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You have credit card debt, and much like others in your situation, it's a growing concern. You know that having debt isn't good, and you want to pay it off. It's a substantial amount, though, and you're not sure you can get ahead on your payments.

The good news is that there are options for getting rid of your debts. They include settling your debt, going through bankruptcy or consolidating your debt. In the case of settlements, there are a few things to keep in mind before you agree to do so.

Settlements aren't guaranteed

If you call a credit company wanting to settle, you'll need to show why you have to. Lenders won't settle for just any reason. It's pertinent that you show you're in a difficult spot financially.

You shouldn't usually pay to settle your debts

When you contact a debt-settlement company, you might end up paying back more than if you'd settled on your own. Remember, you can negotiate directly with your lenders. If you don't want to negotiate directly, consider allowing your attorney to do so. You'll know exactly what your attorney's fees are, so you're not blindsided by fees, restrictions or other losses as a result of working with a less-than-straightforward debt-settlement company.

Debt settlement still hurts your credit

Yes, debt settlement still hurts credit scores. If you settle your debt for less than you owe, the company may mark that the debt was settled but not in full. This could impact your credit score negatively.

Your attorney can speak with you about other options than settlement if you want to protect your credit. Whether you want to consolidate or need a bankruptcy, there's help for you.

Source: Creditcards.com, "8 myths about settling credit card debt," Sally Herigstad and Karen Haywood Queen, accessed Feb. 07, 2018

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When you have to seek medical care, you might not automatically think about the financial aspects of getting that help. When the bills start rolling in, you might find that the amount you have to pay is overwhelming. If you are unable to pay it all right away, you might soon be confronted by medical debt collectors.

One thing that you might notice is that you are offered multiple ways to get the debt paid off. This isn't done accidentally. People who owe medical debts have reported that they are more likely to try to get the bills paid off if they have multiple ways to consider paying the bill. If you aren't offered ways to pay, you might consider asking the person who contacts you what kinds of options you might have.

Another thing to know is that consolidated billing is a way that debt collectors might try to help you. If this is used in your case, find out what it means for you. Some places might offer discounts for consolidated billing. This could mean that you can pay the debt off faster than if you tried to pay everything individually.

You also need to know is that you have the right to know exactly what you are paying for. Remember that hospitals and doctors often bill out separately, so determine what your payments are going toward.

If you find that you can't pay these bills despite payment options and payment plans that are offered, you might need to consider filing for bankruptcy. This can help you get financial relief and might help you get a fresh start.

Source: Budco Financial, "Managing Medical Debt: Four Strategies to Help Patients Pay and Providers Collect," accessed Feb. 07, 2018

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Many people will head out to parties this weekend. Many of these parties will have adult beverages offered. If you plan to partake in spirits or beer, make sure that you have a way to get home afterwards. If you don't have plans or if your ride didn't work out as intended, you might decide that you need to drive yourself home. This shouldn't happen at all, but if it does you need to make sure that there isn't any other option for you to get home.

There is a fairly good chance that you will end up in jail if you try to drive home drunk. This is because police officers around the county and state are going to be out actively watching for drunk drivers.

If you do get pulled over on your way home, make sure that you take a moment to compose yourself. You need to be able to think about what your rights are and the appropriate ways to assert those rights. You don't need to do anything that will result in you having to deal with more than just a basic drunk driving charge.

We realize that you probably never thought that you would be in this position. We understand that and will help you to work through the case to determine what options you have. We want to make sure that your rights are respected and that you understand what is going on.

While we are working with you, it is important that you make the decisions about what you want to happen. You are the one who is in charge here. We are only here to help you execute your defense and help you plan.

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Credit debts have hit an all-time high in America, so it's important that you have your own plan for getting out of debt. The average American has debts of around $6,375 on credit cards, which is around 3 percent higher than in 2016. Interestingly, despite the rise in overall debt, Americans have higher credit scores to go along with those debts today.

Experian's annual study reports that the total credit debt in America has risen to over $1 trillion. The average person's credit score is now 675, which is being reported as the highest average score since the Great Recession. Scores generally range from 301 to 850.

