The Personal Financial Management course is the latter of the two required courses you have to take when filing for bankruptcy. Pursuant to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), consumers who have filed a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy are required to complete a Personal Financial Management course with an approved counseling agency. The course certificate is filed along with Form 423.
The purpose of the course is to offer you guidance regarding budgeting and money management. This course is taken after you file the bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 case, it is due within 60 days after the first date set for the 341 Meeting of the Creditors. In a Chapter 13 case, it is due no later than the last plan payment made by the debtor per the bankruptcy plan or the filing of a motion for hardship discharge.
The Personal Financial Management course is a requirement except under very rare exceptions. The first exception is if you live in a district where there are no courses available. This is the rarest of circumstances. The second exception is if you are on active duty in a military combat zone. The third exception is if you have a disability or incapacity that prevents you from taking the course. If you fail to complete this course without a reason, you will not receive a discharge in your bankruptcy. If your case was closed, you will have to reopen your case to get the certificate filed.
You must take the Personal Financial Management course from an approved credit counseling agency. The cost for the course typically ranges from $14.95 up to $50.00. Generally, there will be no extra fee for a joint debtor spouse. The course should only last about one hour. It is usually a good idea for you to meet with an attorney before you take the Personal Financial Management course. An attorney can provide legal advice on what your financial options are, and provide you with a list of approved counseling agencies.