You’ve taken the credit counseling course (“pre-bankruptcy” course) and filed either your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case or your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. And you may have gone to the meeting of creditors already (or completed most of your plan payments in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case). But before you can receive your bankruptcy discharge, there is one more piece of the puzzle that must be completed: the financial education course.
The Bankruptcy Code mandates that every consumer who seeks a discharge in either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case must first complete a course in personal financial management, and that this course shall last 120 minutes (or two hours). Since the government does not provide this course, the private sector has answered the call. There are many providers of this financial education course, and the United States Trustee Program publishes a list of approved course providers.
But what is the financial education course and how is it different from the credit counseling course that is required prior to filing bankruptcy? While a purpose of the credit counseling course (“pre-bankruptcy” course) is to determine if other options exist to a person considering bankruptcy (i.e. a repayment plan); the purpose of the financial education class is to help build skills for a consumer who is about to receive his or her bankruptcy discharge. Simply put, the financial education course focuses more on your life after bankruptcy. The financial education course covers such topics as money management and using credit wisely. The course provides tools to help the consumer make good financial decisions going forward, such as developing a sound budget based on income and expenses., and making sound financial choices.
Once the course is completed through an approved financial education course provider a certificate will be issued by the course provider. This certificate must then be filed with the Bankruptcy Court prior to the consumer receiving his or her bankruptcy discharge in either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. For example, I have my clients complete the financial education course and provide me with the certificate of completion. Once I receive this certificate of completion I file it with the Bankruptcy Court on behalf of my clients. Once this certificate of completion is filed with the Bankruptcy Court, and all other requirements of the bankruptcy are met, the consumer will receive his or her bankruptcy discharge.
If you have questions regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or the educational requirements that must be met as part of a bankruptcy filing, please feel free to contact my office for a free bankruptcy consultation in Eugene.