As part of filing bankruptcy, the law requires “pre-filing bankruptcy counseling”. This education has to be taken from an approved credit counseling agency, and it must take place within the six months before the bankruptcy case is filed.
I found, in working with debtors considering filing bankruptcy in Indiana, that many people have misconceptions about these pre-filing courses. For one thing, people are afraid of a big time commitment. They are afraid they might need to take off work just when the financial pressure is already so high. Maybe a single mom thinks she’ll need to find sitters for a month. People may think they’ll need to make all kinds of arrangements that are expensive and time-consuming. One big misconception is that the course is going to be in a big group meeting, which would be embarrassing for them.
Let me tell you, I’ve been counseling people preparing to file bankruptcy for many, many years, tens of thousands of people, in fact. Pre-filing counseling is nothing like any of the notions people have when they first consider bankruptcy. The real story is, the requirement can
often be satisfied in one session. Most reassuring, it can often be completed via phone or even over the Internet.
The whole idea is to make sure a client understands how bankruptcy works and gets advice and counseling. That’s exactly what I spend most of my doing – talking to clients who need to understand the steps of the bankruptcy process and how it will work in their specific case.