Do I have to get credit counseling if I file bankruptcy?

There's a simple answer: yes. When Congress revised bankruptcy laws in 2005, they decided that everyone had to take a credit counseling class before they could file bankruptcy. If you don't take the class, the court dismisses your case.  What that means now is that before you file, you take a class online, in person, or over the phone. It takes about an hour, and at the end you get a certificate saying you've completed it. There aren't any tests; it's supposed to be educational.  The least expensive options start at about $8.  

It's frustrating, but everyone takes the same class no matter why you're having trouble with debts. Doesn't matter if you got sick and have medical bills or if you were in a car accident and got sued by the other driver. The law says you need the same "counseling" as someone who is struggling with credit card debt.  The bottom line is that it may not be the smartest requirement, but it is a requirement.