Articles Posted in Credit Cards

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marriage-150x150One thought that many people think about when getting married, is what their future spouse’s credit history is and their ability to obtain new debt. A correlating question is how will their future spouse’s credit history affect their own ability to obtain new debt. Why? Because they most likely, one day in the future, would like to know they have the option to purchase a new home, motor vehicle, or simply just obtain new debt. It can become much more concerning if your future spouse has filed bankruptcy within the last few years. How will their bankruptcy affect your ability to obtain new debt? Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors that can affect the answer to this question. So, regrettably, the answer is that it will depend.

Most importantly, it is crucial to make note that the fact alone that your future spouse filed bankruptcy, regardless of when, is absolutely immaterial to your individual credit report. Your credit report will not merge with your future spouse’s credit report simply because you got married. You both will maintain separate and apart credit reports. In other words, your individual credit report will remain the same as it was before getting married. However, by being married, your spouse may have to sign certain types of contracts. Continue reading →

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pastdue-150x150If you fall very far behind on your credit card payments, or any other kind of debt for that matter, your debt might appear as having been charged-off on your credit report. A charge-off occurs when you are at least 180 days behind on your credit card payments, and the bank decides that the debt is no longer collectible and decides to write it off as a loss. However, this does not mean you no longer owe the debt. You are still 100% responsible for the debt. But what do you do and what should you expect?

The debt will have to be repaid.

At first, you might think that it is a good thing that your debt has been charged-off and you might even think that you no longer owe the debt. Unfortunately, when your bank decides your account is uncollectible, that is simply an accounting term. It in no way affects your liability for the entire debt owed. However, there is one caveat. The bank can only collect on the debt until the statute of limitations expires. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a credit card debt is five years. Continue reading →

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tax-debt-forgivenessA civil judgment is obtained when you fail to pay a debt that you owe, such as a credit card debt, and the creditor/lender files a civil lawsuit against you in state court for a breach of contract. If you fail to respond to the lawsuit and/or do not have a valid defense, a civil judgment is entered against you. If it is a relatively small judgment amount and you do not have a lot of other debt, then it might be best to simply set up a payment plan to pay it off. However, if the judgment amount is large, is more than you can handle, or you have a lot of other debts, then you might want to consider bankruptcy in order to get a fresh start.

The good news is that bankruptcy will discharge the majority of civil judgments entered against you, but there are a few exceptions. It depends entirely on what the underlying debt was for and whether a lien has been placed on your real property. There are certain types of judgments that cannot be discharged with a bankruptcy.

The most common type of civil judgment is a judgment for unpaid debts, such as a credit card, medical bill, rent, repossession or personal loans, just to name a few. If your judgment is for a debt such as one of these, then it is most likely dischargeable through bankruptcy.

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The most common type of summons received after filing bankruptcy and obtaining a discharge is a foreclosure summons. When received, it can be very alarming. You filed bankruptcy, surrendered a home, and received a discharge. You moved out of the home and on with your life thinking you are no longer liable for the home. However, when you elected to surrender the home in your bankruptcy petition, this only took care of your financial responsibility regarding the home. The bankruptcy did nothing about the deed for the home being in your name. Therefore, the bank still has to foreclose on the property in order to get the property out of your name and to take legal possession of the property. When a foreclosure is purely to take legal possession of the home and not for any money damages, it is called an in rem foreclosure action. You do not have to answer the summons unless you believe you were incorrectly served or they are suing for money damages as well. The mortgage holder must serve you because you are an interested party due to your name being on the deed.

If the summons you received after bankruptcy is for a credit card or another kind of debt you believe was discharged in bankruptcy, then you need to respond to the summons stating that the subject debt was part of a bankruptcy. Before doing so, make sure the debt was properly listed on your bankruptcy schedules and it is a debt that can be discharged. If it was properly listed on your schedules and you received a discharge, then assert this in your response/answer to the summons. Once you show the debt was discharged, the action should be dismissed.

