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Bankruptcy Lawyer in Montgomery County – The Basics of Credit Counseling

Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney helping filer with paperworkIf you are filing for bankruptcy protection, you are required to seek counseling about your credit from a government-approved counselor within 180 days before you file. You are also required to complete a follow-up debt education course before the court discharges your debts. A Montgomery County bankruptcy lawyer can help you through your entire bankruptcy process.

Approved Credit Counselors

The Department of Justice U.S. Trustee Program provides a list of organizations that are approved to provide credit counseling and debtor education for people filing for bankruptcy and filers can only utilize services from counselors on this approved list.

Counseling and Education Requirements

Credit counseling and debtor education cannot occur at the same time. Credit counseling must occur before filing for bankruptcy (180 days before) while debtor education occurs after you file for bankruptcy. The certificate of credit counseling is filed when you file for bankruptcy as part of the document package. You will receive a certificate as evidence that you completed the debtor education course.

Credit Counseling

The credit counselor evaluates your personal financial situation, then provides you with a list of alternatives to bankruptcy and a budget. Most counseling sessions will last between 60 to 90 minutes, and can occur in person, online, or by phone.

Most credit counselors will charge a fee, however, counselors are required to provide free services to individuals who are unable to afford them and request a waiver. The credit counselor will provide a certificate upon completion of the course. A bankruptcy lawyer in Montgomery County can advise you if you have any concerns or questions about your credit counseling.

Debtor Education

Credit counseling is an evaluation of your financial situation. Debtor education trains you on how to develop a budget, use credit, and manage money. Debtor education, like credit counseling, can occur in person, by phone, or online. The training session should last around two hours.

Once you complete the debtor education, the counselor will provide you with a certificate as proof. The debtor educator must be approved in the judicial district where you filed for bankruptcy. You can check on the U.S. Trustee website to confirm that the educator is authorized.

How to Choose a Credit Counselor

You must ensure that you receive credit counseling and debtor education from an authorized provider in your judicial district. Once you have a list of approved creditors, ask these or similar questions to determine which one is the best fit for you:

  • What are your fees?
  • What services do you offer? What qualifications do your counselors have?
  • Do your employees receive commissions? How are the commissions structured?
  • Do you offer ongoing credit counseling?

A Bankruptcy Lawyer at Alfred Abel Law Offices Can Help

Alfred Abel Law Offices, a skilled bankruptcy lawyer in Montgomery County, can guide you through all the steps of bankruptcy, including counseling and debtor education. Please contact Alfred Abel Law Offices for further information.