Once you have determined that you cannot get out from under your mountain of debt by making monthly payments, you may be looking forward to the relief of bankruptcy to restore your financial equilibrium. Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Oregon is a process, though, and one of the first steps you must take, before you file, is the completion of a credit counseling course.

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, any organization that wants to provide this credit counseling program must be approved. All of those that you may choose are listed online through the U.S. Department of Justice, or you can view the list by checking with your district’s bankruptcy clerk’s office. Inclusion on the list is not the only factor you should consider, though.

You will want to find out the qualifications of the people who are going to provide you with the counseling. For example, you may want to ask about their certifications and accreditation, and what training they have taken. You may also want to know whether the services they offer include assistance with a plan that will help you avoid repeating the behaviors that led to your current financial problems. How they protect the confidentiality of your private information is also important.

The cost of the programs may vary significantly, particularly if they offer services besides the basic required counseling. It may be helpful to ask if the organization pays its employees on commission, which would give them the incentive to encourage you to sign up for services that would not actually benefit you. This information about credit counseling services is for educational purposes, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.