This new credit counseling requirement was widely panned by critics of the new law for many reasons, not the least of which was the presence of doubt regarding its overall utility. Practically speaking, there are many debtors who file for bankruptcy protection because they simply have no means of ever digging out from under their debts either because their liabilities are too high in amounts or because they did not generate enough income to ever realistically pay their existing debts. However, this requirement remained in place regardless of the actual situation in which debtors found themselves, meaning that many went through this process with no hope of avoiding the need for help from the Bankruptcy Court.
In effect, this requirement only slowed the process of allowing the debtor to file his or her petitions, which in the process provided more time for creditors to pursue collection efforts that were generally a motivating factor for debtors to file in the first place. These collection efforts included letters, constant phone calls and even the pursuit of legal remedies that all took place before the Bankruptcy Court ever got involved.
In addition to the pre-filing credit counseling requirement, debtors were also now required to complete a post-filing course on personal financial management before the court could grant the debtor the discharge of the debts that led to the filing. While many saw more potential benefits for the debtor in learning some basic financial management skills, this process also extended the period that the bankruptcy case remained open and pending.