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Our Offices

  • Vernon Office

    Address

    244 State Hwy 94
    Vernon, New Jersey 07462

  • Wayne Office

    Address

    73 Mountainview Blvd
    Wayne, New Jersey 07470

    Phone

    973-764-1633

  • Pompton Lakes Office

    Address

    58 Colfax Avenue #1
    Pompton Lakes, New Jersey 07442

  • Hackensack Office

    Address

    41 Main Street
    Suite 2
    Hackensack, New Jersey 07601

    Phone

    973-764-1633

  • Nutley Office

    Address

    345 Centre Street
    Suite 2
    Nutley, New Jersey 07110

    Phone

    973-764-1633

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  • Blog >
  • What Happens in Mandatory Bankruptcy Counseling?

What Happens in Mandatory Bankruptcy Counseling?

One aspect of bankruptcy that people sometimes overlook is the mandatory counseling that must be completed at each end of the process. First, you have to receive counseling in the 180-day period before you submit your documents to the Bankruptcy Court. Later, after your debt has been discharged in a Chapter 7 proceeding or you have been given a Chapter 13 repayment plan, you have to go through post-bankruptcy counseling designed to help maintain your new-found financial stability.

If you’re expecting to petition for bankruptcy protection imminently, you need to go to credit counseling from a provider approved by the U.S. Trustee’s office. There are dozens of qualified agencies within the District of New Jersey. When you meet with the credit counselor, you will learn about your debt relief options and the records you should gather in the event that you do file for bankruptcy. There usually is a small cost for the service, but this amount can be reduced based on the client’s ability to pay. Among the materials you have to provide to the court when you start the bankruptcy proceeding is the certificate of completion from the counseling agency.

Your counselor might say that a Chapter 13 repayment plan is appropriate given your income and other circumstances. However, you might believe that the only path to financial security is through a Chapter 7 debt discharge. Remember that the counselor is just there to explain the process, but you do not have to follow their recommendation. On the other hand, when you work with an experienced New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer, you can be confident that they are looking out for your best interests.  

Mandatory post-bankruptcy counseling is referred to as “debtor education.” In these sessions, bankruptcy filers learn about making a budget and managing expenses. You must finish this within 60 days of the creditors’ meeting that is convened by the bankruptcy trustee. Failure to prove that you have completed the requisite debtor education could lead to a dismissal of your bankruptcy case. With a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney by your side, you will be made aware of all your obligations, so you can concentrate on what’s ahead.

The Law Offices of James C. Zimmerman represents clients throughout northern New Jersey in bankruptcies and other debt relief matters. Call us at 973-764-1633 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at any of our five offices, located in Vernon, Wayne, Pompton Lakes, Hackensack and Nutley.