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Pre-filing counseling lays groundwork for bankruptcy

When struggling with insurmountable debts, there comes a point when you may seriously consider filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Which of these options is best for you will be contingent upon your specific circumstances. However, there are steps that you must take before the court will grant your bankruptcy request.

If you file for bankruptcy, you must attend government-approved credit counseling. There two certificates you must earn; a pre-filing bankruptcy counseling certificate and a pre-discharge education course certificate.

The purpose of credit counseling is to help you understand the extent to which bankruptcy will affect your financial life and to present you with possible alternatives. Typically, your counseling will include a thorough review of your finances. With the counselors, you will go over such items as your unsecured debts, household budget, and current income.

Counseling usually costs around $20 to $50 and lasts about an hour. It is even possible to earn a pre-filing counseling certificate online. But remember, the counseling agency you use must be approved by the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees. And it is advisable to use a non-profit agency that belongs to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Filing for personal bankruptcy is a multi-step process, and you want to do everything right the first time. If you get things wrong as you go along, you may lose valuable time by having to correct your mistakes. You may even have your request denied simply because you made a mistake or two.

And this is why having an experienced bankruptcy attorney help you can be very beneficial. You can start with an initial session with the attorney, and from there the two of you can move through the process together.

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