Why is spending going up?

Fortunately, people are finding that their economic positions are improving. With more money to spend, they're more comfortable with spending and managing new debts. This means some take out credit cards or spend beyond their means with the intention of paying back the debts over time.

Although it's tempting to buy more than you can afford, it's always important to have a plan for your credit card debts. Try to make purchases that you can pay off at the end of the month, and if you do put more on the card, make a plan for paying it off early, so you can save yourself the interest. Figure out what you owe and begin to pay down debts when they climb; no one should feel that they have to make a choice between necessities and paying their credit card bills.

If you do find that you're in over your head, remember that there are options for getting out of debt. Negotiating or considering bankruptcy may help you.

Source: CNBC, "Credit card debt hits a record high. It's time to make a payoff plan," Jessica Dickler, Jan. 23, 2018

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Taking the step to file for bankruptcy is a big one for many people. Before you file the petition for bankruptcy protection, you need to understand a few of the limitations you will face, as well as the scope of protections. You might be surprised at some of these points.

One thing to remember is that the bankruptcy only applies to the parties that file for protection. If you and your spouse are the sole account owners and file together, both of you will have the protection if the petition is successful. If you have an account with someone else and he or she isn't filing for bankruptcy, the debt can be discharged for you but not for the other person.

Another thing to know is that a bankruptcy isn't going to discharge all of your debts. Some accounts, such as a mortgage, isn't discharged in the bankruptcy. Instead, you can work out terms with your lender to be able to keep your home, but you will still be required to make payments on the mortgage.

You should also know that creditors won't be able to contact you to collect debts that are included in the bankruptcy. The automatic stay is something that happens automatically with the filing so you can count on being able to live in peace at least when it comes to collection attempts.

There is a chance that you won't be able to keep all of your personal property. Some property is exempted from the bankruptcy proceedings. Anything that isn't exempted might be claimed by the bankruptcy trustee. These assets would be liquidated to help pay off some of your debts.

Source: The Balance, "What Are the Consequences of Bankruptcy?," David Haynes, accessed Jan. 23, 2018

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When you have a criminal conviction, it can be hard to find a job. This is something that can greatly impact your life because you need a job to support yourself. People will tell you that you need to turn your life around so you don't face more criminal charges. What they don't realize is that you are facing what can seem like an impossible battle.

One thing to remember when you are searching for a job but have a criminal conviction on your record is that you might have to consider a job that you wouldn't have thought about before the conviction. There is a chance that having a solid work history might help you find a better job. It also gives you the chance to earn money to support yourself while you are trying to build that work history.

Another point to remember is that certain convictions might bar you from being able to do some lines of work. If you have a drug conviction, for example, you likely won't be able to work in a pharmacy. A person who was convicted of theft might not be offered a job working a cash register.

You also need to make sure that you are being honest about your criminal history. It might seem easier to be untruthful on your application or in an interview, but this could cost you a job. Employers might be willing to give you a chance if they see that you are being honest and truly want to turn your life around. It might help to review a company's policies about criminal records before you apply.

Source: Goodwill Industries, "Find a Job if You Have a Criminal Background," Brad Turner-Little, accessed Jan. 19, 2018

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Credit-card debt isn't always a bad thing, but when it gets out of control, it's hard to get your finances back in order. Credit cards have their place, and when the economy is good, people tend to use them more.

That may be why credit-card debt has hit its highest level since 2008 in America. According to a Jan. 9 report, revolving credit debt has reached $1.023 trillion, which is slightly more than it was in April 2008, prior to the recession.

The problem with credit-card debts isn't that people have them. Instead, the problem lies in being unable to pay them off. The number of delinquencies has increased along with the total debt in America from 7 percent to 7.5 percent between 2016 and 2017. Prior to the financial crisis, delinquencies had hit 15 percent, a sign of bad things to come.

What is good news is that the current U.S. economy is improving. People are finding jobs more easily, and incomes are increasing as well. While that's very positive for the time being, it could also pose a problem later if the economy again takes a dive.

