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Credit Counseling Warning

Did you complete credit counseling from a US Trustee approved credit counseling agency & receive your credit counseling certificate?  Your certificate MUST be filed with your bankruptcy petition.


If you do not complete counseling before you file your petition or you do not meet the requirements for an extension to complete the counseling after filing (The credit counseling must have been received within 180 days before filing bankruptcy):

Your case may be DISMISSED without refund of any filing fee paid;

  • You WILL NOT receive a DISCHARGE of your debts;
  • If you REFILE within ONE YEAR after dismissal, protection under the Bankruptcy Code from your creditors (i.e. the automatic stay) may be limited to thirty (30) days.

Under the bankruptcy laws, the court can only allow you to complete the course after filing if you meet all of the following conditions. See 11 USC § 109(h)(3).

  1. You must have tried to get credit counseling from an approved agency before bankruptcy but were not able to obtain the counseling during the 7-day period after you made the request; AND
  2. There are exigent (emergency) circumstances that make it necessary for you to file your case immediately (Important: The court will determine what qualifies as an emergency circumstance); AND
  3. You must file a certification stating the facts regarding conditions 1 and 2 above with your petition.

The decision to file is yours alone, but if you file a petition without taking the course, you are risking dismissal of your case. The clerk cannot provide legal advice or predict in advance how a judge will decide your request for an extension to complete this requirement for credit counseling. For more information about the credit counseling requirement, go here to read this: FTC Facts for Consumers: Before You File for Personal Bankruptcy.

To obtain a list of United States Trustee approved pre-bankruptcy credit counseling agencies, go to this website: U.S. Trustee Approved Credit Counseling Agencies for AZ Filers.

You may take the course on the Internet, by telephone, or in person. If you do not have a computer, your public library may allow you to use their public computers.

NOTE: A waiver of the credit counseling requirement is available in very limited circumstances for persons on military duty in an active combat zone, or persons with a physical or mental impairment preventing participation in credit counseling, in person, by telephone, or on the Internet. A waiver must be granted by the court. 11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(4).