Is credit counseling required before filing bankruptcy?

You are not alone if you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey. Making the decision to file is a huge step. It has far-reaching consequences for your finances and is not a decision to make lightly. The government has put safeguards into the process to help ensure you are making the right choice and that bankruptcy is the best for your situation. One of those safeguards, according to the United States Bankruptcy District, is the pre-filing credit counseling requirement. 

You must complete an approved credit counseling course before you file with the bankruptcy court. After completing the course, you are given a certificate that must go with your paperwork when filing. If you do not complete the counseling before filing, then your case will be dismissed. This is a requirement set under the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. 

Keep in mind that you must complete the course within 180 days before you file. So, you should not get counseling on the chance that you may file sometime in the future. You should wait until you are sure you will file within the next six months. If you are filing jointly with your spouse, you both must complete the counseling. 

There are some exceptions to this requirement, but note that they are very limited. The only exceptions are if you are in the military on active duty in a combat zone where you cannot possibly complete the course, if you are unable to do it due to disability or incapacity or if you tried to obtain counseling but unusual things occurred that prevented you from actually completing it. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 


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