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When a debtor in Kansas City decides to file for bankruptcy, whether it is Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they must go through credit counseling within the 180 days prior to filing. The credit counseling organization must be approved by the government, specifically by the U.S. Trustee Program of the Department of Justice.

There are a number of topics that should be covered when a debtor goes through credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy. These topics include creating a budget, evaluating the debtor’s current financial situation and going over any debt relief options that may be available besides bankruptcy.

The credit counseling session can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. Although the counseling session can be done in person, it is also possible to fulfill this requirement online or over the phone. If the debtor can’t afford to take the course, the fee may be waived in some situations. After finishing the credit counseling session, the debtor will receive a certificate proving that he or she completed the course.

In addition, after filing for bankruptcy in order for a debtor’s debts to be discharged, the debtor must go through a government-approved debtor education course. Topics discussed in such courses may include how to budget, the proper use of credit and money management. The debtor education course can be completed either in person, online or over the phone. This course may last as long as two hours, and there is a fee associated with it, although in some cases, this fee may be waived.Like the credit counseling course, the debtor will receive a certificate proving their completion of the course.

Credit counseling and debtor education courses are only two of the requirements involved in filing for bankruptcy; there are additional requirements. Debtors who want more information about the requirements necessary to complete the bankruptcy process may want to discuss the matter with a professional.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, “Filing for Bankruptcy: What to Know,” accessed Jan. 25, 2015