If you are unsure of what type of lawsuit you have been served with or whether the debt was properly included in your bankruptcy, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. A simple review of the summons, accompanying complaint, and your bankruptcy petition by an attorney can help you determine what action, if any, you need to take. Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC by calling (904) 685-1200 to speak with an attorney today.

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risinggraphOne concern that seems to be unanimous for almost all those who are thinking about filing bankruptcy is when and/or will they be able to use their credit again. Each person’s ability to use their credit after filing bankruptcy depends on their unique situation, but the passing of time seems to be the one undisputed determining factor of when credit can be used again.


Credit After a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

At first it will be hard to get credit, but it will not be impossible. It will be even harder to get credit with favorable terms since those with bad credit or no credit simply have to pay more in order to borrow money. This means higher annual fees and interest rates, but you will have majorly lowered your debt to income ratio and eliminated your ability to file another Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for the next 8 years. Both of which make you a more favorable borrower to creditors.

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Jacksonville Bankruptcy AttorneyMany Florida residents are under the impression that once they have filed for bankruptcy and their debts have been “discharged” they are no longer liable for those debts. This is not always the case as there are certain debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. This is especially important for people to know before they begin the process of filing for bankruptcy.

Each chapter of the bankruptcy code specifies which debts are dischargeable and which are not. Section 523(a) of the Bankruptcy Code lists the types of debts that generally cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. This means that even after the debtor has prevailed in bankruptcy court, if the debts have not been discharged, then the debtor is still responsible for paying those debts. According to the Code, these non-dischargeable debts are exempt from discharge for reasons of public policy.

If a debt falls into one of the exempted categories in Section 523(a), then it is usually automatically removed from the discharge and the debtor remains obligated to pay those debts. Most commonly, those are child support and alimony debts, some tax debts, debts that the debtor failed to disclose to the court during the application process, most federal student loan debt, personal injury claims against the debtor for DUI-related incidents and personal injury claims against the debtor for willful or malicious damage to a person or to property.

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Jacksonville Bankruptcy AttorneyMany times, when someone wants to make a large purchase, like a house or a car, they may need to have someone co-sign the loan with them. Simply put, a co-signer is someone who is making a promise to the creditor to repay a loan if the primary borrower cannot pay and defaults on the loan. We all know that if the primary borrower defaults (or files bankruptcy), the co-signer will be required to pay the loan back in its entirety. But what happens when it’s the co-signer who has filed for bankruptcy? How will that affect the primary borrower?

The best way to describe the situation is with an example. Picture this: Charlie is in the market for a new car, but can only qualify for a loan if he has a co-signer. His friend David agrees to be a co-signer on the land, but he will not be listed on the title as the owner of the car. Sometime later, David files for bankruptcy and is no longer required to pay the car loan. What happens to Charlie?

Charle, as the primary borrower, still has to pay the balance of the loan. Now, when Charlie pays off the loan, there will be no liens on his car, and the car will be titled in his name as the owner. The only difference between being a primary borrower and a co-borrower in an auto finance contract is who the car eventually belongs to after the loan has been paid. Thus, when David, the co-borrower, filed for bankruptcy, that amounts to a breach of the loan agreement and it could be considered default. The creditor, however, now has only one person to look to for the repayment of the loan.

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Marriage, Matrimony and Bankruptcy, Credit, Credit Score“What happens when I marry someone whose filed bankruptcy?” Is a common question. People want to know what affect a spouses’ prior bankruptcy may have on their own credit or borrowing power. The classic attorney answer is, “It depends.”

Generally speaking, the fact that your fiance filed a bankruptcy in the past is irrelevant to your current or future credit score. Marriage does not merge scores or credit histories, what it does do is require you both to sign some kinds of contracts when a lender extends you more credit.

