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Credit counseling required before filing for bankruptcy

As someone considering filing for bankruptcy in Florida, you may be exploring your options and trying to figure out whether this may be the most effective method of getting your finances back in a manageable state. Many people having a hard time digging themselves out of debt due to credit card obligations, medical bills or what have you find that filing for bankruptcy gives them a much-needed new start, but there are certain steps you must take ahead of filing.

For example, if you plan on filing for bankruptcy in Florida, you need to first take part in credit counseling within 180 days of the date you wish to file. You cannot undergo credit counseling just anywhere, however. Instead, you must receive your counseling through an entity approved by the U.S. Department of Justice's U.S. Trustee Program to operate within your district. So, what can you expect to happen during your credit counseling session, and what types of matters may you address?

Credit counseling session details

Credit counseling sessions vary when it comes to if they take place online, in person or over the phone. That said, the information discussed during credit counseling sessions typically stays relatively consistent. For example, when you begin your counseling session, plan on discussing your finances and expenses in close detail. You can also anticipate that your credit counselor will provide you with information regarding alternative debt relief options that do not involve bankruptcy, and you and he or she will also generally discuss how to create and stick to a budget moving forward. Typically, the cost of a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling session is about $50, but approved credit counseling agencies must provide the service for free if you can prove you are unable to afford it.

Once you complete the credit counseling session, you will receive a certificate of completion you can furnish to prove you completed this important pre-bankruptcy requirement.

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Paul Urich
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