Since the new bankruptcy laws went into effect in 2005 consumers filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy are required to go through a government-approved credit counseling program within six months before they file for bankruptcy protection. Credit counseling can take place in person, over the phone, or online. The credit counseling session will last about 90 minutes and will include an analysis of their personal budget, including income, expenses and current debt. The credit counseling organization is allowed to charge a reasonable fee for services which is usually in the $50 range depending on location, services offered, and administrative costs. Credit counseling organizations approved by the government are required to waive the fee for anyone who cannot afford to pay. After completing their credit counseling session, consumers must get a certificate of proof. Some credit counseling organizations charge extra to receive the certificate proving that the session was completed. For the current list of government approved credit counseling agencies, visit: http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/eo/bapcpa/ccde/cc_approved.htm
If no certificate is submitted, the court will hold a hearing to determine if the debtor has good cause for not attending pre-filing credit counseling.
If there is no good cause (not knowing is not good cause), the judge will have to dismiss the bankruptcy, and you'll have to start over.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).