pre-bankruptcy counseling. Make sure to receive a certificate for this course as well.
Learn about the steps for filing bankruptcy in North Carolina.