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Is credit counseling required before filing for bankruptcy?

Individuals in New Hampshire who are considering bankruptcy must take a credit counseling course within 180 days prior to filing. The course must be taken through a credit counseling organization that is approved by the Department of Justice's U.S. Trustee Program. During this course, a counselor will go over the debtor's finances, discuss alternatives to bankruptcy and develop a personalized financial plan.

Debtors going through credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy may do so online, in person or over the phone. The session should take no more than 90 minutes, and it is free for those who cannot afford to pay for it. Those who cannot afford to pay the fee should ask for a fee waiver before the session begins. It will generally cost approximately $50 to attend such a class, and all fees must be disclosed prior to enrolling in the course.

After successfully completing the course, the debtor will receive a certificate proving that he or she has met the credit counseling requirement. The certificate is free and must be included with the filing. It is advisable to check to make sure that the certificate has been received from an agency that is approved in the district where the petition is being filed.

Bankruptcy may be an excellent resource for those who are looking to get rid of some or all of their debts. It may enable debtors to have eligible debts discharged or to reorganize them and pay them down over time. In the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are certain items that are exempt from liquidation during the process. Talking to an attorney may make it possible to determine which type of bankruptcy may be most appropriate for an individual debtor.

Source: The Federal Trade Commission , "Filing for Bankruptcy: What to Know", October 14, 2014

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