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Orlando Bankruptcy Law Blog

Why women may benefit from Chapter 13 bankruptcy after divorce

Debt can be problematic at any point in life, but it might be especially troublesome during periods of change. Divorce is just one example of this. Women in Florida might be particularly at risk for developing problems with debt after divorce. The factors that complicate women's financial problems after divorce are often out of their control, but forms of debt relief like Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help.

Couples must divide up their debt during divorce. But what happens if a woman's ex-husband is responsible for repaying a joint debt, but ends up not doing so? Creditors can still come after the woman for repayment even if the divorce decree says she is not responsible. The sudden addition of an unexpected debt plus things like interest and penalties can make it impossible to keep up with not just bills, but also the regular costs of living like groceries and rent.

Do millennials need debt relief more than their parents?

The average person in Florida might be hard-pressed to find a news article that shines a positive light on the millennial generation. Frequently maligned for supposedly taking down the napkin and chain restaurant industries, articles often shine a light on the difficult financial situation that many millennials find themselves in. While it might be true that some of the young adults in this generation are in need of debt relief, many are doing just fine.

Millennials now range in age from late 20s to their 30s, and their spending habits reflect their age. That is not necessarily a bad thing, though. According to an expert in personal finance with NerdWallet, millennials are on track to be in the same financial position as baby boomers in a few decades. This seems to contradict what many people love to believe about millennials, which is that they are irresponsible with their finances.

Should I let my investment property go into foreclosure?

Maintaining an investment property in Florida can be an effective way to create an additional source of income. However, you may not have been able to predict changes in the market and growing costs to maintain your second or even third property. Despite doing your best to keep up with these expenses on top of the property's mortgage, you might have still found yourself facing foreclosure. This can be a difficult experience, but it is not impossible to come out on the other side with a satisfactory solution.

If the property is not your primary residence, you might be tempted to simply let the property fall into foreclosure. But ignoring a problem does not make it disappear. Your name will remain on the property's title until the final foreclosure hearing, when the bank finally assumes title. Any association dues, code violation fines, management fees and more will still be your responsibility.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can address medical debt

Getting sick can be a stressful experience. From dealing with doctors, potential hospitalizations and medications, most patients in Florida just want to get through the treatment phase and focus on their recovery. Unfortunately, that process comes at a cost, and many people are hit with large and even unexpected medical bills. The problem is so severe that some people have to borrow large amounts of money or even file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A survey from West Health-Gallup discovered that one out of every eight patients in America borrowed money to pay a medical bill over the past 12 months. Another 25% reported that they had to make significant changes to their spending habits just to afford their health care treatments. While some might assume that these figures only apply to low-income or uninsured patients, virtually anyone can be affected by an overwhelming medical bill. Even among high-income individuals -- specifically those earning $180,000 per year or more -- 33% worry that a single medical problem could derail their finances.

Should you cosign someone else's loan?

Cosigning a loan may not seem like a big deal. You are just using your good credit to help a friend or family member, so he or she can qualify for a loan. Maybe the loan is for a car, house or to pay for school.

While it is true, you are using your credit to help this loved one qualify for a loan, it is also true you are guaranteeing your loved one will continue paying this loan. If he or she does not, you will be held responsible for paying the loan.

What role does a judge play in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

When a person in Florida realizes that he or she can no longer make ends meet, it might be time to consider options under bankruptcy. Seeking debt relief through Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be effective, but many people are still unsure of how the process works. Here are a few things that can help people have a better understanding of the bankruptcy process.

Most legal matters are dealt with in either criminal or civil court. However, bankruptcy is different in that it has its own system of dedicated courts throughout the federal judicial system. There is at least one bankruptcy court in each state, although some have more. Bankruptcy judges who preside in these courts do not deal with civil or criminal matters and instead issue rulings on bankruptcy cases. These judges also sort out issues with eligibility and whether a filer's debt should be discharged.

Florida residents took on significant credit card debt in 2018

Staying out of debt might seem easy in theory, but it is often difficult in practice. There often seems to be no end to unexpected bills or expenses, from medical bills to car repairs and much, much more. As credit card debt grows, Florida consumers might find that they are unable to keep up with all of their monthly payments, which can put them into difficult situations where they might have to choose between which bills to pay and which to put off. Pursuing bankruptcy can help people address these types of financial concerns.

American consumers spent more on credit than ever before in 2018. By the fourth quarter of that year, consumer debt had reached $13.3 trillion. However, not all consumers are adding debt at the same rate, as residents of some states end up spending more than others. Florida residents are taking on more debt than residents in many other states.

Interest makes it difficult to overcome credit card debt

Credit cards have a lot of benefits. They can help consumers manage large purchases or bridge the gap between paychecks. Many cards offer even offer rewards, such as redeemable award points, cash back or airline points. The news is not all good, though, as interest rates can cause credit card debt to quickly spiral out of control.

Some Florida consumers might already know that credit card debt recently hit $1 trillion. This news by itself might not be entirely negative, especially since experts believe that Americans are confident in the economy and willing to borrow more. About 66 percent of people in America believe the economy is in generally good shape, which is a 17 percent increase from 2009. While this might be a positive for the economy, some people might be inadvertently taking on more than they can handle.

Grand jury indicts 11 in home foreclosure scheme

Buying a home is a mark of adulthood and accomplishment in Florida. People often spend years establishing their careers, getting financially secure and saving up money before making the move to homeownership. When these homeowners fall on hard times and are faced with home foreclosure, it can be easy to be fooled by those looking to make money off of another's misfortune.

Investigators say that multiple alleged schemes targeting homeowners near or already in foreclosure prompted  a federal grand jury to indict 11 people across various states. Those charged are accused of offering to negotiate with lenders or to buy mortgages at a discounted price. The organizations running these schemes charged a fee for these services, which were supposed to help homeowners trying to avoid losing their homes. Prosecutors say they never actually performed any of those functions.

Consumers think they handle credit card debt well, but do they?

Balancing debt in today's social climate can be an overwhelming task. Despite this, the majority of consumers in Florida and across the rest of the United States feel like they manage their personal finances better than the government handles its budget. While this might seem like an unimportant idea, it could be contributing to how some people take on additional credit card debt.

WalletHub conducted a national survey about credit cards and determined that 90 percent of people in America say they are better at managing money than the federal government. Despite this, WalletHub's 2019 Debt Survey discovered that 156 million people in America routinely take on debt for otherwise frivolous purchases. With credit card debt predicted to increase by another $60 billion in 2019, some consumers might not be as proficient at debt management as they think.

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