Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Comprehensive Guide on Credit Counseling to Get Your Wisconsin Bankruptcy Approved.

Online Bankruptcy Credit Counseling in Wisconsin

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Comprehensive Guide on Credit Counseling to Get Your Wisconsin Bankruptcy Approved.

Are you considering filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin? If so, it’s crucial to understand the necessary steps to ensure your bankruptcy gets approved. One of the essential requirements in the bankruptcy process is credit counseling. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the key aspects of credit counseling, including the steps to follow and important information you need to know.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Must all individuals obtain credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy?

Yes, absolutely. If you plan to file for bankruptcy in Wisconsin, you must obtain credit counseling from a government-approved agency within six months (180 days) BEFORE filing for bankruptcy. This requirement applies to everyone, including those with primarily business debts. Failure to complete the credit counseling course before filing could result in your case being dismissed.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Finding a Counseling Agency

You might be wondering how to find a suitable credit counseling agency. The United States Trustee Program (USTP) maintains a list of approved agencies on their website. While the USTP doesn’t recommend specific agencies, they do ensure the agencies on their list meet the necessary requirements for providing credit counseling.

If you’re looking for an agency that offers credit counseling in languages other than English, the USTP’s website has a section dedicated to approved agencies offering services in various languages.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Taking the Counseling

Credit counseling and debtor education are separate courses in the bankruptcy process. Credit counseling must be completed before filing for bankruptcy, with a few exceptions. On the other hand, debtor education is a separate course taken after filing for bankruptcy, with limited exceptions. Therefore, a single agency cannot provide both services in the same session.

If you plan to file for bankruptcy jointly with someone else, such as a spouse, you can attend the same counseling session. The agency will issue separate certificates for each person.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Paying for Counseling

While credit counseling is a necessary step, you might be concerned about the associated costs. It’s important to note that individuals other than the client, such as the client’s attorney, can pay for credit counseling. However, these payments must comply with applicable laws, regulations, and ethical requirements.

Credit counseling agencies may charge a separate fee for issuing the credit counseling certificate. All fees should be disclosed clearly to the client before counseling begins. Furthermore, credit counseling services are available for free or at a reduced rate based on the client’s ability to pay. If your household income is less than 150 percent of the poverty level, you may be eligible for a fee waiver or reduction.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Certificates

If you’ve completed your credit counseling, you’ll receive a certificate. But what if you lose it or if it contains errors? In such cases, you should contact the credit counseling agency that issued your certificate to obtain a replacement or corrected certificate.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: For Credit Counseling Agencies/Applicants

If you’re a credit counseling agency or considering becoming one, you might have questions about the application process and requirements. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Application Process

  • There is no deadline for new applicants. However, currently approved agencies must re-apply at least 45 days before their current approval period expires.
  • The USTP accepts applications by encrypted electronic mail, overnight mail, or another secure method with prior approval. Fax applications are not accepted.
  • Attorneys may apply to be approved credit counseling agencies, but they must meet specific requirements, and their ability to provide services might be subject to state laws and regulations.
  • Approved agencies must comply with all applicable state laws to maintain their approval status.

Amendments to the Application

  • Credit counseling agencies can request approval for additional judicial districts by submitting an amended application.
  • Fee increases must be approved in advance by the USTP, with justification for the increase provided.
  • Any material change to credit counseling services, such as changes in the counseling method of delivery or counseling materials, requires advance approval from the USTP.

Online Bankruptcy Credit Counseling in Wisconsin

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Counseling Process

When you participate in credit counseling, it’s important to understand the process:

  • Counseling sessions typically last around 60 minutes.
  • Internet or automated telephone counseling is considered complete only after the client engages in “live” interaction with a counselor following the online or automated portion.
  • Agencies should make reasonable efforts to accommodate clients with limited English proficiency, either by providing services in their language or referring them to approved agencies that offer services in their preferred language.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Client Payment Issues

Determining a client’s “ability to pay” is crucial when it comes to fees:

  • The ability to pay is based on the agency’s fee waiver or fee reduction policy applied to the client’s financial situation.
  • Agencies must disclose their fees and fee waiver/reduction policies to clients before counseling begins.
  • A fee of less than or equal to $50 is presumed reasonable. Fees exceeding $50 must be justified based on the agency’s costs and other factors.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Debt Repayment Plans (DRPs) or Debt Management Plans (DMPs)

You might be interested in entering into a DRP or DMP through a credit counseling agency:

  • Credit counseling agencies can refer clients to another approved agency that offers DRPs.
  • Agencies can use a third party to assist in DRP administration, but the third party must meet specific requirements.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Certificates (Again)

Certificates play a crucial role in the credit counseling process:

  • Agencies can charge a separate fee for issuing the credit counseling certificate, but all fees must be disclosed in advance.
  • Certificates must be issued to clients only after they have completed the counseling session. Advance issuance is not permitted.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Certificate Generation System (CGS) – Printing Issues

If you encounter issues related to printing or issuing certificates through the Certificate Generation System, there are specific procedures to follow. Lost certificates should be reprinted, and certificates containing errors should be canceled and reissued.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: CGS – Password Issues

If you experience password issues in the Certificate Generation System, the agency’s CGS administrator can reset passwords for users.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Activity Report Issues

Finally, credit counseling agencies must maintain records for a minimum of two years and submit activity reports to the USTP regularly.

If you have any further questions or need assistance with the credit counseling process, please contact the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Help Line at (202) 514-4100.

Bankruptcy Credit Counseling: Additional Resources

To get step-by-step guidance on the bankruptcy process, you can refer to the United States Courts website here. Additionally, you can download the necessary forms for bankruptcy proceedings from the Wisconsin Court System’s website here.

Contact Dahlberg Law Group for Expert Assistance

Navigating the bankruptcy process can be complex, and having the right legal guidance is essential. If you’re considering bankruptcy and need assistance, we recommend contacting the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Dahlberg Law Group, including Attorney Steven Eichstaedt. They can provide you with the necessary advice and support to help you through the process successfully. You can reach them at Dahlberg Law Group.

Please note that this guide provides general information and is not a substitute for legal advice. Consult with an attorney or credit counseling agency for specific guidance on your bankruptcy case.

We hope this comprehensive guide on credit counseling for bankruptcy in Wisconsin has been helpful to you. If you have further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the appropriate authorities or seek legal advice.