Our Debt Settlement Lawyers in Ohio Know the Best Options for Getting You Out of Debt
Talk to a debt relief lawyer to avoid making costly mistakes.
If your bills and debts are becoming overwhelming, you may be tempted by advertisements from debt-settlement companies claiming that they can talk your creditors into settling your unsecured debts for pennies on the dollar. This could be a big mistake. While debt settlement may work, and debt settlement companies seem convenient and may employ lawyers to make their services appear more reputable, these companies are in business to make money, not to help you out. If you are not careful, you could actually worsen your situation and wind up owing more due to added fees and interest charges.
It makes much more sense to speak to a debt settlement attorney in Ohio who can examine your individual circumstances and help you determine what debt-relief options are best for you. If you decide on debt settlement, your attorney can negotiate the best deal possible, but if debt settlement is not in your best interests, your attorney will help you determine the option that makes most sense in your case.
The skilled and seasoned Ohio consumer debt lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to even the most well-intentioned people. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial situation – your income, your debts and your goals — and find which solutions are right for you.
Call our offices today for your free, no-obligation consultation at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati).
Our Debt Relief Attorneys Explain How Debt Settlement Works
Our Ohio debt relief lawyers know that debt settlement is a complicated process
Debt settlement is a way to reduce your debts with unsecured creditors, such as those holding medical bills and credit card bills. These creditors may agree to a settlement if you can come up with a lump sum of 40 to 60 percent of your debt, or they may agree to a payment plan for a lesser amount than you are currently paying. Creditors may do this if it seems unlikely that you’ll be able to repay the entire amount owed, and they prefer to settle your debt for less than you owe rather than have you file for bankruptcy, in which case they might not get anything. In a successful debt settlement, you will owe less than the original amount of your debt, and you can pay this amount back as a lump sum or through a new payment plan.
Getting the best debt settlement possible involves negotiating with your creditors. An experienced Ohio consumer debt attorney can do this for you most effectively.
Why You Need a Debt Settlement Attorney in Ohio
Having an Ohio consumer debt attorney on your side is often in your best interest.
The settlement process is complex and involves complicated laws. Most people are not expert negotiators and rarely get the best deal from their creditors. Debt-settlement companies charge fees, and if you stop making your payments, the total amount you owe will increase due to various added fees and interest charges. They often charge a set-up fee and a contingency fee — a percentage based on the amount you save. If negotiations fail, you will owe the upfront fees in addition to still being in debt.
It is often in your best interests to hire an attorney to help you decide whether debt settlement is the right choice for you, and, if it is, to negotiate the best deal possible and assist you with all the steps involved.
The following are some reasons why it pays to hire a debt settlement attorney in Ohio:
- Attorneys know the laws and can make sure your rights are not being violated. For example, Section 4710 of the Ohio Revised Code limits what debt-settlement companies can charge for their services.
- Attorneys know how to negotiate. They have a good idea about what creditors will accept, know what to offer, and can come up with the best payment plans.
- Attorneys can defend you if necessary. Creditors do not have to accept lesser amounts, and if they decide to file a lawsuit against you, your attorney can fight it.
- Attorneys understand tax consequences. Debt settlement can increase your tax liability, depending on factors such as your tax bracket and whether the canceled amount is more than $600.
- Attorneys know the effect on your credit score. Not paying the full amount of a debt counts against your credit score for seven years, and your attorney will be able to explain how this affects you.
- Attorneys can assess all your options before deciding on debt settlement. There are other debt-relief possibilities such as debt consolidation — combining all your outstanding debts into one payment — or bankruptcy that may make more sense in your situation.
- When looking for an attorney, be aware that some debt-settlement companies employ lawyers to make their services appear more reputable. These individuals are working for the benefit of the debt-settlement companies and will not defend you if you get sued. Make sure you choose a legitimate local Ohio consumer debt attorney.
Our Ohio Consumer Debt Attorneys Can Analyze Your Debt Relief Alternatives
While debt settlements may work for some people, an Ohio debt relief attorney at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer can explore alternative solutions that may work better in your individual situation.
Possible solutions include:
If you have multiple debts in different areas, debt consolidation is a way of combining debts you owe to different creditors or collection agencies.
Debt consolidation involves taking out a new loan to pay off multiple older debts. The new loan should provide you with a lower interest rate and longer period to pay off the new debt. You start by hiring a debt consolidation service which negotiates reduced payments with your creditors. You then make one monthly payment to the consolidation company, and they pay your creditors, so you no longer have to deal with them. You can consolidate debt through a secured loan (usually secured by equity in your home) or an unsecured loan, where the consolidator lends you the money.
Debt consolidation protects your reputation and typically does not lower your credit score like a bankruptcy filing does. Your payments are simplified and usually lowered, and you can keep your credit cards. However, there are costs and fees associated with some loans, as well as tax liability that could actually make costs higher, and if your loans are secured by your home or vehicle, you could lose that property if you default on the consolidation loan.
As with debt settlement, debt consolidation companies are out for their own profit and are subject to many of the same issues as settlement companies. In many cases, it is more beneficial to hire an Ohio consumer debt attorney who represents your interests when dealing with both debt settlement and debt consolidation.
Bankruptcy is a form of debt relief that allows you to eliminate or restructure certain debts while under the protection of the federal bankruptcy court. The most common types are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to eliminate many types of debt quickly, but it may require that you liquidate some assets. However, you may be able to keep many or all of your assets, such as a home, vehicle, and work-related assets which have exemptions in Ohio (see Ohio home exemption).
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize assets and consolidate your payments to avoid fees and fines and repay some or all of your debt affordably over a three- to five-year period. If you successfully complete the court-approved payment plan, the debts covered by the plan are discharged.
When you file for bankruptcy, you have protection from creditors. Ohio has an automatic stay that prohibits most creditors and collectors from engaging in collection activity such as harassing phone calls, lawsuits, garnishments, repossessions, and foreclosures. In addition, a successful bankruptcy gives you a fresh financial start. Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most unsecured debt such as medical bills and credit cards debt, while Ohio’s exemptions may allow you to keep much of your property. Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you repay a portion of your unsecured debts through the court-supervised repayment plan. You typically only pay a percentage of your total debt, and you may be able to save your home from foreclosure and vehicle from repossession.
In many situations, filing for bankruptcy can be a better option than debt settlement. Your Ohio consumer debt attorney can explain the different types of bankruptcy and how they apply to your situation.
Contact Us and Get Help from an Ohio Consumer Debt Lawyer
The experienced and compassionate Ohio consumer debt lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer know what it is like to struggle with debt and will help you find the right solution. We offer a free initial consultation where we will evaluate your entire financial situation and determine whether debt settlement or another debt-relief plan is the best fit for you. We will make sure you are aware of all your options and will walk you through the process.
Delaying can only make things worse, so call for your free consultation today so we can determine what debt-relief solutions will work best for you.
Call 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati)