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West Palm Beach Bankruptcy & Business Attorneys > > Bankruptcy Attorneys > What is the Difference Between Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses for Bankruptcy?

What is the Difference Between Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses for Bankruptcy?


When an individual debtor is planning to file for any type of bankruptcy — Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or even Chapter 11 or Chapter 12 bankruptcy — that individual will need to familiarize themselves with the terms “credit counseling” and “debtor education” if they want to be eligible for the benefits provided by a bankruptcy filing. If you are currently considering bankruptcy, you have likely done some initial research into the requirements, and you have likely learned that you will be required to complete a credit counseling and debtor education course. Yet it might not be clear whether you must complete both (you will in fact need to complete both), when you must take these courses, and how they differ from one another. Our West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys can provide you with more information.

Individual Bankruptcy Filings of All Types Require Two Different Courses 

No matter what type of bankruptcy you are filing as an individual, you will need to complete two separate courses, and you will need to complete them at two different points in time. Officially, according to the US Trustee Program, debtors must complete credit counseling (CC) and debtor education (DE). It is critical to choose an approved credit counseling agency and an approved debtor education provider listed by the US Department of Justice. After the completion of each required course, you will receive a certificate that you will need to submit to the bankruptcy court.

Pre-Filing Versus Pre-Discharge 

One of the key distinctions between credit counseling and debtor education is the timing of when each must be completed. Credit counseling is a pre-filing requirement, which means that you must complete credit counseling and receive a certificate before you file your bankruptcy petition. Differently, debtor education must be completed after you have filed for bankruptcy but before you can receive a bankruptcy discharge.

It is important to know that a credit counseling certificate will only be valid for 180 days, so you cannot complete credit counseling more than six months prior to filing for bankruptcy.

Different Aims of Consumer Counseling and Debtor Education 

While both consumer counseling and debtor education might sound like they are extremely similar, if not the same, in content, the purposes or aims of these two separate required courses are different. Credit counseling, or the pre-filing education requirement, is aimed at helping a debtor to understand whether bankruptcy is the best option for that debtor and whether they understand potential alternatives and the implications of a bankruptcy case. Differently, debtor education, or the pre-discharge education requirement, is designed to help a debtor understand ways of managing their finances and avoiding future debt problems.

Contact a West Palm Beach Bankruptcy Attorney Today 

Do you have questions about credit counseling, debtor education, and other requirements for an individual bankruptcy filing? One of the experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy lawyers at Kelley Kaplan & Eller, PLLC can speak with you today and can provide you with detailed information about the bankruptcy process. Once you are ready to prepare to file, we will work with you to ensure that all pre-filing requirements are met and that all additional requirements are met throughout your bankruptcy case. Contact us today for more information.



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