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December 2016 Archives

Using Chapter 13 bankruptcy to save homes

While Florida has largely emerged from the mortgage crisis of the mid-2000s, some people remain in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. If you are behind on your mortgage and are worried about foreclosure, it is possible for you to be able to prevent it from happening through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Student loans can have top priority in Chapter 13 plan

Many Florida residents have a large portion of their total debt load in the form of student loans. These obligations are usually not able to be discharged in a bankruptcy, so Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans may in some cases call for them to be paid off first. The decision to prevent the discharge of student loan debt was made by Congress, and the rule can be found in Section 523(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code.

Requirements for bankruptcy hardship discharge

A bankruptcy can be a difficult and stressful financial situation for any Florida resident. While a Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates a plan for the repayment of debt using future income, sometimes unexpected events occur that make the plan impossible to complete. In this case, the debtor can file for a discharge of the debt under a claim of hardship. The law has a few requirements that must be made in order for that to happen.

Getting a mortgage while in credit counseling

Credit counseling is a service that can help consumers sort out their money management issues. There are non-profit credit counselors who can show them how to make and adhere to a financial budget, reduce or eliminate their debt and save money for the future. Florida residents who are considering the process may be wondering if it is possible to be approved for a mortgage.

How debt affects Americans after Fed rate hike

Florida residents who have less than $132,500 in household debt including mortgages have a debt burden below the national average according to a report by NerdWallet. Paying off existing debts may become harder thanks to an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. This was just the second such increase since rates were cut to essentially zero in 2008.

Trump Hires Foreclosure Happy Treasury Secretary

The end of the year is upon us. While folks will gather to celebrate the holidays, it's also time to take stock to see how the year went. The major news of 2016 for many is that Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. He rode to a win on the strength of an overwhelming anger and frustration directed in a lot of different directions, but most notably the political world of Washington, DC and banking.

Court cracks down on repeat bankruptcy filings

For Florida residents who are struggling with debt, bankruptcy is an option. While it is a serious step with major consequences, for some people it is the only way of effectively managing overwhelming debt. Ideally, debtors will take advantage of the protections offered by bankruptcy to better organize their finances and move forward toward financial health.

Handling debt collectors in Florida around the holidays

When people in Florida owe old debts, they may be targeted by aggressive debt collectors. Debt collectors must follow the guidelines of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, including not calling at times that are inconvenient. Inconvenient times include calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. There is no specific prohibition against debt collectors calling on the holidays, however.

The average household has more credit card debt in 2016

Families in Florida who feel like their finances are worse off each year are not alone. A NerdWallet report shows that U.S. households are holding an increasing amount of debt, and income growth is not keeping pace with the cost of living. This year, the average U.S. household has $16,061 in debt, nearly the same amount of debt that Americans owed at the beginning of the Great Recession.

The lasting impact of unpaid medical debt

You never know when a sudden injury can send you to the hospital. When an accident does happen many people do not have insurance. On the other hand even those who do plan with health insurance could be brought to a hospital out of their network. Either way medical bills will start flooding in for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dealing with overwhelming medical debt in Florida

Many people who have large medical bills find themselves unable to pay them. Even if someone has insurance and a high-paying job, medical bills can still pile up. Individuals may have to meet a very high deductible before their insurance kicks in, and insurance does not always pay for 100 percent of the medical bills. Additionally, some insurance plans have caps on what they will pay out each year.

How tax debt is handled in bankruptcy

Florida residents who file for bankruptcy may have some of their tax debt discharged. This outcome is far more likely for those who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the tax debt must be at least three years old. While income taxes may be discharged, payroll taxes as well as penalties for fraud must still be paid. However, penalties on tax debts that are discharged are eligible to be discharged as well.

How the CARD act impacts consumer lending

The Credit CARD Act was passed in 2009 in response to allegations of consumer abuse within the credit card industry. It was designed to provide greater protections to those who used credit cards or are applying for one in Florida or anywhere else in America. Specifically, the legislation said that banks were not allowed to raise interest rates within one year of a new account being opened with a few exceptions.

Defending a student loan default

When a borrower of a student loan falls behind on the payments and remains delinquent for a period of nine months, the student loan enters default. Because the Department of Education can then take steps to collect the debt, borrowers in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere across the country who are facing the consequences of a student loan default may be interested in knowing how the situation might best be navigated moving forward.

The truth about debt negotiation

Debt negotiation companies offer help to people in Florida who are having trouble getting out of debt. While these companies can often help debtors to negotiate settlements with their creditors, there are downsides to using debt negotiation as a solution to debt problems. One of the downsides to debt negotiation is that the process usually cannot begin until the debtor is delinquent on their bills.

Holiday shopping and credit card mistakes

Many people in Florida use credit cards to pay for holiday shopping. When a person has a big family to buy presents for, it can be tempting to use credit cards to pay for expensive gifts. However, credit cards can be dangerous around the holidays, especially for people who don't make a lot of money or don't live on a strict budget.

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