Before obtaining a discharge in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must provide the California judge overseeing your case with a bankruptcy certificate. The certificate is used to verify that you completed a credit counseling session as well as a debtor education course.
You must find an approved course provider
The bankruptcy certificate verifies that you have taken a debtor education and credit counseling course that is certified by the U.S. Trustee Program. The judge or trustee in your case may provide you with a list of approved course providers in your area. You may also be able to find that information online. Typically, the credit counseling session is completed before you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy while the debtor education course is completed after your case has begun.
You may pay a fee
A typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy credit counseling session will cost you about 90 minutes of your time and $50. A typical course lasts about two hours and will cost between $50 and $100. It may be possible to have one, or both, fees waived if you cannot afford them. As a general rule, services are available for free to those who earn less than 150% of the federal poverty line. However, you may qualify for a waiver regardless of your income if you can prove that paying service fees would create a financial hardship.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may enable you to eliminate debts without ceding any assets. Eliminating credit card or other types of balances may have a positive impact on your credit score over a period of several years. It may also be easier to build an emergency fund or take other steps to secure your financial future.