What does Duress Mean?
Duress may have been mentioned in the past as a method by which someone could break a contract, however, what does duress mean? Legally, it is a set of circumstances whereby the individual under duress involuntarily accepted the terms of another; that those circumstances permitted no other alternative and that those same circumstances were the result of the coercive acts of the opposite party. That is a mouthful and may appear to be a bit confusing.
I have heard clients arguing duress as a defense when they had many alternatives available and although they perceived they were under a coercive pressure, it was more a perception than a reality. Duress is a viable defense. For example, the video below mentions signing a contract or there will be serious bodily harm. That, it could be argued, is duress. However, duress is not as cut and dry as it would first appear. Issues as to whether the party arguing duress behaved in a voluntary or involuntary manner or whether there existed no other alternative.
Whether or not there is another alternative is a very intriguing proposition when addressing the question: What does Duress mean? Often, clients argue they signed under duress because the contract they signed or the agreement they made was the best alternative considering their situation. It was not the optimal outcome and often far from it. However, there is a perception of pressure which has placed them in this difficult position. Unexplored alternatives is one of the very reasons it it important to discuss your options with a Lawyer prior? Duress is a viable defense but should be carefully analyzed to see if it is a viable defense.
I hope this brief discussion has been helpful. If you find yourself in a difficult situation and feel you have no other alternative, call a lawyer. If you live in Stuart, Port St. Lucie or Jupiter, give my office a call. It is important to make the call before you get into a situation whereby you have to assert duress as a legal defense. The only way to find out is to make the call.
I appreciate the time you have taken to review my website. Thank you and have a wonderful day.
What does a Charge off mean on a credit Report?
Clients have come in with their credit report in hand wondering why they are receiving collection letters from a collection agency or a law firm requesting payment for a debt that has been charged-off on their credit report. “How can they charge me for a debt that has been charged-off?” “I thought a charge-off meant I was no longer responsible to pay this bill!” It is even worse when a client comes in with a summons and complaint for a debt they believed they were no longer obligated to pay because it was showing as “Charged-off” on their credit report.
What does a charge off mean on a credit report? It is an internal accounting method used by the creditor to indicate a change in the status of the obligation on their ledger. It does not waive the obligation to pay. Often the debts, if assignable, are sold for less than what is owed. The third party assignee will then continue to collect or file an action to collect the debt.
Misinformation can lead to problems down the road. Get the facts. If you do not know what something means do not rely on what you may have heard somewhere, ask a professional or conduct your own research. I am a lawyer in Port St. Lucie, Stuart, and Jupiter FL. I have had cases throughout south Florida dealing with a wide array of financial issues for businesses and individuals. If you find yourself in a precarious financial position and need help, please give me a call.
Can I discharge Child Support in Bankruptcy?
The Bankruptcy Code exempts domestic support obligations from discharge. What that means is child support cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. I have had clients come into my office and talk about how they were unfairly treated by the mediator, the Judge, their attorney, or their circumstances have changed and they should not be obligated to pay for back child support. Bankruptcy Court is not the forum to handle this type of dispute. Issues with domestic support obligations are handled in state court.
If you are confronted with an issue about the amount of support you owe or your ability to pay, address this issue immediately. Contact my office and I will see what can be done to address the issue. Often clients wait, ignore, or even hide from these obligations. This does not make the problem go away, it only makes it worse.
Rationalizing the situation does not address it either. There are many rationalizations out there and none of them are valid:
1. He/she is living with someone else and they have plenty of money to take care of the family. Why should I have to pay?
2. I have not been allowed to visit my child and, therefore, I should not be obligated to pay. Child support and visitation are not a quid pro quo.
3. I purchase something else for Christmas in lieu of paying child support.
4. My ex has brainwashed my child against me and, therefore, I am no longer responsible.
5. Although the mediated settlement agreement says I have to pay until X or when Y occurs, my child just turned 18 and those obligation shouldn’t apply.
