Is credit counseling a bankruptcy requirement?

On behalf of The Rollins Law Firm posted in Personal Bankruptcy on Saturday, March 28, 2015.

If you are struggling with overwhelming debt in Mississippi, bankruptcy is process that provides meaningful debt-relief solutions. You can address multiple sources of debt at one time, eliminating the debt or reorganizing it into a single affordable plan based on your ability to pay. During the process, you receive protection from creditor calls and collection activity.

Bankruptcy is a powerful tool for debt relief, but it is also a federal program. As with any other government programs, there are a significant number of rules and requirements by which you must abide. Credit counseling is one of them.

The Department of Justice provides some important details about the credit counseling requirement codified under U.S.C. § 109(h):

  • Timing: Consumers must obtain counseling before filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. A typical counseling session lasts approximately one hour.
  • Location: The United States Trustee Program keeps and updates a list of approved counseling agencies. You can choose an agency that is located in your jurisdiction for in-person counseling. There are also alternative options available for completion, including telephone, live chat or email.
  • Debtor education: Credit counseling and debtor education are two separate programs. You must complete debtor education after filing for bankruptcy.
  • Joint sessions: If you and your spouse are filing a joint bankruptcy petition, you can complete the counseling session together.
  • Cost: Counseling costs money. Agencies must provide information about reduced fees or free services if you cannot pay for the counseling. Your attorney is also allowed to make payments on your behalf.
  • Duty: The agency is required to provide counseling services not legal advice. The agency should not provide information regarding when or if you should file for bankruptcy.

These are only general guidelines, and there are exceptions to these rules. You should always consult with a bankruptcy attorney for legal advice based on your particular financial situation.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I had a wonderful experience. The staff were nice and very informative. The process was quick and easy. Very affordable for me being a single parent. Would recommend anyone there. - Lashay H.
★★★★★
The Rollins firm assisted me at a very low point in my life. After having a lot of medical issues and expenses, I found myself unable to make ends meet. Mr. Rollings and his staff worked very promptly to help. They made the process so easy to complete. - Vinester Smith.
★★★★★
Fast response and professional advice. Really great to work with and understand what a difficult time in one’s life this is. Will recommend to anyone - Bryan Aust.
★★★★★
My wife and I were in an impossible financial situation where over time, we had built up so much debt that we could no longer keep up with all the payments. We were getting further and further behind until we reached out to the Rollins Law Firm for help. They have the knowledge and expertise through their experience to handle our particular situation. Their entire team of professionals are always available to answer questions, explain your options, and then provide the legal service that you need to relieve your financial worries and get you back on the right track! I recommend the Rollins Law Firm to anyone who needs help to deal with financial struggles. - Mike Zegelien.