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West Palm Beach Law Blog

Is combining credit card debt a good idea?

Have you ever been forced to pay a late fee on a credit card not because you were unable to make the minimum payment, but because you simply forgot to pay it by the due date? If so, you are not alone. Many people struggle with paying their bills on time, and while this may happen because of a lack of funds, it, too, may result simply from having too many things going on in your head at a given time.

Debt consolidation is designed to allow you to pay off your financial obligations by combining multiple debts into one, single amount. While consolidating your credit card debt can be a useful method of getting your finances back in manageable order, there are some situations in which doing so may cause more harm than good. You may want to think twice before combining your credit card debt if you:

Is combining credit card debt a good idea?

Have you ever been forced to pay a late fee on a credit card not because you were unable to make the minimum payment, but because you simply forgot to pay it by the due date? If so, you are not alone. Many people struggle with paying their bills on time, and while this may happen because of a lack of funds, it, too, may result simply from having too many things going on in your head at a given time.

Debt consolidation is designed to allow you to pay off your financial obligations by combining multiple debts into one, single amount. While consolidating your credit card debt can be a useful method of getting your finances back in manageable order, there are some situations in which doing so may cause more harm than good. You may want to think twice before combining your credit card debt if you:

What bankruptcy can and can't do for you

Whatever you think of bankruptcy, you might have a few of the details wrong. It's understandable. We don't tend to give it a lot of thought until the day it matters very much to us. Bankruptcy can be scary because we often don't know someone who's been through the process. Relying on friends for advice won't help, especially if we're too embarrassed to ask.

Here's a fact: bankruptcy is more common than you'd think. There's no reason to be ashamed. It's a financial tool that exists to help people. It's a serious decision, but it's not a personal failing.

How to manage mounting medical debt

Many people in Florida are struggling to pay their medical bills. Health care costs are increasing faster than wages, and the unemployed have little to no income to spare. Millions of people resort to filing for bankruptcy just to get the collection calls and bills to stop. In an effort to save money, many people are putting themselves at risk of more health problems by forgoing their medical treatments and medications. If you find yourself losing sleep at night because of your financial situation, there are some steps you can take to lower your medical debt or eliminate it completely.

What is lien stripping?

Homeowners in Florida who are living with the constant threat of foreclosure looming over their heads are struggling to keep themselves afloat financially. Changes in income and employment and mounting debts can lead to feelings of despair. If you have already fallen behind on your second mortgage payments, you may be able to prevent your lender from foreclosing on your home with bankruptcy by filing to have the lien stripped.

Lien stripping is a protection offered through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It provides you the opportunity to get certain types of debts like second mortgages and equity lines of credit removed. These debts are converted from secured to unsecured so they can become dischargeable in bankruptcy. Once a lien is stripped, it becomes a nonpriority unsecured debt. After you emerge from bankruptcy, you may no longer have to repay the lender or creditor. There are stipulations in place that can affect your eligibility for this type of relief.

What can I do if I am sued by a creditor?

Many people in Florida are experiencing financial difficulty and are being sued by their creditors. As tempting as it may be for you to ignore all correspondence from them, a lawsuit is one form of communication you should never ignore. Knowing what to do if you are being sued by a creditor can keep you from making your financial situation more complicated.

How the HOA can foreclose on your home

Whether you love having a Homeowner's Association or hate it, you will probably find yourself living in a neighborhood that is subject to dues and restrictions at some point in your life. Floridians are likely to experience this more often than residents of any other state, according to HudUser.gov. As more and more homeowners in Florida have chosen to accept the terms of an HOA in exchange for services such as yard maintenance, lawn trimming and leaf removal, and community benefits including pools, playgrounds, events and clubhouses, an increasing number of neighborhoods have moved to an association-managed community. New construction has seen the biggest influx, with over 60 percent of all recently built neighborhoods featuring an HOA. While this may seem like a positive move to some, many people do not realize that an HOA can actually lead homeowners to foreclosure.

What to expect at a Chapter 13 bankruptcy meeting with creditors

If you have chosen to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida, part of the process is meeting with your creditors, which is called a 341 meeting. The purpose of the meeting is for your bankruptcy trustee and creditors to review your payment plan and financial standing. Knowing what to expect at the meeting can help you better prepare for it. A Florida bankruptcy lawyer can assist you through the entire process of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, including the meeting, to ensure everything goes as smoothly and fairly as possible.

Medical debt is often a reason for bankruptcy

Many people find themselves forced to seek the protection of bankruptcy because of medical debt. Skyrocketing medical costs, slow-to-rise wages and an influx of other bills can make it challenging for some people to keep up with such expenses. Medical bills are not like other types of debt, such as credit cards, mortgages and student loans, which are predictable and planned-for expenses. Medical issues often occurs when least expected. In some cases, they are unavoidable. Illnesses and health emergencies often leave many people financially crippled.

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