Filing for bankruptcy is a decision that doesn't come easily. It is also one that doesn't happen right away because of the need to meet certain requirements. One of the requirements that has to be met is that you need to have credit counseling and debtor education. These have to be done at specific points in the bankruptcy process in order for them to be valid.
You can't take these courses from anyone. In Texas, as well as most other states, only agencies who are approved by the U.S. Department of Justice's Trustee Program can provide these services. Make sure that you are only dealing with these because you are wasting your time and money with others.
Why is education necessary?
The purpose of bankruptcy is to give you a fresh start with your finances. In order to this, the bankruptcy program requires that you take the two courses to ensure that you have the foundation to make the best decisions possible for your finances. These courses are done in an effort to help you learn how to be responsible with money and credit.
When do I have to do these programs?
The first program, credit counseling, has to be done before you file for bankruptcy. This one takes anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes. The counselor will go over your current finances and determine if you are able to do something other than file for bankruptcy to get control of your finances. At the end of the session, you should get a certificate that you need when you file your bankruptcy case.
The second program is one that you need to take after you file. This one goes over how to use credit responsibly, as well as some points about budgeting. The skills and knowledge you get from these will help you to successfully complete your bankruptcy and live on your earnings in the future. You will need to get a certificate of completion for this course. Your bankruptcy case can't be discharged without it.
It is important for you to remember that bankruptcy is a process, not a quick answer. When you file, you need to meet certain requirements and comply with the applicable points of the program. The type of bankruptcy you file can have an impact on this, so make sure you are reviewing the correct chapter.