6. The kids spend more time with me than with my ex, therefore, I do not need to pay.
The list is endless. The problem is if it is not backed up in writing and ordered by the Court, it will not remove or retroactively reduce your child support obligation, unless you first consult with a Lawyer.
The above rationalizations matter not to the Bankruptcy Code. Address these situations when they arise before they become too great.
When you come into my office, let me know what is going on. It is so important to get a full financial picture to be able to properly assess your situation. If you are looking for bankruptcy lawyer in Stuart, Port St. Lucie or Jupiter FL, please give my office a call. I can help you get through these difficulties. You may not believe it, but life can get back on track.
What is a 1099-C?
As tax time rolls around, clients begin to call asking about receiving a 1099-C for debts settled in the previous tax year. The 1099-C is for Cancellation of Debt Income for the previous tax year. This can be issued for several reasons. What usually happens for my clients is we have negotiated a settlement for less than what was owed on a debt for the previous tax year. The 1099-C is generated by the creditor indicating the difference between the debt owed and the settlement amount.
A quick example would be as follows: Client has a credit card debt of $10,000.00. We negotiate a settlement in the amount of $3,000.00. Client receives a 1099-C from the creditor in the amount of $7,000.00. Whether or not this is subject to taxation is an issue you should discuss with your accountant.
It is important to understand as the debtor that debts settle for over $600.00 or more may generate 1099-C, which could increase your tax liability. The liability will be less than the original debt owed. However, often, it is forgotten until the 1099-C is received the following January.
If you have any questions regarding Bankruptcy, Debt Settlement, or need a Lawyer for a civil litigation matter and live in Stuart, Port St. Lucie or Jupiter, please give me a call. Thank you so much for visiting my website. The video below briefly discusses what a 1099-C is and how to address it. If you feel you have received a 1099-C improperly, do not ignore it, contact your accountant.
How do I re-establish my credit a Bankruptcy?
Don’t expect your credit to rebound overnight after filing for bankruptcy? However, there are some very important steps you should take after your discharge.
First and foremost, make a budget. Know what you need to spend to maintain your current lifestyle. It is also important, as part of that budget to set some money aside for a rainy day. As hokey as this sounds, it is very important to have a safety net in the event that something unexpected occurs.
Usually after your discharge you will receive applications for secured credit cards. These cards can help you begin to rebuild your credit. It is important to pay them on time and try to pay them off each month. Attempting to rebuild your credit requires discipline and diligence. Stay within your means. If you cannot pay for it, don’t buy it on credit. When using your secured credit card set aside the money you would have otherwise spent on the item purchased.
It is also important to check your credit 30 to 60 days after you have been discharged to make sure your discharged debts show a zero balance owed. If they have not, contact the credit reporting agency and demand the correction be made. If no action is taken, you may want to contact a lawyer. Failure to properly report your credit is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Another reason it is important to have the balances reported as zero and discharged, is because your current credit is based upon your history of payments and your available credit. Balances on discharged debts not properly reported will not only have negative effect on your credit history; the balances will also show monies due on closed lines of credit. The availability of credit is closed on an account which should not be included in your post-bankruptcy discharge credit report calculation (Know that all of the discharged creditors will appear on your credit report, but they need to have a balance of zero and the reason can read discharged in Bankruptcy).
On the subject of credit availability, as you re-establish your credit, keep your balances low. This will help your credit score climb. Therefore, if you have had a secured credit card for 1 to 2 years, maintained timely payments and kept the balance low, you can apply for store and gas station credit cards. Once you obtain one of these unsecured lines of credit, use it and pay it off every month.
If you are married and you filed for bankruptcy and your spouse did not or you married after filing for bankruptcy, you may be able to obtain unsecured credit through your spouse. Again, it is important to make your payments on time and keep the balances low if not at zero.
I hope this information has been helpful and I appreciate your visit to my website.
If you are in need of debt settlement or need to talk a lawyer about whether or not you should consider filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Stuart, Port St. Lucie or Jupiter FL, please give my office a call.