While there are an endless number of misconceptions about filing bankruptcy, the one I’ve encountered more often in the past weeks is the belief that participation in a debt management program or debt settlement program meets the new requirement for a “credit briefing” as a condition of filing bankruptcy.
To be clear, the credit briefing that is required in order to file bankruptcy must be from an organization approved by the UST in the district in which the bankruptcy case is to be filed. Most commercial debt settlement outfits are not approved. Here’s the list of approved agencies . The briefing must be completed within 6 months of filing the case.
Among the bad information out “there” about credit counseling is that the counseling takes 6 months. No. The usual credit briefing session is between 30 minutes and an hour. It must take place within 6 months of filing.
Another complexity that I’ve seen twice in three weeks are individuals who attempted credit counseling on the internet and encountered a computer or connection glitch such that they didn’t “complete” the session. In each instance, the bankruptcy case was dismissed for failure to complete the briefing before filing.
While there is no evidence that credit counseling serves any useful purpose, it is the law. Fail to get credit counseling and the case is likely doomed.