In a pejorative sense, one may say that all one must do to qualify for a credit counseling service or debtor education course would be to find oneself suffocated by debt. Really, though, the prerequisite of insolvency is a given, and in truth there are specific rules and regulations when it comes to selecting one versus the other, and when either one must be taken in relation to the progression of an individual’s case through the court system.
There are times when a credit counseling service is more appropriate than a debtor education course and vice-versa. On the other hand, there are ways in which the approval of these two phases of the application process are the same. The exactitude stressed in filing for bankruptcy and within bankruptcy proceedings can cause some worry and confusion, but if the basics are kept in mind, there should be no cause for alarm.
Some notes about the requirements for enrolling with a credit counseling service or debtor education course:
Timing is everything when it comes to either one of these classes. Concerning a session with a credit counseling service, this must take place before court proceedings begin. Meanwhile, a debtor education course is usually the last condition needed to be met by the debtor prior to finalization of the bankruptcy and debt discharge.
Barring an “emergency” with which the discretion of the court must acknowledge, completion of a session with a credit counseling service must take place no more than 180 days (roughly half a year) before one declares personal bankruptcy. Though the same six-month period is not specified for passing the debtor education course, in order for a discharge of debts to be realized, this absolutely must happen. After making it through both credit counseling and debtor education, a bankruptcy may be finalized.
At the risk of dismissal of one’s case, one should also make sure to hook up with the right credit counseling service or debtor education course provider, as only a suitable content provider’s certificate(s) will be deemed acceptable by the appointed authorities. The U.S. Trustee Program is instrumental in approving service providers for this purpose, so it would be wise to check its website or contact one of its representatives to see which center will be the best option for debtors. A bankruptcy clerk of court might be a good reference, as well.