Debt Counseling


Credit counseling must take place before you file for bankruptcy;

In general, you must file a certificate of credit counseling completion when you file for bankruptcy, and evidence of completion of debtor education after you file for bankruptcy.

A pre-bankruptcy counseling session with an approved credit counseling organization should include an evaluation of your personal financial situation, a discussion of alternatives to bankruptcy, and a personal budget plan. A typical counseling session should last about 60 to 90 minutes, and can take place in person, on the phone, or online.

Once you have completed the required counseling, you must get a certificate as proof. This certificate must be filed with your bankruptcy petition.


An additional debtor education course must take place after you file but before your debts are discharged.

A debtor education course should include information on developing a budget, managing money, using credit wisely. Like pre-filing counseling, debtor education may be provided in person, on the phone, or online. The debtor education session might last longer than the pre-filing counseling – about two hours.

Once you have completed the required debtor education course, you should receive a certificate as proof. This certificate is separate from the certificate you received after completing your pre-filing credit counseling.

The idea behind debt counselling is simple. While bankruptcy is a great solution for a lot of people, it’d be pointless if nothing was learned. Debt counselling serves to inform the person undergoing bankruptcy as to how they can better manage their finances following bankruptcy to prevent future debt.

If you have questions about debt counseling or are interested in filing for bankruptcy, call the Cook Law Firm today.