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Credit Counseling

If you have not completed credit counseling before you file your petition (and no earlier than 180 days before you file your petition) and you do not meet the requirements for an extension to complete the credit counseling after filing (or for benign exempted from being required to obtain such a credit counseling), your case will be dismissed and you will not receive a discharge of your debts.  In some cases, you may not be allowed to file another case for 180 days.  Even, if you file another case within one year after your first case was dismissed, your protection under the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay from your creditors may be limited to thirty (30) days after filing the new case.

Under the bankruptcy laws (see 11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(3), the Court can only allow you to complete the credit counseling after filing if you meet all of the following conditions:


  1. You must have requested the required credit counseling from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency, but were unable to obtain the required services during the 7-day period beginning on the date on which you made that request; and


  2.  There are exigent (emergency) circumstances that the court determines merit a waiver of the requirement of obtaining the credit counseling before filing the case; and


  3.  You must file a certification stating the facts regarding the conditions listed above in paragraphs (1) and (2) with your petition, and the certification must be satisfactory to the court.

Please be advised: most debtors will not be able to meet these conditions because credit counseling is readily available.  If you file your petition without having obtained credit counseling, you are risking dismissal of your case.


For a list of approved credit counseling agencies and further information on credit counseling, click here.