Prior to 2005, though credit counseling in the United States was generally advisable for individual debtors, it was not imposed upon them as a prior condition before petitioning for bankruptcy. With the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, Chapter 7 filings require credit counseling as a prerequisite.
In terms of the actual time spent in a session prior to filing for bankruptcy, credit counseling does not take long at all. A typical credit counseling session takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to complete, and only one session is needed to be attended for fulfillment of this requirement.
Moreover, bankruptcy credit counseling may not even include a trip to another facility. Although there are in-person sessions, which might actually be more practical for some people, counseling may also be conducted over the phone or over the Internet.
A sore spot for many debtors regarding compulsory credit counseling is the fact that it does not come for free. As a result, for those who are already suffering under debt-related financial obligations, hence the application for bankruptcy, credit counseling is most unwelcome despite how practical it may really be as far as recognition of the implications of bankruptcy goes.
Generally, the cost of a counseling session is $50, although this can vary based on the jurisdiction. Despite the relatively short time it takes to complete credit counseling, proof of fulfillment of this step in the bankruptcy application process is no small matter.