Do I really have to take a credit counseling course before I can file bankruptcy in Oklahoma?

by Dan Nunley

Yes. One of the requirements of the new bankruptcy law passed in 2005 is that all people who file bankruptcy must complete a credit counseling course within 180 days before their bankruptcy case is filed.

It makes no difference whether your debts are personal or business related. It makes no difference whether you are filing under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12 or Chapter 13. You must take the credit counseling course before you file bankruptcy. And the credit counseling course must be taken from an organization that has been approved by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program.

One of the services that I provide my clients is assistance in setting up this required credit counseling course.

You can take the credit counseling course in person, by telephone, or on the Internet. The course will cost approximately $50 for either an individual or a married couple filing together. The credit counseling will include include an evaluation of your personal financial situation, a discussion of alternatives to bankruptcy, and a personal budget plan.

Once you have completed the required counseling, a Certificate of Completion will be prepared which must be included with your bankruptcy documents when you case is filed with the court. If your bankruptcy case is filed before you have taken the credit counseling course, your case will be dismissed except for these 3 special circumstances where credit counseling is not required:

  1. incapacity where the person is so impaired by reason of mental illness or deficiency that the individual is incapable of making rational decisions,
  2. disability where the person is so physically impaired that the individual is unable, after reasonable effort, to participate in an in-person, telephone, or Internet briefing session, and
  3. active military duty in a military combat zone.

Additionally, if you attempt to get the credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy but cannot obtain it during the 5-day period after making the request, you may ask the court to make an exception and allow you to obtain the credit counseling during the 30-day period after you file your case. You must file a separate motion with your bankruptcy petition and describe “exigent circumstances” that justify the exception, the name of the agency you contacted and the date you made your request.

If you’re struggling with debt problems and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today to schedule a FREE initial consultation. Just fill out the Contact Dan form on the far right side of the page and click the Submit button and I’ll get back with you as quickly as I can. I would count it a privilege to be able to visit with you in a relaxed and confidential environment where I’ll answer all of your questions in plain English and give you the straight scoop on the pros and cons of bankruptcy as related to your specific situation.

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