Do I need to take the credit counseling course before finding a bankruptcy attorney? 36 Answers as of July 19, 2011

I read the that I need to take a counseling course to file for bankruptcy. If I hire an attorney, do I still have to take this? If I do hire one, will he pay for it or should I do it regardless?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Every individual debtor needs to take the credit counseling course before filing bankruptcy. You do not have to do this before selecting your bankruptcy attorney. I would wait and get a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to make sure that bankruptcy is the best option for you. You need to take the credit counseling course before you file bankruptcy, regardless of whether or not you hire a bankruptcy attorney to help you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/19/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
In order to file for Bankruptcy, whether or not you obtain an attorney, you have to do credit counseling. An attorney will not pay for you to take this course.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 7/5/2011
Rosenberg & Press
Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
It does not matter when you take the course as long as it is within 180 days from when you file. If you hire an attorney, which you should, you still have to take the course. Depending on the attorney, they may assist you with the course. They can not do it for you however.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC
Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC | John Scott Logan
Typically, the credit counseling fees are included in the fee quote. Regardless, you must complete the course within 6 months before filing.
Answer Applies to: Maine
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C.
Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
Yes, you are required to take a "credit briefing" within the 180 days prior to the date that you file bankruptcy. You can do it in person, on the phone, or online. Most of my clients take it online, and it takes them about an hour. Then there is a "debtor education" program that takes about two hours, but you take it AFTER the filing of the bankruptcy. My clients also take it online. Yes, you still have to take it, even if you hire an attorney. We collect it as part of our fee, and then we pay for it. Some attorneys have their clients pay for it directly. If you are very low income, you can ask the credit counseling firm to waive their fee.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/1/2011
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
    The first step should be to meet with a qualified attorney who helps people file for relief under the bankruptcy code. An experienced attorney should provide the following services at the initial consultation at no charge: A description of the relief available, the benefits and the risks of filing for bankruptcy under Chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. An analysis, based on the information and documents provided by you of your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. If it appears from this analysis that bankruptcy may be an appropriate remedy for you, there should be a discussion of the information and documents needed, as well as a procedural timetable. If it appears that bankruptcy may not be an appropriate remedy for you, there should be a discussion of other possible alternatives. Either concurrently with gathering all the information necessary to prepare your documents, or anytime within 180 days prior to the date your Bankruptcy Petition is filed, the second step involved in a Bankruptcy proceeding is completion of a credit counseling session. A typical counseling session should last about an hour or so, and includes an evaluation of your personal financial situation, a discussion of alternatives to bankruptcy, and a personal budget plan. This pre-bankruptcy counseling session can take place in person, on the phone, or online. While different credit counseling organizations have different fee structures, some places are free (although there may be a nominal $5 certificate processing fee). If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you should request a fee waiver from the organization before the counseling session begins. A complete list of counseling organizations approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California is available on the Court's website. Both you and your spouse (if any, and if filing a joint Petition) must file a certificate of credit counseling completion when you file for bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    You should hire attorney prior to taking class. Most, like my firm, will guide you in taking class. It's required with or without attorney. Go with attorney. Save yourself some trouble.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    You have to take the credit counseling course before filing a petition, so you can do it before finding an attorney or after. It doesn't matter if you have an attorney or not. No attorney will pay for the course for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    Each attorney has his/her own preference for counseling providers. Some include it in their price and you use their code. So wait until you choose an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    The certificate is only good for 6 months so don't take it too soon. You get it done for $5.00 at "consumerbankruptcycounseling.info." Everyone has to take this class and the "debtor education" class.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    You must take a bankruptcy class before you can file bankruptcy. Some attorneys will pay for the class and include the charge for this class in their rates. Others will have you choose your own class. The classes take about 2 hours to complete.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    California's Largest Family of Attorneys
    California's Largest Family of Attorneys | Doan Law Firm
    Generally, the attorneys will have one ready for you, so please call an attorney and then he/she can help you sign up for the courses.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    You should complete the course upon instruction of your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    A credit counseling course is required before you file, but it is good for only six months after you take it. Either you pay for it or if the attorney does, it built into the fee they charge in all events.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm
