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Orlando Bankruptcy Law Blog

Ways to avoid credit card debt for Florida consumers

The recent economic crisis was tough for many families all over the country, several of them right here in Florida. Many people were forced to turn to their credit cards to make ends meet, but this might have exacerbated their problems. For those who are looking to reduce their credit card debt now that the economy is improving, there are several tips that can help.

There are a few things concerning credit cards that consumers can avoid doing that will help with their debt load. They should avoid charging items for which they cannot pay when their bill comes due. Charging meals — whether for groceries or restaurant dining — is using credit for items that only exist for a short time and can only worsen debt. While credit card companies may encourage relying on them for certain services, such as insurance or fraud protection, these services are usually not necessary for most people and are generally very expensive. Similarly, though getting cash advances can be tempting, they usually have much higher fees and interest associated with them and are an unwise use of one’s credit.

Debt relief for Florida families with medical debt

Those who struggle with debt may have accumulated it from many sources. Student loans, car loans, credit cards or even one’s mortgage can all make it difficult for a consumer to manage his or her finances. A common source of debt is medical treatment -- many Florida families may suffer from an unplanned or chronic illness that results in medical expenses that they have difficulty paying for and can cause them to go into debt. However, there are ways for those who are facing this situation to find debt relief.

The most well-known approach to handling medical debt is to work out a plan for payment with the biller. This can be done in a manner that will accommodate a consumer’s personal budget requirements. The consumer can also request a negotiation with the medical provider. Many of them would rather receive partial payment than none at all, but it can take time and not all providers will be willing to allow this option.

Credit card debt and divorce: Tips for Florida spouses

For most Florida spouses who are preparing to go through a divorce, the division of marital property will be a top priority. When preparing to address the issue, however, spouses should be aware that the division of debt is also part of the property division process. Couples will have to deal with their credit card debt as they prepare to go their separate ways, and for those who hold a high level of debt, the outcome could bring additional financial strain.

In most cases, debt amassed during the course of a marriage is considered to be the responsibility of both spouses. When divorce is on the table, these accounts will need to be divided. Deciding which spouse will be obligated to pay which account is part of the negotiation process. Before these discussions begin, savvy spouses will review the credit reports of both parties to check for debts that have been forgotten or of which only one spouse was aware.

Orlando foreclosure rate number 2 in the nation for June

The number of homes being foreclosed around the country in June dropped approximately 16 percent from the same time last year. In Florida, the drop was 13 percent, which keeps the Sunshine State in the number one spot nationwide. The state's percentage is lower than the national average, partly due to the fact that foreclosure filings in Orlando were up nearly 20 percent in the same period. Lenders sent out 2,663 notices to homeowners in the area in June.

This makes Orlando the number two city in the country for foreclosures. Being number two in the nation means that, for about every 353 homeowners in Orlando, one received a notice from a lender that he or she may lose his or her home. The majority of the mortgages lenders are foreclosing originated between 2005 and 2007. Fortunately, just 6 percent of the filings in June were related to mortgages originated over the last three years.

Florida restaurant files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

The companies that own Brewzzi, a restaurant with two locations in Florida, have filed for bankruptcy. They are Glades Brewery Partners and Palm Beach Brewery Associates. Company representatives have filed a Chapter 11 proceeding in Bankruptcy Court, each seeking to restructure their debt.

As illustrated by this case, a bankruptcy filing does not necessarily mean that a company is not successful or is in danger of closing its doors. Just as the case in a personal bankruptcy filing, this step could be necessary because of an accumulation of debt over a period of time. One of the restaurants closed, the victim of an eviction proceeding by the landlord. Company representatives have said that they believe the Florida restaurant will be reopened shortly.

Is debt settlement the answer to debt relief problems?

In many cases, Florida consumers who are struggling with high levels of debt find themselves in serious and immediate need of debt relief. In some cases, individuals fail to recognize just how deeply they have become mired in debt until something forces them to address the issue. For others, a slow but steady dependence on credit cards or other forms of debt lead to a far more serious scenario than they thought possible. Regardless of how one came to be in need of debt relief, many will consider debt settlement services as they search for a solution.

A recent report from the non-profit research group known as the Center for Responsible Lending asserts that debt settlement might bring more financial hardship than relief. The Center looked into the debt settlement industry, and found that the services offered by many of these companies is not as effective as many consumers might believe. Many who attempt debt settlement eventually file for personal bankruptcy, the very outcome that they sought to avoid by trying to settle their debts.

Former sports franchise owner files Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Sports can be a profitable business in which to be if one makes the right decisions. However, just like in a sporting event, in business things do not always work out as planned in Florida or in any other state. One former sports franchise owner found this out recently when he experienced some financial challenges possibly related to his involvement in the sporting industry. He has recently filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to obtain relief from debt.

The former sports franchise owner’s bankruptcy filing listed $8.5 million of debt related to building a sports stadium. This large debt owed to NBT Bank is the largest portion of the total debt of $9.5 million reported on the bankruptcy paperwork filed with the court. The man only listed $17,000 worth of assets.

How to rebuild credit after a successful bankruptcy

One of the top concerns of individuals who are filing for bankruptcy is the damage that will be done to their credit score. Truth be told, bankruptcy does create a negative impact on one’s credit ranking. However, the damage that is done is far from permanent, and with the right mix of dedication and effort, Florida consumers can rebuild their credit quickly once their bankruptcy is discharged.

The first step involves gathering the proper information needed to begin the process. This includes getting a copy of all three credit reports from the major reporting bureaus. Once that information is at hand, it becomes possible to check for any inaccuracies. If there is information on the reports that is outdated or inaccurate, ask for those issues to be corrected by the proper credit bureau.

Student loans leave many seeking debt relief after graduation

The desire to attain a college degree is an admirable goal, and research shows that those who graduate from college will earn higher salaries during the course of their careers. The path toward earning a college degree, however, is often paved with high levels of debt in the form of student loans. While there are efforts underway to help reduce these costs, many recent graduates in the state of Florida are facing difficult decisions in the search for debt relief, just when they should be focused on beginning their career path.

It is estimated that as few as 17 percent of college graduates have a job lined up at the time of graduation. Student loan debt is now over the $1 trillion mark, and as many as 37 million grads are believed to be in serious financial straits just after graduation. For many, the need for debt relief is acute, and options may seem limited.

Credit card debt could lead to the next economic bubble

Borrowing throughout the United States, including in Florida, spiked by more than 10 percent in April. The increased use of credit cards is an indicator that the economy is rebounding from the 2008 recession. However, it’s also sparking fear that a credit card debt bubble -- much like the housing bubble burst that contributed to the recession several years ago -- is on the horizon.

The fact that consumers are spending more means that an economic boom is possible and that Americans have become more confident. However, the issue is that incomes for most American families remain stagnant or are declining, whether they are working-poor or middle-class families. Many people are having to resort to using credit cards to accommodate today’s increasing gas and food prices.