If you plan to file bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 requires you to complete pre-file bankruptcy counseling before you file and pre-discharge education after you file in order to have your debts discharged. Guidewell Financial is a U.S. Trustee-approved, non-profit credit counseling agency able to issue the certificates showing that you completed both requirements.
Guidewell Financial is approved by the Executive Office for United States Trustees (EOUST) to provide bankruptcy counseling and education in all states except Alabama, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. In-person, telephone, and online counseling and education is available in Spanish. Clients referred by Maryland Volunter Lawyers Service should call Guidewell Financial directly to discuss program guidelines.
Pre-file Bankruptcy Counseling
If you have already completed pre-file bankruptcy counseling and have your bankruptcy case number, see pre-discharge education below.
Guidewell Financial offers pre-file bankruptcy counseling online, in-person, or over the telephone. The online counseling requires a brief follow-up call with a certified credit counselor. To request an appointment for in-person or telephone pre-file bankruptcy counseling, click the link below or call 1-800-642-2227. Or click Online Pre-file Bankruptcy Counseling to take the online pre-file bankruptcy counseling course.
- At your appointment time, talk with your bankruptcy counselor. The counselor will give you information that can help you decide if bankruptcy is best for you. You and your counselor will discuss your reasons for and consequences of filing bankruptcy. Your counselor will explain alternatives to bankruptcy that might be available to you.
- You must be prepared to pay the one-time fee (debit/credit card). The online course has a fee of $19.95 for an individual or $29.95 for a couple. The in-person or telephone counseling is $50.00 for an individual or $75.00 for a couple.
- When you have completed the pre-file bankruptcy counseling, you will receive the certificate that is required to file bankruptcy. The certificate is good for 180 days.
- When you file, you will get a bankruptcy case number. You need that number to take the required pre-discharge education class and to receive your certificate of completion. Guidewell Financial can issue certificates only if you file bankruptcy in a Judicial District in a state where Guidewell Financial is approved.
- When you have your case number, you can start your pre-discharge bankruptcy education class.
Questions? Call 1-800-642-2227.
Pre-discharge Bankruptcy Education
Guidewell Financial offers pre-discharge bankruptcy education online or in person. In-person classes are held in Catonsville, Maryland. To enroll in Guidewell Financial’s pre-discharge bankruptcy education, you must have completed the following steps.
- You have completed a pre-file bankruptcy counseling session through an approved counseling agency and received a certificate. If you have not, you must make an appointment for pre-file bankruptcy counseling before you can enroll in pre-discharge bankruptcy education.
- You have filed bankruptcy in a Judicial District in a state in which Guidewell Financial is approved (all states except Alabama, North Carolina, and Rhode Island).
- You have your bankruptcy case number.
- You must be prepared to pay the one-time fee (debit/credit card). The online course has a fee of $14.95 for an individual or $19.95 for a couple. The in-person or telephone counseling is $50.00 for an individual or $75.00 for a couple.
- In limited circumstances, you may be eligible to have this fee reduced or waived. Individuals with household income under 150 percent of the poverty guideline for their applicable family size as published in the Federal Poverty Guidelines may be entitled to a fee waiver. Please contact our office to determine your eligibility for fee waiver or reduction. However, the agency will provide services regardless of the client’s ability to pay.
- If you meet all of the above criteria, you may enroll in Guidewell Financial’s pre-discharge bankruptcy education class.
After Pre-discharge Bankruptcy Education
- You must score 70 percent or better on the test you’ll take at the end of the class to receive your certificate without delay.
- You or your attorney is responsible for filing your certificate with the court. Guidewell Financial does not file certificates or represent you in court.
You can complete pre-discharge bankruptcy education at an in-person workshop at Guidewell Financial’s Catonsville, Maryland location, or complete it online at your own convenience. Click the button below or call us at 1-800-642-2227.