Filing for bankruptcy has become a common thing in United States. It is the only way people can get rid of all their debts, but this procedure is very tedious, expensive and time-consuming. Apart from this, one has to wait for ten years to establish good credit again. Therefore, to help the debt-ridden people, US Government has come up with a new provision for such people, where it is mandatory for them to undergo credit counseling for bankruptcy from a certified counselor.
The reason behind making the counseling mandatory was to prevent people from misusing the bankruptcy laws, be it chapter 7 or chapter 13. According to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, a person planning to file for bankruptcy should undergo counseling and debtor education course within 180 days, from the government approved counselors. This would help them pay off the loans in a speculated time period without opting for bankruptcy.
Consumer Credit Counseling for Bankruptcy
It is important that you go to the counseling organization that is certified by the US Trustee Program of Department of Justice. Counselors and educators who are approved and authorized, can advertise about their services. Credit counseling for bankruptcy and debtor education can be provided at the same time, but debtor education is generally provided when a person files for bankruptcy.
When you go for bankruptcy filing, you have to present the credit counseling certificate as a proof of the completion of your counseling course. Counseling fincludes the following things:
- Analyzing your financial situation
- Finding bankruptcy alternatives
- Finding solution to your debt problems
- Setting realistic and practical debt management plan
- Helping you save some while paying back the loans
- Helping you come up with good budget plans
To avail credit counseling for bankruptcy you have to meet the counselor in person, or you can also have it online or on the phone. The session generally goes for one to one and half hours or more, depending on your problem and solutions available for it. Free credit counseling is also available, if you are not in the state of paying any money, but you need to apply for that in advance. You have to pay the charge or fees once the counseling is over, if you do not ask for fee waiver before the session starts. The charges can fall anywhere between $50 to $100.
How to Choose a Credit Counselor?
There are many credit counselor companies in all states, but you need to choose the one that would help you solve your problems in less time. You need to use the following criteria for your research and zero down on one organization:
- What is the counseling fees?
- Do they provide fee waiver service?
- Are they certified by the government?
- What is the qualification of the counselors?
- How is the reputation of the organization?
- What services they offer?
- Do they offer a sound financial plan for you to avoid credit problems in future?
These are some of the basic questions you must ask before selecting an organization. Once you inquire about most of the counselors, then choose the one that gives maximum services and charges affordable fees. If meeting in person is not convenient for you, then you can go for online counseling for bankruptcy that serves the same purpose. If not, then you can go for telephonic counseling as per your convenience. In case of online counseling, you must check for the authenticity of the website.
After proper credit counseling, you can decide if you want to pay back the loans or still file for the bankruptcy. You can go for credit counseling not only in case of bankruptcy, but also when you need to improve your credit scores or credit reports. They can advise some plans that would help you fix the bad credit history. Counseling gives you a chance and time to think properly about your financial behavior.