What Is the Debtor Education Requirement in Bankruptcy?

By Cara O'Neill, Attorney
Find out about the course you must take after filing for bankruptcy.

After you file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you (and your spouse if you file together) must complete a personal financial management class called the debtor education course. It’s also known as the second bankruptcy course (or post-filing bankruptcy course) to distinguish it from the class you must take before you file for bankruptcy—the pre-filing credit counseling course.

(You can learn more about the first course by reading What Is the Credit Counseling Requirement in Bankruptcy?)

In the debtor education course, you’ll learn techniques that will help you stay financially healthy after the closure of your bankruptcy case. Topics discussed will likely include the following:

  • setting a budget
  • preparing for financial emergencies, and
  • rebuilding credit after bankruptcy.

To find an approved provider, you’ll want to go to the U.S. Trustee’s website. You’ll find the “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education” link in the column to the left.

You’ll prove that you satisfied the requirement by submitting a certificate. After doing so, you’ll be eligible receive a discharge (the order that wipes out qualified debt). You can report that you’ve met the course requirement by using Official Form 423 Certification About a Financial Management Course.

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and fail to file your certificate within 60 days of the first 341 meeting of creditors date (the required bankruptcy hearing you must attend), the court will dismiss your case. In that event, you’ll have to file a motion asking the court the following things: to reopen your case, to allow you additional time to file your certificate, and to issue a discharge. (Your local court might require three different motions rather than one consolidated motion.) Also, you’ll have to repay the filing fee before you can file the first motion.

You’ll file your certificate in your Chapter 13 case sometime before the due date of your last repayment installment.

(To learn more about the debtor education requirement, see What Are the Differences Between the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses in Bankruptcy?)

Go to the main bankruptcy FAQ page.

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