Many people in Kentucky are dealing with mounting debt, and if you are among them, you may be seeking ways to get your financial affairs back under control. In some cases, filing for bankruptcy may help you get your financial ducks in a row, but there are certain things you have to do if you decide to navigate the bankruptcy process.

Per the Federal Trade Commission, one thing you need to do before filing for bankruptcy is undergoing credit counseling.

How credit counseling works

If you plan to file for bankruptcy, you must undergo credit counseling within 180 days of the date you file for bankruptcy. You also have to receive it through a government-approved service provider. Then, when you formally file for bankruptcy, you need to produce a certificate proving that you completed the credit counseling course. Typically, pre-bankruptcy credit counseling sessions last between about an hour and an hour and a half, and they might take place in person, online or over the phone. There is also a fee involved in undergoing credit counseling.

How to choose a credit counselor

You may be able to find a list of approved pre-bankruptcy credit counselors either online or through the bankruptcy clerk’s office where you plan to file your case. Once you have a list of approved providers, you may want to ask each about their fees, accreditations, confidentiality terms and so on.

While credit counseling is necessary before you may file for bankruptcy, you also have to receive debtor education after you file, but before your debts undergo discharge.