Wanting to file for bankruptcy in efforts to handle your outstanding debt is a major step to take. While you may have first wanted to handle your financial issues on your own, you likely came to realize that they were too overwhelming for small actions.

Of course, bankruptcy is not a simple process in which you file a form and have your debts discharged. The steps involved and the outcomes could depend on the type of bankruptcy you qualify for and the types of debt you have. Plus, before you can move forward with bankruptcy, you will need to go through credit counseling.

What is credit counseling?

Credit counseling can help you understand the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy. Before you file your petition, the court requires that you complete pre-filing counseling. During this time, in addition to better understanding bankruptcy, you will also learn about debt relief alternatives that could help you rather than filing for bankruptcy. Of course, if you have reached a point at which you feel immensely overwhelmed by your debt, alternatives may not be useful.

After you complete your pre-filing counseling, you will receive a certificate of completion. You will need to have this document when you file your bankruptcy petition with the court, and the certificate is only valid for 180 days, meaning that you would need to file your petition within that time period.

Another counseling session

When you near the end of your bankruptcy case and your debts are close to discharge, you will need to attend pre-discharge counseling. During this time, you will gain information on managing your finances and on helping you become more financially literate overall. The main goal of pre-discharge counseling is to help you and others gain the information you need to avoid landing in a difficult financial spot in the future.

How do you get started?

If you are serious about bankruptcy, you do not need to just jump into credit counseling. You may first want to discuss your situation with a Wisconsin attorney who could help you better understand bankruptcy, the importance of credit counseling and which type of bankruptcy may suit your case. Having this advocate on your side may allow you to feel more confident in completing every step necessary to reach a more stable financial future.