Graham & Associates Law Offices, LLC | Serving all of Northeast Ohio

September 2014 Archives

Consumer credit card debt increasing

Ohio residents are likely aware that many Americans are struggling with high levels of consumer debt. While expenses such as installment loans and medical bills play an important role, it's credit card debt that often causes the greatest problems for families struggling to cope financially. According to figures from the U.S. Federal Reserve, Americans in July 2014 owed approximately $880 billion in revolving debt, primarily credit cards.

Is credit counseling required before filing for bankruptcy?

An Ohio resident considering bankruptcy may have exhausted numerous strategies for dealing with debts, but it is important to understand that pre-bankruptcy credit counseling is required prior to filing. This counseling must occur within the 180-day period before filing, and it must be provided by an organization that is approved by the government. In finding an approved agency for this course, it is helpful to explore resources from the U.S. Trustee Program as only the organizations appearing on the program's lists are acceptable.

Default judgments common in debt collection actions

Debt collection lawsuits are increasingly common in Ohio and around the country, and studies indicate that most defendants in these cases do not participate in the legal process, often resulting in default judgments against them. A 2010 report by the Federal Trade Commission indicated, based on attorney estimates, that 60 to 95 percent of debt defendants do not show up. A 2011 report cited by the Center for Responsible Lending said that 80 percent of the default judgments obtained in New York cases came from debt lawsuits.

Experts offer tips for reducing credit card debt

Many residents of Ohio are part of millions of others around the country who are plagued by seemingly unmanageable credit card debt. While making the minimum payment will keep bill collectors from calling constantly, there are some ways in which a consumer can pay off his or her credit card debt more effectively.

Credit scores may go up for Americans with medical debt

Ohio residents with unpaid medical bills may soon notice a rise in their credit scores. FICO has recently announced changes to the way that medical debt is calculated, and the average person with medical debt will reportedly see a 25-point increase in their credit score. As part of the new FICO model, paid medical bills will be eliminated from a person's credit report, and unpaid medical bills will have less of an impact.