*Approval by the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office of United States Trustees does not endorse or assure the quality of our services.
Filing for bankruptcy is quite possibly one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime; one that should be taken very seriously. If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, first and foremost - talk to an attorney prior to enrolling in bankruptcy counseling!
It is important to note that we are not a law firm and cannot offer you legal advice of any kind! However, we can provide you with the required bankruptcy counseling certificates that you need in order to complete your bankruptcy filing.
The bankruptcy counseling process is completed in two phases: Pre-Filing Credit Counseling (also known as a "Budget and Credit Counseling Briefing") and Post-Filing Debtor Education (also known as a "Personal Financial Management Instructional Course"). Both will need to be completed in order to finalize your bankruptcy filing.
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 launched a new era: With limited exceptions, people who plan to file for bankruptcy protection must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within 180 days before they file. They also must complete a debtor education course to have their debts discharged.
Cambridge is approved* to issue certificates upon completion of a Budget and Credit Counseling Briefing in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, Cambridge is approved* to issue certificates evidencing completion of a personal financial management instructional course in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code.
In general, you must file a certificate of credit counseling completion when you file for bankruptcy, and evidence of completion of debtor education after you file for bankruptcy – but before your debts are discharged. Only credit counseling organizations and debtor education course providers that have been approved* by the U.S. Trustee Program may issue these certificates. To protect against fraud, the certificates are produced through a central automated system and are numbered.
A pre-bankruptcy counseling session should include an evaluation of your personal financial situation, a discussion of alternatives to bankruptcy, and a personal budget plan. A typical counseling session should last about 60 to 90 minutes, and can take place in person, on the phone, or online. Cambridge is required to provide the counseling free of charge for those consumers who cannot afford to pay. Please see our Fee Waiver Policy below. We are required to discuss any fees with you before starting the counseling session. Once you have completed the required counseling, you will get a certificate as proof. Cambridge will not charge an extra fee for the certificate.
Our debtor education course will include information on developing a budget, managing money, using credit wisely, and other resources. Our debtor education course is provided online only and will take longer to complete than the pre-filing counseling – about two hours. As with pre-filing counseling, if you are unable to pay the session fee, you should seek a fee waiver from the debtor education provider. Check the list of approved debtor education providers at the bankruptcy clerk's office in your district, or by visiting the website for the Department of Justice, Executive Office of United States Trustees.
Once you have completed the required debtor education course, you will receive a certificate as proof. This certificate is separate from the certificate you received after completing your pre-filing credit counseling. Cambridge does not charge an extra fee for the certificate.
Cambridge will not refuse services to anyone due to their inability to pay. Cambridge agrees to waive its fee upon request if the consumer or debtor student has income less than 150 percent of the applicable poverty guideline last published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the 48 contiguous states. If you wish to request a fee waiver, please call Cambridge and speak with a representative at (800) 403-3433. The income of a spouse is included in calculating income, whether or not a joint petition is filed, unless the spouses are separated and a joint petition is not filed. The income of any other family member listed as a dependent will also be included.