How long will a personal bankruptcy stay on my credit report? 

A chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy or a non-discharged or dismissed chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on your credit file for 10 years from the date it is filed. A discharged chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on your credit report for seven years from the date it’s filed.

Why do I have to get credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy? Why do I have to attend a financial workshop before my bankruptcy will be discharged?

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 mandates counseling and education for all individuals filing for bankruptcy. This must be done through a U.S.Trustee-approved, non-profit credit counseling agency, like Guidewell Financial. A certificate of completion for both the pre-file counseling and the pre-discharge education class must be obtained from the counseling agency. Pre-file counseling helps clients determine if bankruptcy is the best option available for dealing with their debts. The pre-discharge workshop helps them gain the financial skills they need to become financially fit.

What is covered during pre-bankruptcy counseling sessions?  

During the online session, you will explore the various reasons for filing bankruptcy and how the process works, including common consequences of bankruptcy. You’ll also learn where you stand financially, explore alternatives to bankruptcy (if available), and receive a personal budget plan. The online pre-file bankruptcy counseling session includes a brief check-in with one of Guidewell Financial's certified counselors.

What is covered during pre-discharge educational workshops?  

During the “Live a Richer Life” workshop, you will learn how to set up and stick to a budget, how credit works, how to rebuild your credit, and how bankruptcy may affect your life. Guidewell Financial pre-discharge bankruptcy workshops are available online. To enroll in this course, you must first have completed a pre-file counseling session and received a certificate. Your bankruptcy case number will be required to register.

Why is Guidewell Financial particularly qualified to provide bankruptcy counseling and education?  

Guidewell Financial Solutions is an EOUST-certified nonprofit agency that has provided reliable financial counseling since 1966. During that time, we’ve helped millions of individuals and families resolve their money management problems; we've also provided free financial literacy education to children and adults throughout Maryland and Delaware. Our team of certified counselors is trained to listen and to offer competent advice to help you through this most trying time.