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As part of the bankruptcy amendments passed by Congress in 2005, anyone who wants to file for bankruptcy must complete both a prefiling bankruptcy counseling class (before filing) and a post-filing debtor education class (after filing but before discharge). This applies to individuals and business owners who are filing for Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Prefiling Bankruptcy Counseling

No matter where you live in the United States, you are required to complete credit counseling with an approved debt counseling agency before you will be allowed to file for bankruptcy. This can be done either over the phone or the internet, and sessions typically take one hour to complete. This is not the same as a debt management plan and is nearly always the first step in filing bankruptcy.

Debtor Education

After you have filed your bankruptcy petition but before the process is complete, you must take a debtor education course before you are allowed to discharge your debts. Just as with prefiling bankruptcy counseling, this can be done over the phone or online.

It’s important to know that a debtor education course cannot be taken until your bankruptcy case has been filed and you have a case number, which means you may not be able to complete credit counseling and debtor education at the same time.

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