There are two mandatory courses you have to take if you are planning to file for bankruptcy. First, you must attend a credit counseling session with an approved credit counselor within the six months prior to the date you file for bankruptcy. For example, if you filed bankruptcy in June 2011, you had to attend credit counseling on a date somewhere between January and June 2011. You also must attend a financial management session prior to the discharge of your bankruptcy case.
Don’t ignore either of these requirements. The U.S. government takes them seriously, and with good reason. Although most people realize that they don’t want to be in a position where they have to file for bankruptcy, there are some people who don’t learn better financial habits after bankruptcy or who see bankruptcy as an opportunity to run away from financial mistakes without suffering the consequences. This is why you can’t file a chapter 7 bankruptcy more than once in an eight year period. It is also why you have to take these mandatory classes; the idea is to learn better financial habits so that you won’t have to file for bankruptcy again. To ensure that you follow these requirements, the federal bankruptcy code requires the court to deny your bankruptcy case if you fail to turn in proof of attendance at both mandatory sessions.
If your case is dismissed, it will cause you bigger financial problems. You’ll lose the automatic stay against collections activities, so you might face foreclosure, repossession or lawsuits–the things you were trying to avoid dealing with by filing for bankruptcy in the first place. You can re-file the case, but you’ll have to pay the filing fee all over again, and this time you’ll only be entitled to a 30-day automatic stay, so you risk losing your property if the automatic stay is not being extended. If you hired an attorney to handle your case, the attorney will probably charge you for additional time so that he can re-file your case and resolve the problem. All in all, you’d probably spend at least $500 to resolve the problem and risk losing your property anyway. If you do what you’re supposed to do in the first place, you’ll have to spend about $35 to register for the classes and will have far less risk to your financial situation. So don’t rebel against this requirement. Make sure you take both required classes and submit your proof of attendance.