BANKRUPTCY QUESTION FROM BRANDON, FLORIDA
Jose Pasquini from Brandon, Florida, asks, Do I need a Credit Counseling Certificate in order to file Bankruptcy. Thank you, Jose Pasquini for your question.
Section 109 of the Bankruptcy Code defines who may be a Debtor in Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Code Section 109 states that a Debtor may be a person that resides or has a domicile in the District, a place of Business, Property in the United States, or a Municipality. Section 109 therefore, states that there are four types of Debtors eligible to file Bankruptcy.
Section 109(h) of the Bankruptcy Code states that the Credit Counseling Certificate must be obtained by the Debtor less than 180 days before filing Bankruptcy. The Credit Counseling Certificate must be obtained by every Individual in order to file Bankruptcy. There are certain Exceptions where the Individual does not need the Credit Counseling Certificate in order to file Bankruptcy:
- The US Trustee or the Bankruptcy Administrator in the District determines that such Services are not reasonably able to provide adequate Credit Counseling Services. This Exception is probably rarely if ever, adopted, due to the ability of the Debtor to obtain the Credit Counseling Certificate either through the Internet or by having a Telephone Interview with the Credit Counseling Agencies;
- Exigent Circumstances prevented the Debtor from obtaining the Credit Counseling Certificate before filing Bankruptcy. In this event, the Debtor must submit to the Bankruptcy Court a Certificate stating that the Exigent, or emergency circumstances, are present. One example of Exigent Circumstances may be present where the Debtor has a Foreclosure Sale Date looming on his or her Homestead, and needs to file Bankruptcy quickly in order to stop the Foreclosure Sale;
- The Debtor is not an Individual. Section 109 of the Bankruptcy Code defines who may be a Debtor in Bankruptcy. A Municipality or a Corporation may be deemed not to be an Individual and therefore, exempt from the Credit Counseling Certificate Requirement;
- The Debtor was not able to obtain the Credit Counseling Certificate from an Approved Credit Counseling Agency. In the unlikely event that the Debtor is unable to obtain the Credit Counseling Certificate, the Debtor may still file Bankruptcy. The Debtor, however, may have to confront questions from the United States Trustee and possibly, the Bankruptcy Judge, as to why he or she was unable to obtain the Credit Counseling Certificate.
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