Gauss Law Firm- Denver Bankruptcy Lawyers

Credit Counseling

The 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code put into place a requirement(s) that each debtor seeking bankruptcy relief must complete two credit counseling courses in order to get a discharge in either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

These courses typically take from ½ hour to 1 hour to complete and cost between $15-$30 each. One course must be completed before the bankruptcy is filed and another must be completed within 45 days of your 341 Meeting of Creditors.


It is important to realize that for the first course in particular it absolutely must be completed before the filing of the case. You do not want to be in a position where you have an emergency, such as filing a bankruptcy to stop a foreclosure, and are at the same time trying to complete this credit counseling requirement.

In one instance, because of the way the law is written "a person may not be a debtor ... unless during the 180 day period ending on the date of the filing of the petition," I was able to file a case and have a person finish the course nearing midnight on the filing date. This happened in an emergency circumstance and of it is best to complete your course well in advance of the filing.


Your credit counseling may be done in person, by telephone, or by use of the internet. Again these are "courses" or you might think of them as hour long classes. Many people misinterpret this requirement as mandating that they must have gone through a multi-month extended period of repayment in order to file bankruptcy. That type of credit counseling or debt consolidation program is NOT required before filing a bankruptcy case.


You will get a certificate of completion form the provider that must be filed in the bankruptcy case.


Specific Deadlines for Credit Counseling:


Importantly the first course, or the "pre- bankruptcy credit counseling course" is effective for only 6 months. (180 days). Stated differently a person may not file a bankruptcy unless within 180 days before the filing the person has received credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency.


The second course must be done before discharge in either a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. By local rule the Court will set a deadline that is approximately 45 days from your Court hearing.


Exceptions Not Relevant:


The exceptions to the credit counseling requirement involve the counseling not being available for a 7 day period preceding the case, which has rarely been used perhaps if the debtor lived in an extremely rural area or there was some sort of national problem with the internet this would be relevant. Or, the requirement can be excused due to the health of the debtor being such that completion is impossible.

In short, you’ve got to do the course and the only way out of it is to be extremely ill or perhaps living at the "end of time." Suffice it to say there are exceptions but you wouldn’t want to be eligible for them. See. 11 U.S.C. 109.

Below are some providers we have worked with at the Gauss Law Firm. If you have a problem with a recommended provider, please let us know. If you have a good and cost effective experience please let us know that as well. We do not have business or financial interest in these providers.