If you’re looking to file for a bankruptcy like Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, you’ve heard of the required credit counseling to obtain your bankruptcy. You may be asking yourself what the point of counseling is at this point. These counseling sessions are useful and personalized to your situation, and typically run less than two hours. In the grand scheme of the bankruptcy process, credit counseling comprises a fraction of the time spent in the process.

There are two types of credit counseling required in the bankruptcy process: pre-bankruptcy counseling and post-filing debtor counseling. Don’t worry, the two sessions differ in their focus, so you won’t waste your time in either. Here is what you can expect from both sessions:

  • Pre-bankruptcy: The counselor will discuss your finances, bankruptcy alternatives and help you develop a personalized budget. Once completed, you will receive a certificate that allows you to move forward in the bankruptcy process.
  • Post-filing: This session happens further along in the process and a counselor will discuss practical money management and credit tips to help you long after the court discharges your bankruptcy. You will receive another certificate for completing this step to allow the bankruptcy process to continue.

Other things you should know

You should know that each session typically costs $50 and waivers are available for people who can’t afford the fee. However, counselors cannot charge for the certificates that allow you to further the bankruptcy process.

A court must approve your choice of counselor, so it cannot be just anyone. How do you know which counselors to choose from? The government conveniently lists them online.

Counseling is a valuable step

It’s safe to say most people could use tips for better managing their money, not just people filing for bankruptcy. These sessions are a great opportunity to receive useful advice that can benefit you not only now, but for years to come.