You cannot obtain debt relief under the new bankruptcy law before completing a consumer credit counseling course before and after your bankruptcy filing.
Nonprofit consumer credit counseling course providers are approved by the U.S. bankruptcy trustee. Group and individual sessions are offered and are available to satisfy your preference. Upon completion of your first credit counseling course, the nonprofit agency will provide you with a certificate of completion. This certificate must be filed with the bankruptcy court together with your bankruptcy petition.
You must also take a second credit counseling course after your bankruptcy case has been filed. You will also be given a certificate showing completing of this course. After the bankruptcy court receives your certificate for the second course your responsibility for credit counseling will be fulfilled and you should be eligible for discharge providing all of the other schedules and other papers that makeup the bankruptcy package have been properly filed and you have attended the Section 341 or "Creditors Meeting".
Do not forget to take the second credit counseling course. This is a common mistake. If you fail to complete the second counseling class the court will most likely close your case without discharging your debts. You would then have to file a motion asking the court to reopen your bankruptcy case resulting in additional attorney fees and court costs. Thus, it is highly recommended that you take the course as soon as possible after your bankruptcy cases has been filed. The course is not difficult and can be done by telephone, in-person or on the Internet.
Information about approved credit counseling providors is available on the bankruptcy court's website but I will be happy to provide you with a list when you visit my office.