Consumers filing bankruptcy cases need to take two courses before they can get a discharge. Lately the price of these courses, which are given by various “non-profit” firms has been dropping; so long as the quality of customer service stays the same (or at least is tolerable), the consumer debtor benefits.
A little while ago I mentioned a firm that offered the “first course” (which is actually more of a counseling session than a class), for $5.
This session must actually be taken by debtors before they can even file a bankruptcy case. Even though the session is sponsored by a California group, the certificates of completion they issue are recognized by the bankruptcy courts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Here is the second part of the equation — a firm that offers the “second course” for $11.
The second course really is more like a school course (except you can’t really fail). It is variously called “debtor education” or “financial management.” It is for all practical purposes, what high schools used to call “home economics” — how to manage a household budget. Completion is required before you can get a discharge. (You want a discharge, it’s the end goal of bankruptcy, like a touchdown in football).
The ability to complete these courses (required by the punitive 2005 Bankruptcy Code changes) for a modest price can be a godsend to struggling debtors.
By Doug Beaton