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Monmouth County Bankruptcy Law Blog

What does the Fed's rate hike mean for your credit card debt?

The Federal Reserve recently announced that it will raise its benchmark rate by a quarter of a percentage point. More rate increases are expected in the months ahead.

Many people don't keep up with the actions of the Fed. They don't realize how much they can impact their own finances.

Not all debts are created equally, debt relief efforts vary

In a previous blog post, we discussed some strategies you can use to work with a collection agency regarding debt. When this doesn't happen or if you are unable to pay for the bill, you might decide that you need to seek out other options for debt relief. We want you to know that you do have legal options to get a fresh financial start.

One option that you have is to file for bankruptcy. If you opt to explore this possibility, you should understand a basic point about how debt is divided. There are two types of debt -- secured and unsecured.

Learn your options for taking control of your credit card debt

Credit cards are a good thing to have, as long as you use them in the right way. It is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that you can spend whatever you want as long as you have credit remaining on the card. This can lead you into a financial abyss if you charge considerable amounts and can't repay those amounts when the time to do so comes.

We understand that you might not have meant any harm when you started charging purchases to your credit card. We know that you probably want to pay off the balances but just don't know how you are going to do so. You may hear about various offers to help you regain control. Debt consolidation and similar programs might be tempting. Before you jump on board any of those, think carefully about what you are doing. You might be considering something that will lead you to being the victim of a scam.

Is Chapter 7 bankruptcy the right choice for your business?

To a small business owner who is facing a debt spiral that does not seem to have a solution, it can be difficult to know just what to do. Bankruptcy is always there as an option, but the way that it works can cause distress to many people, especially when they do not understand the process ahead of time. Questions about losing homes and other property are quite common, and when bankruptcy is complicated by business ownership it gets to be even more stressful. Here is what a person needs to understand about it.

Your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Last week, we talked about some of the things debt collectors might try to get you to pay them. One of the ways you can defend against aggressive or even unethical debt collection practices is to understand and assert your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The act governs how and when debt collectors are allowed to contact you, whether they can release information to third parties and when they have to cease contact with you.

In most cases, debt collectors are not allowed to contact you at what the act calls "inconvenient" times without first getting your prior consent. Since debt collectors don't know the habits of every person, the act further defines these times. Absent other information to the contrary, debt collectors are allowed to assume that times between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. within your time zone are convenient. If they call before or after those times without getting permission from you to do so, they are not being compliant with the law.

Secrets of debt collectors designed to part you from your money

Are you tired of getting calls from creditors about unpaid debts? Learn some of the insider secrets of the debt collection industry.

-- They assume that you are always lying to them. That's why they push you to make unwise financial decisions in order to pay them off, like pulling money out of a 401(k), running up another credit card or going in debt to family or friends.

Don't believe these bankruptcy myths

In one year during this decade, one tech provider estimated that as many as 1.25 million Americans filed bankruptcy petitions. That number was actually a decrease from the 1.38 million the prior year.

Despite the popularity of the strategy to get out of the deepest debts, some myths still center around consumer bankruptcies. Let's wipe out these misguided notions once and for all.

Is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the answer to your financial woes?

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy protection, Chapter 13 offers the opportunity to keep your home out of foreclosure and also hold onto other significant assets.

While most Americans tend to gravitate toward Chapter 7 bankruptcies, which wipes out most — but not all — debts, there are advantages to the debt restructuring offered under Chapter 13.

When should you consider bankruptcy as a small business owner?

When your business is in financial trouble, you have to do everything you can to bring it back around and get it back on its feet again. That's why so many entrepreneurs are willing to take big risks like personal debt to ensure they keep their doors open. Unfortunately, though, there comes a time when taking measures to save a business will not help anymore, which is when closing down the operation becomes necessary. Under those circumstances, it can also be necessary to seek some relief from your debts, especially if you are personally liable for the debts your small business has incurred.

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At the law offices of William H. Oliver, Jr. & Associates in Toms River and Lakewood, New Jersey, we represent clients in Toms River, Neptune, Trenton, Middletown, Red Bank, Wall, Lakewood, Lakehurst, Manchester, Asbury Park, Old Bridge, Jamesburg, Barnegat, Forked River, Manahawkin, Ocean Township, Brick, Manasquan, Howell, Freehold, Hazlet, Bradley Beach, Brown Mills, Long Branch, Keansburg, Marlboro, Bayville, Beachwood, Whiting, Sayreville, South River, East Brunswick, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Burlington County and Mercer County.