In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must take a personal financial management course from an approved agency prior to receiving a bankruptcy discharge. (To learn more about this requirement, see The Predischarge Counseling Requirement in Bankruptcy.)
There are a few exceptions to this requirement, although filers rarely qualify for them.
Exceptions to the Financial Management Course Requirement
You don’t have to take an approved personal financial management course if:
There are no courses available in your district. Practically speaking, this exception almost never applies because every district has agencies offering approved courses over the Internet or telephone.
Your disability or incapacity makes it impossible for you to take the course. Again, because the courses are offered over the telephone and online, courts don’t often grant this exception. However, if you have a mental incapacity that prevents you from understanding the information in the course, the requirement might be waived for you.
You are on active duty in a military zone.
There are no courses available in a language you understand. Although the bankruptcy code does not specifically identify this as an exception, if the agencies in your district don’t provide counseling in a language you understand, you might be excused from taking the course. For example, one court waived the pre-discharge counseling requirement because the debtor spoke Creole and there were no Creole-speaking counselors available.
To learn about other bankruptcy requirements and procedures, see our Bankruptcy Filing & Procedures area.