The Role of Credit Counseling in Chapter 7 & Chapter 13

I have mixed feelings about the role of credit counseling in a Chapter 7 case, although it is mandatory and must be done for a case to proceed. So I comply with the credit counseling rules in a way that makes the process easiest for my clients. For instance, I use an online website company for the pre-filing course. The client simply goes to the website and answers certain questions regarding their income and expenses, which they have already provided to me. I give them a code that allows them to log in under my account and I pay the course on their behalf. The certificate of completion is immediately e-mailed to me directly, so I know the client is ready to file. The first course is designed to determine if there is another alternative to filing bankruptcy, which of course I have already determined is not the case. I have already qualified the client as needing to file bankruptcy, but they have to take this course so that a certificate can be filed with the court with the petition.

The second part of the credit counseling process is a debtor education course, designed to help clients not get into this situation again. It is a requirement and therefore I just make it easy. I provide the client with a DVD to watch and fill out a code sheet. I get a lot of positive feedback about this part of the course, as my clients find they learn a lot about how not to get into trouble with respect to their credit going forward.