Credit-card debt isn't for everyone. While credit has its benefits, it also puts your finances at risk. If you're struggling with debt, it's okay to seek a way out. Your financial stability is what's most important. There are options for paying down debt, including bankruptcy, consolidation loans and other options. With the right help, you can get your credit-card debt back under control and live with the financial freedom you deserve.

Source: Fortune, "Credit Card Debt Hits Highest Levels Since the 2008 Housing Crisis," Chris Morris, Jan. 9, 2018

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Medical debt is often unexpected, massive and very difficult to overcome. You can't plan when you are going to get sick or injured. This makes it hard to make sure that you can meet the financial obligations that come along with this occurrence. We know that you didn't try to get into this financial mess.

The thing about medical debt that you have to remember is that it can occur to anyone, even those who have medical insurance. The fees that are attached to some doctor appointments, hospital stays, procedures and medicine are far more than what an average person could pay. This makes it hard for the average person, and sometimes those who are in higher income brackets, to pay for these bills.

Many times, the medical provider will accept payments on the bills, but this can be close to impossible if you have more than one place that is billing you. Plus, the fees and interest that come with these payment plans might be ridiculous.

You do have another option. You might choose to file for bankruptcy to help you take care of the medical bills. This is an option for many people who simply can't afford these massive bills.

We are here to help you with every step of the process. From determining which chapter to file through getting the process taken care of, we will stand by your side to make sure you know your rights and are aware of your responsibilities. This might help you sleep better since you won't have to worry about these bills hanging over your head.

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Medical care is sometimes necessary, but in the absence of excellent insurance, it is a costly expense that can lead to financial devastation. If you are facing crippling medical bills, you aren't alone.

Coming up with a plan to handle medical debt is the first step to getting out of it. One of the first things that you need to do is to find out how much debt you have due to medical care you received. As you are going through bills, scrutinize them. Make sure that you are only being charged for services you received.

If you have insurance, double check the explanation of benefits with your medical coverage. Make sure that you aren't being charged for things that should have been covered by your insurer. If you see any discrepancies, contact the bill issuer immediately to get things corrected.

Try to make payment arrangements with the service provider. If you are able to pay in one lump sum, there is a chance that you can get a discount on the bill. For some people, this isn't going to be possible so you should find out what kinds of payment plan you can set up.

If you know that the medical bills are more than what your finances can handle, you can consider filing for bankruptcy. This will have an impact on your credit, but it can give you peace of mind since you won't have the debt looming over your head.

Knowing the differences in the types of bankruptcy chapters you might file can help you to determine which option is appropriate for your needs and circumstances. Once you decide this, you can take the necessary steps to find financial relief.

Source: The Balance, "Tactics to Deal With Medical Debt," LaToya Irby, accessed Jan. 04, 2018

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When you're in debt, it's one of the worst feelings in the world. You know you have to pay the money you've borrowed back, but depending on the situation, that might be a difficult task.

One thing you should know is that every state has a statute of limitations on how long a party can wait to collect a debt. For example, if you are loaned $1,000 and the company forgets to bill you for a significant number of years, it may no longer be able to collect that money from you legally.

The statute of limitations limits when creditors can pursue legal action against you. For instance, credit card debts must be pursued within five years for a company to be able to collect the debt. If you make a payment on the debt at any time, then the five-year period resets, giving the lender more time to file legal action against you.

Medical bills are slightly different. Medical providers have only 18 months to collect any past-due debts created before 1985. If the debt is from April 1985 onward, the statute of limitations extends to two years. If you choose to enter into a payment agreement, then the two-year period extends and resets each time you pay a partial payment on the debt.

All debts that result in a court judgment against you may be pursued for up to 10 years. The courts have the right to seek the funds through garnishing your wages or your bank account. If someone tries to collect from you after this time period, you can seek to have the debt dismissed and ask them to stop contacting you.

Source: Pocket Sense, "The Statute of Limitations on Arkansas Debt," Ciaran John, accessed Dec. 28, 2017

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