Can my mother get credit counseling in Spanish before she files for bankruptcy?

The U.S. Trustee's website lists, by state, agencies that provide pre-bankruptcy credit counseling in Spanish.

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Question

My mother is in financial trouble and would like to file for bankruptcy. She speaks Spanish. I know enough Spanish to help her fill out the bankruptcy forms, but cannot translate for her during the required credit counseling. Are there approved credit counseling agencies that have Spanish-speakers?

Answer

Yes, the U.S. Trustee’s Office has a list of approved credit counseling agencies in each state that provide English and Spanish-speaking services. In many states, you can find an agency that will do the Spanish counseling in person. But depending on where your mother lives, she may have to participate in counseling over the telephone or Internet

The Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Requirement

Anyone filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy must participate in credit counseling – in person, over the phone, or online – within the 180-day period before filing for bankruptcy.   After participating in the session, the counseling agency will provide the debtor with a certificate of completion; the debtor must file this with his or her bankruptcy petition or within 15 days of the bankruptcy filing.  (Learn more about the credit counseling requirement for bankruptcy, including the rare instances when a bankruptcy filer does not have to get counseling.)

Finding an Agency With Spanish-Speaking Counselors

In order to meet the bankruptcy requirement, your mother must get counseling from an agency that is approved by the Office of the United States Trustee. You can find a list of approved agencies, by state, on the U.S. Trustee’s website. If you click on your state, you’ll find an extensive list of providers – each agency states whether it provides services in English or Spanish, or both.

In all states, there are multiple agencies that have Spanish-speaking counselors. Some provide services in person, and many others provide Spanish-speaking services over the telephone or Internet – both of these delivery methods are sufficient to comply with the bankruptcy requirement.

For people that speak languages other than English or Spanish, there is a separate list of agencies.  On the U.S. Trustee’s website, scroll down to the section that says “Approved Agencies Offering Services in Languages Other Than English or Spanish,” and then choose the desired language. 

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