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What is the difference between pre-bankruptcy counseling and a debtor education course? Do I need both, and can a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney help me make sure I am meeting the requirements?

The 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act changed bankruptcy law. Among the changes is the requirement that, with few exceptions, individual debtors seeking Chapter 7 relief get pre-bankruptcy counseling and complete a debtor education course.

Pre-bankruptcy counseling and a debtor education course are not the same thing. As the name implies, pre-bankruptcy counseling must occur before bankruptcy is filed. Specifically, it must occur within 180 days of filing for bankruptcy, and it must be completed by an organization, business or individual that is approved by the government. Pre-bankruptcy counseling is typically about 1-1.5 hours and includes topics such as bankruptcy alternatives and the development of a new budget based on your unique financial situation.

The debtor education course is different. The debtor education course typically lasts a couple of hours and occurs after you have filed for bankruptcy protection. Like pre-bankruptcy counseling, it must be completed with an approved provider. The course generally covers proper use of credit, budgeting, and other financial topics.

Despite these differences, both debtor education courses and pre-bankruptcy counseling are required in Minnesota. An experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will make sure that you have the proper counseling and courses so that your Minnesota Chapter 7 bankruptcy case can be completed as expected.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at (952) 388-2942 or (800) 619-8991 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

Barry Rosenzweig
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Barry Rosenzweig, has 25 years experience as an attorney helping clients solve their legal problems.