The Bankruptcy Code requires that all individuals filing bankruptcy receive credit counseling before their case is filed. Credit counseling must be provided by an agency approved by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program. These agencies will charge a fee of around $50. Upon completion of the course, debtors receive a certificate of completion. This certificate has to be filed with the bankruptcy documents and must have been issued within 180 days before the bankruptcy filing. If the certificate is dated after the date the case is filed or more than 180 days before the filing date, the court will dismiss your bankruptcy case.
The Bankruptcy Code also requires that debtors take a debtor education course. This course is completed after the bankruptcy case is filed and upon completion of the course debtors will receive a certificate of completion. In chapter 7 cases, debtors must file the certificate within 45 days following their 341 meeting of creditors. In chapter 13 cases the certificate must be filed before the debtors complete their chapter 13 plan and receive a discharge. In both chapters, failure to file the debtor education certificate will prevent debtors from receiving a discharge of their debts.