While debtors are not required to participate in a debt management or repayment program, they are required to consult with an approved credit counseling agency as to their available options before filing bankruptcy. The consultation can be done by phone, over the Internet or in person.
The counseling agency must provide the debtor with a certificate acknowledging that he completed such pre-bankruptcy counseling. The certificate must be filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court when the debtor files bankruptcy or within 14 days thereafter.
A pre-bankruptcy counseling certificate can be obtained online in 1 hour for $14.95 at www.summitfe.org or from any other approved counseling agency.