Pre-Filing Bankruptcy Counseling
Prior to filing for personal bankruptcy, individuals are required to
complete a pre-filing bankruptcy counseling session. This provision
of federal bankruptcy law ensures that individuals understand all
of their options and that they have the necessary knowledge and tools
to develop a sound financial plan for the future.
American Financial Solutions (AFS) is approved* by the Executive Office
of the United States Trustees (EOUST) to provide the required pre-filing
counseling and issue certificates in all judicial districts in the states listed
on the right side of your screen.
There are two ways to receive counseling:
On Line: Complete your counseling on line. Sign Up Below (The fee for on line counseling is $30)
By Phone: Call 800-894-7240 and speak with one of our certified counselors who will conduct an in depth counseling session. This session will take about an hour and you will receive your certificate upon completion of the session. (The fee for telephone counseling is $50)
What you will gain from this session:
- A determination of your net income and expenses for an average month.
- Ways to balance your expenses against your income.
A personalized action plan to provide you with information on:
- Ways to increase your income and/or cut back on expenses.
- Helpful money management strategies.
- Possible options for dealing with your debt.
Your counselor will provide you with a broad overview of the federal bankruptcy law; however, counselors may not offer you legal advice. The key purpose of bankruptcy counseling is to develop a picture of your current financial situation. This will give you the knowledge you need to determine if there are options other than bankruptcy to eliminate your debts in a reasonable time period while maintaining a balanced budget. This counseling will also get you started on building a financial plan for your future.
Bankruptcy Certificates will be issued:
- Within one business day of the counseling session
- The required certificate of completion will be sent to you by e-mail, fax or mail.
What is the Cost for the Counseling Session?
- $30 if you use the Agency's Online Bankruptcy Counseling module.
- $50 if you wish to have a Telephone or In-Person counseling session
- A debit card or money order is the only acceptable form of payment. Personal checks and credit cards are not accepted
- If you are a married couple filing a joint bankruptcy, each of you must complete the required bankruptcy counseling session in its entirety. There are no additional charges for a married couple if both parties participate in the same counseling session. If you choose to complete the counseling in separate sessions, each person is charged individually.
- In limited circumstances, you may be eligible to have this fee waived if you meet certain income guidelines. If you believe you may qualify to have the fee waived, contact us toll-free at 1-800-894-7240. Counseling is offered regardless of the participant's ability to pay.
Pre-Petition Credit Counseling and Budget Analysis Disclosure Statement
American Financial Solutions (AFS) is a nonprofit credit counseling agency dedicated to helping people achieve a secure financial future through education, counseling and debt management plans that comply with regulatory requirements. These services are available to every member of the community without regard to race, religion, national origin, gender, social position, handicap, financial status, or ability to pay. All client information is held in strict confidence by AFS except as authorized to be released by the client or as otherwise required by law.
AFS might disclose client information to the United States Trustee in connection with the Trustee’s oversight of the agency, during investigations of complaints, during on-site visits, or during quality of service reviews.
The United States Trustee has reviewed only our counseling services and has neither reviewed nor approved any other services we provide to clients.
AFS receives the majority of its funding from:
- Fees paid by clients enrolled in debt management plans
- Fees by clients to cover the costs of other programs and services
- Payments from creditors that have clients enrolled in our debt management plans
AFS policy prohibits paying or receiving referral fees for the referral of clients to or by the agency.
All counselors are full-time employees of AFS. All AFS counselors are required to obtain certification through the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education within one year of employment, in compliance with the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies Code of Practice. Each counselor must complete 15 hours of continuing education every 24 months following certification. Only counselors who are certified are allowed to offer pre-bankruptcy counseling.
Impact on Credit Report
American Financial Solutions does not disclose or provide client information to any credit reporting agency. However, clients who enroll in a debt management plan must be aware that their creditors may report their participation in the plan to the credit reporting agencies and that this may negatively impact their credit reports and credit scores while they are on the program and for some time thereafter. Any alternatives discussed during the counseling service could have an effect on your credit report and credit score, which effect could be either positive or negative.
You have the right to negotiate an alternative payment schedule with regard to each unsecured consumer debt under terms as set forth in 11 U.S.C. 502(k).
Cost of Services
AFS charges a fee for pre-petition counseling and budget analysis and issuance of the certificate of compliance that is required to be filed with the bankruptcy court when filing a bankruptcy petition. The fee for this service is $50.00 for telephone or face to face counseling. The fee for on-line counseling is $30. The fee is due and payable at the time of the counseling service. If you are unable to pay the fee, the counseling will be provided free of charge. You are considered to be unable to pay if your household’s current income is less than 150% of the income of the official poverty line as identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services applicable to a household of the same size.
A certificate of compliance will be provided to you promptly upon the completion of counseling services. The certificate will be provided only if you complete counseling services.
Although a counselor may answer general questions about bankruptcy, AFS does not provide legal or tax advice. If legal or tax advice is needed, you should seek the appropriate assistance from an attorney or tax professional.
By clicking on the link below, I verify that I have read and understand the above disclosure.
Click here to proceed to Counseling in Motion, Bankruptcy Edition
*AFS is approved by the Executive Office of the Unites States Trustee to issue certificates in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code. Approval does not endorse or assure the quality of the Agency's services.