One of the few ways having a spouse who has a bankruptcy in their past can effect you is when it comes to borrowing. You can only borrow as much as your credit allows. Married couples are allowed to borrow as much as their combined credit allows. So, if your spouse has a low credit score, your combined credit score will be lower, thereby limiting your combined borrowing power. There are ways around this. A co-signer with a strong credit score can help you qualify for a larger loan amount. Some banks, such as Bank of England even have programs by which you start a mortgage with a cosigner and then after one year of proper payments they may offer you a refinance to remove that cosigner’s name. Another way to deal with your spouses’ credit problems is to take time and work on increasing their credit score. By taking out a secured credit card, you can help build your spouse’s credit score but you must be sure that the card actually reports your history of good payments to the credit bureaus. Capital One offers a Visa that is supposed to report to the three bureaus. Some of these cards have annual fees, so shop around to find the best rates. After a year of good payment history, you should then have your spouse apply for a unsecured credit card with the same company -this time in only their name. They are more likely to get approved this way and once the card is in their name only, their credit should be able to build faster.

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Whose Credit does my bankruptcy effect?People contemplating bankruptcy often fear the effect it will have on their loved ones. Debtors often think that their credit is somehow merged with their spouse or that their children will be liable for their debts if they’re still outstanding at time of death. I would like to dispel these rumors because they at worst are untrue and at best are misleading.

First and foremost, from a credit perspective married couples might as well be strangers on the street. One spouse may have a stellar credit score while the other may not. Sometimes all the unsecured debts are all in the name of one spouse, while the home mortgage liability is in the name of the other and so on. Oftentimes, home mortgage liabilities are so great that they require the commitment of income from both spouses to justify the bank’s risk in permitting the loan. This is likely the reason people mistakenly believe that marriage results in the “merge” of credit. If there is any truth to this, it is like so: Once two spouses sign a mortgage note on a house, they are now in the same boat as to that debt. If that boat sinks, whose fault it is ceases to matter and they will both drown equally. This is why so many people file for bankruptcy soon after their divorce is completed.

The idea of inheriting debt is archaic. It’s true that there are account of our own Thomas Jefferson having inherited debt from his late father-in-law, but any such law transferring liability on debts by inheritance is a thing of the past. Still, there are some ways in which a son or daughter may ‘feel’ they have inherited a debt. For instance, when someone dies and leaves an estate, the personal representative of the estate must make an accounting of the decedent’s (dead person’s) property and pay their creditors off before allowing the property to be distributed to the heirs. This may make those who inherit feel as though they’re being forced to pay the decedent’s debts. The distinction here being that it is the decedent’s funds that are used to pay the debts and not those of the living heir.

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Debt Collection, Secured Debt, Unsecured Debt, Procedure, Debt DefenseThese days, debts are bought and sold like stocks. By the time a debt collector files suit against you, they may be the third or fourth agency to hold your debt. Generally, this is a good thing because Debt collectors assume that they will be able to win by default in nearly all of their cases. As a result, these collectors rarely keep proper documentation (or don’t even get it in the first place).

Adopted by nearly every state, the Uniform Commercial Code sets forth requirements that must be met by a secured creditor before they can assess a deficiency against a debtor. There are varieties of other provisions that can be used to protect consumers: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Federal Truth in Lending Act, etc. One of the most powerful protections a consumer has is the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. When one knows how to get evidence and how to present pleadings properly, the strength of a case is greatly amplified.

When a collector files a complaint with the court, they must have the debtor served at their last known address. There are a variety of defenses that can be used: Perhaps the collector hasn’t properly shown that they are owed the debt, perhaps the debt amount has been improperly calculated, perhaps the debtor isn’t even the right person -the list goes on and on. What is important to keep in mind is that a lack of action on the part of the defense means that they consent to the facts alleged. This is called a default judgment. Default judgments are difficult, though not always impossible to “re-open” and work out properly. It’s far easier to defend such a case if counsel is sought prior to a judgment being obtained, preferably before the initial twenty days after service of process has occurred. By getting into a case early, a lawyer will almost invariably have a better chance at defeating the complaint and may be able to get attorneys fees or file a counter-claim for damages (suing the person who is suing you).

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