If you want to file for personal bankruptcy, you must follow all the rules under the bankruptcy code. One of those rules requires you to complete credit counseling.
The Federal Trade Commission explains that you must complete one course prior to filing and then one more course prior to your discharge.
The rule is that you need to take a credit counseling course no more than 180 days before you file for bankruptcy. This first course will cover information pertaining to your debts and bankruptcy filing. It will help you to create a budget and get an idea of your debts and expenses. The length of the course is usually no more than 90 minutes.
The second course is a debtor education course. It helps inform you about how to handle debt in the future. The goal is to set you up so that you do not end up in bankruptcy court again. This course will usually take about as long as the first course.
Finding a course
You are responsible for finding, registering for and taking each course. You must take courses from an approved provider. You can get a list of them from the Department of Justice. Courses are available online, over the phone and in person. Costs will vary, and you may get a waiver for fees if you cannot afford to pay. You must take the courses separately and at the indicated times before filing and after filing.
After you complete each course, you will get a certificate. The court will need to receive the certificates. If you fail to provide them, the court cannot accept your case or discharge it.