In order to get your Discharge of Debtor in your bankruptcy case, you’re required to complete a financial management course.

In addition to having to take a course in credit counseling within 180 days of filing bankruptcy, every person who files for bankruptcy is required to complete a Financial Management (sometimes also called Debtor Education) course.

The certificate of completion for that course must be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court before your Discharge of Debtor can be entered. If you do not complete your instructional course concerning personal financial management within 45 days of the date of your Meeting of Creditors then your bankruptcy case may be closed without a Discharge being issued.

The Case Of The Unfiled Financial Management Court Certification

The only way for you to get a Discharge of Debtor in that case is be asking the court to reopen your bankruptcy case so you can file the certification.

Reopening your bankruptcy case to allow you to file your financial management court certification is not technically difficult, but it does take time and money – both in terms of additional court filing fees as well as legal fees.

Most judges will let you reopen the case for the purpose of filing the certificate, but there’s a filing fee to reopen the case.  Your lawyer will need to draft and serve court documents on your behalf, and another court appearance will also be necessary.  That costs time and money, so be prepared to open your wallet (unless it was your lawyer’s fault, in which case you may have a bit more wiggle room on the costs if you press hard enough).

A Few People May Not Need To File A Certification

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has a way for some people to get around the requirement to complete a financial management course, but the exemptions are few and far between. You do not need to file a certification if:

  • the court determines you are unable to complete the requirement because of incapacity, disability, or active military duty in a military combat zone. Incapacity means that you are impaired by reason of mental illness or mental deficiency so that you are incapable of realizing and making rational decisions with respect to your financial responsibilities; and “disability” means that you are so physically impaired as to be unable, after reasonable effort, to participate in an in person, telephone, or Internet briefing; or
  • you reside in a district for which the United States trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any) determines that the approved instructional courses are not adequate to service the additional individuals who would otherwise be required to complete such instructional courses.

How To Find A Place to Get The Certification

We have a few good providers we tell our clients about, but the ultimate decision is yours.  So long as the provider is certified by the Executive Office of the U.S. Trustee, they can do the job for you. Click here to find a list of approved providers in your area.