Anybody filing for bankruptcy has to complete both pre-filing and post-filing debt counseling courses. While these courses might sound time-consuming and unnecessary, they actually don’t take a lot of time and can be helpful. Bankruptcy attorney Benjamin Ginter runs the Law Offices of Benjamin J. Ginter in Cranford, New Jersey. Here, he talks about what they’re all about.
If you file for bankruptcy, under the law that went into effect in 2005, you will have to complete both pre-filing and post-filing debt counseling courses. These two courses are designed to teach people how to manage money better in the hopes they won’t get into debt again. They usually take 55 minutes to a little more than an hour and include two steps.
The first step is the pre-filing course, which is designed specially for people who are debtors. Debtors will discuss with a client representative of the company which provides the courses and get to know the type of debt involved, what debtors do for a living, how much they make and how they budget their money on a day-to-day basis. The goal is to get an idea of the financial picture of debtors. After they complete the course, they are issued a certificate of completion, which goes either to themselves or to their attorneys, who make sure that the certificate is filed with the bankruptcy court.
The second step is the post-filing course. It is usually conducted after the debtors attend their trustee meeting, which is held about a month after filing. They will usually use the same company to conduct the course that they used when taking the pre-filing course. This course mainly teaches them how to manage their finances, and how to use their money properly and correctly, so that they won’t get into financial difficulties in the future. When they complete the post-filing course, which lasts 45 days within the trustee meeting, another certificate is then issued and filed with the court to show that the debtors have completed the course.