To you, bankruptcy may seem like a fairly “cut-and-dry” process: you file, disclose your debts, and then have them discharged. You likely thought that at no point would you be told that you had to go through credit counseling. Many in Jackson have come to us here at the Pond Law Firm with the same question that you now have: “Why do I need to do this?” Such confusion makes sense; after all, should it not be assumed that if you are filing for bankruptcy, you have already determined that you are not in a position to settle your debts on your own?
You might think that passing the means test was the only criteria for qualifying to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Yet according to information shared by the U.S. Federal Judiciary, you must also complete credit counseling at least 180 days prior to filing. During your credit counseling sessions, your service provider may provide you with a debt repayment plan. Keep in mind that plan does not take into account you filing for bankruptcy, but rather shows how you might be able to repay your financial liabilities on your own. You are under no legal obligation to follow this plan, yet you do have to submit it to the court.
If the court reviews the credit counselor’s proposed repayment plan and deems it to be viable, it may question your decision to seek a Chapter 7. Yet rather than deeming you ineligible for bankruptcy (and mandating that you instead follow the repayment plan), the court may simply recommend that you convert your case to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This affords you the same protection while giving you 3-5 years to repay your debts.
More information on qualifying for personal bankruptcy can be found throughout our site.