The 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code added a requirement that all individual debtors must get a briefing from an approved non-profit budget and credit counseling agency within the 180 day period ending on the day the bankruptcy petition is filed. The United States Trustee’s Office maintains a listing of approved agencies on its website. The information can be obtained by clicking here.
The briefing may take place over the telephone, on the Internet or in person. Most agencies charge between $25 to $50 dollars for the briefing, but many agencies will waive the fee for debtors who cannot afford it. The briefing may be obtained from various agencies on an emergency basis if the debtor needs to file for immediate bankruptcy protection.
The briefing takes about an hour during which a budget of the debtor’s income and expenses may be prepared. At the conclusion of the briefing, the agency will provide the debtor with a certificate of completion. The certificate of completion must be filed with the petition in most districts.
The only exceptions to counseling requirement is if the debtor is incapicitated, disabled, or on active duty in a combat zone. A debtor is “incapicitated” for this purpose if the debtor is so impaired by mental illness or deficiency as to be incapable of realizing and making rational business decisions regarding his or her financial obligations. A debtor is “disabled” if he or she is so physically impaired as to be unable to participate in an in-person, telephone or Internet briefing.
Every effort should be made to obtain the briefing before filing the bankruptcy case. If not, the debtor must complete the briefing within 30 days of filing and must be able to demonstrate to the court that the debtor had to file for bankruptcy immediately due to exigent circumstances, and the debtor requested the briefing but was not able to obtain the counseling within seven days of the request.
If you are struggling to pay your bills and cannot seem to get ahead because of too much debt, contact my office for-in person consultation 914-385-1032, during which we will discuss bankruptcy, credit counseling, and other ways to improve your financial situation.
ATTORNEY ADVERTISING — PAST RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE FUTURE OUTCOMES
We are a debt relief agency, we help people file for Bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. This Blog is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.