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R. Flay Cabiness, II, P.C. Georgia Lawyer Blog

What You Need to Know about Bankruptcy Certificates

The goal of bankruptcy is to help you get a fresh start and move forward with fewer financial burdens. As part of the process, you not only reorganize or eliminate debt, you also learn how you can avoid financial challenges in the future. One of the ways you do this when you file for bankruptcy is to participate in pre- and post-filing counseling.

In order to have your bankruptcy request approved, you must submit certificates proving you participated in these courses. Pre-bankruptcy counseling helps you determine if bankruptcy is really the right option for you and is taken prior to officially filing. The second course, debtor education, is taken before you emerge from bankruptcy and is designed to help you better handle your finances in your post-bankruptcy life.

These courses are mandatory and required for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filing. What should you know about earning your bankruptcy certificates?

Credit Counseling Certificate

The first certificate you need to be able to file for bankruptcy is credit counseling. The course takes about an hour and a half and is designed to help you evaluate your current financial situation, review your spending, create a budget, and discuss the options you have for fixing your financial situation. The course is designed to help you determine if bankruptcy is really the best option for you or if you should pursue another path to get your finances in order.

There are multiple options for taking the course, so make sure you choose one that is approved by the US Department of Justice’s US Trustee Program. For more information about approved courses, visit The United States Department of Justice’s website.

Courses can be taken online or by phone, and if you are unable to afford the fee, a waiver might be available. Once you’ve finished, your certificate is valid for 180 days, so make sure you file within that time to avoid the need to retake the course.

Debtor Education Certificate

Once you’ve filed, you’ll need to participate in debtor education counseling. This course is designed to help you manage your finances after you emerge from bankruptcy. The goal is to ensure people don’t need to file more than once.

You’ll need to submit your certificate of completion within 45 days of your meeting of creditors to be released in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The same course is required for Chapter 13 filers, but they don’t need to submit their certificate until the date of the last payment of their repayment plan.

This course, like credit counseling, can be taken online or over the phone, and includes information about:

• Organizing financial goals
• Creating and sticking to a budget
• Making smart choices about credit
• Understanding how to read a credit report
• Re-establishing credit after bankruptcy

If you would like to learn more about bankruptcy certificates or you need help finding an approved course, contact R. Flay Cabiness, II, P.C. at (912) 554-3774 (Brunswick, GA); (912) 375-5620 (Hazlehurst, GA) or; (912)-554-3756 (Jesup, GA).

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Brunswick, GA 31520
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Hazlehurst, GA 31539 
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198 S. Macon St.
Jesup, GA  31545
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