    The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm | Thomas A McAvity
    You should wait until you have hired a bankruptcy attorney to take the credit counseling class. The class itself has a limited shelf life and you will want to make sure that your case is eligible for filing prior to taking the class. Moreover, many bankruptcy attorneys have preferred providers for the class itself.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    You can. But I usually set that up for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Stuart Jon Bierman  Attorney at Law
    Stuart Jon Bierman Attorney at Law | Stuart Jon Bierman
    Yes, if you have an attorney you still have to take the counseling course but fortunately you can take it at home via phone or the Internet. The client has to pay the cost of the course, which is usually less than $50.00; maybe some attorneys pay the counseling company on behalf of the client but if so I expect that the cost is factored into their legal fee (and maybe some attorneys add a markup) so either way the client is paying for the course.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    Wait until you see an attorney before you take your counseling course. Different attorneys like different companies and may or may not include the fee in their fee. It is also only good for 180 days, so it is really better to make sure that you qualify and that you have the necessary info before you take the course. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    I have a class I prefer and I think most lawyers do. So talk to a lawyer, before you take the class. Also, sometimes a good lawyer will plan to put off your bankruptcy for six months or more to get a better result. If you take the class before seeing the lawyer, it will expire. Not a big deal. But see the lawyer first.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    A pre-requisite to file bankruptcy is taking an approved credit counseling course. If you hire an attorney you have to meet this requirement before filing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Southern California Law Advocates
    Southern California Law Advocates | Norma Duenas
    You do not have to take a credit counseling class before finding an attorney. Depending on the attorney, he may order the class for you and give you the instructions on taking the class, or he may just direct you to companies that offer the service. If the bankruptcy attorney orders the class for you then he will include in the fees he charges you, the fees for the class. The only requirement is that before you file the bankruptcy case, you must have completed the course within 180 days from the date of filing. There are some people that can be exempted form taking the class, but this is very limited.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Raxter Law
    Raxter Law | Jeremiah Raxter
    No, you can take the counseling course after finding an attorney. In fact, it would be easier to attend the class after you have chosen an attorney since the agency will/can forward your "certificate" to your attorney. However, you will need to take the class before you file your petition. Best of luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    No, however there is a credit counseling requirement that must be satisfied before the filing date of your bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    You have to take it whether you hire an attorney or not and you have to pay for it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    You have to do it with or without a lawyer. He or she cannot do if for you, although it's not difficult.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    The requirement to take and complete a pre-filing credit counseling course has nothing to do with your attorney. It is mandated by Congress and must be taken from an approved agency. There is another post-filing course you have to take as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
    You need to take the pre-filing credit counseling before you file for Bankruptcy. You can do this either before or after you meet with an attorney, it's up to you. There's absolutely no way your attorney is going to agree to pay for your class, the onus is on you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    The pre-filing course is an absolute pre-requisite of filing for bankruptcy. I've never heard of a firm that pays for the course but who knows.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C.
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C. | Alexzander Adams
    You will have to take a Department of Justice approved credit counseling course no matter what. Some practitioners arrange this; others do not. There are very few exceptions to this. Expect to take the course if you file.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    You need to take two courses, one before filing and one after, regardless of whether you have a lawyer or not. You will have to pay for the courses either directly to the course provider or by including the cost of the courses in the attorney's fee and having the attorney pay the provider for you. One way or the other it will be a cost that you will have to bear. It is better not to do anything until you hire the attorney as he/she may have a preferred website for you to take the courses and can tell you which ones are cheaper and easier plus that way the completion certificates are sent directly to the attorney by email and you do not need to bother sending them to the lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Eric Ridley
    Law Office of Eric Ridley | Eric Ridley
    You still must take the course regardless of whether you have an attorney or not. And, while some attorneys might pay for it, or include the cost of the course in their flat rate, you will still be paying for it one way or another!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You do not have to complete the class before hiring an attorney, but you do need to complete it within 180 days of the filing date. The client pays for this class, not the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You have to take it and pay for it at some point. Since the cost is minimal (as low as $25) you may want to go ahead and take it. Your certificate is valid for 180 days.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
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