Once you decide to file bankruptcy in Arkansas, you will have quite a few things to get done before you file and during the actual process. Providing information about your finances is a large part of your responsibility, but you also have to meet the law’s requirements. This includes completing credit counseling.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, bankruptcy law dictates that you must take a credit counseling course before you file and a debtor education course before the court can discharge your case. If you fail to complete these requirements, the court will dismiss your petition, which can lead to issues for your financial situation.

The guidelines

You must take one of the courses before you file and another after you file. You cannot take them at the same time. Any course you take must have approval from the U.S. Trustee Program. You can easily find a list of approved courses online. You also have to take the first course no more than 180 days before you file your bankruptcy petition.

What to expect

In the pre-bankruptcy counseling course, you will go over your finances and have an evaluation of what exactly is going on with your financial health. You will also learn to create a budget plan and learn about bankruptcy alternatives. This course generally takes about 60 to 90 minutes. You can take a course by phone, in person or over the internet.

The post-bankruptcy education course covers budgeting, money management and proper credit use. You may take this in person, online or over the phone. It generally takes about two hours.

The court must receive copies of your completion certificates for each course. Certificates come from a central automated system to prevent fraud. Remember, these courses are a requirement to file bankruptcy. If you fail to complete them, you cannot get a discharge in your case.