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Knowing What’s Ahead In Your Divorce Case

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you and your spouse are about to join the ranks of divorced couples, you may not be focused on the process but more on the emotional side of divorce. Don’t allow fear of the unknown to add to your stress level; divorce is mostly a step by step process. You should know that even with an uncontested divorce, however, the steps are not really all that quick or easy. To get more information about what you will be facing in the coming months, read on. Step 1: The separation is not just a personal move, it is also a legal move with serious ramifications. Take your separation a step further and create a legal separation agreement to solidify your provisions for dealing with a number of important issues during the transition period leading up to the final decree. If you include provisions for child support, custody, visitation, spousal support, financial arrangements and more in your agreement, it can be used to form your final decree. Step 2: The divorce petition (also known as the letter of complaint, original petition, etc) is the first formal document produced that sets out your intention to be divorced. When you hear of someone being “served with divorce papers”, this is likely what was served. If you live in a state that does not recognize no-fault divorce, the reason for the divorce will be stated on this petition. Step 3: Various temporary orders usually follow the initial petition, and they cover issues pertaining to child support and more. These orders usually expire upon the date of the final decree. Step 4: The discovery process allows both sides (the attorneys for you and your spouse) to share information and important documents related to your divorce, such as: Financial disclosures, tax returns and other documents. Questionnaires (also called interrogatories) for each party to complete. A list of admissions or facts, which can be either be admitted to or denied by each party. The deposition, a meeting of all parties where they are questioned under oath. Step 5: In some cases, a mediator is brought in to help the couple resolve issues before the case comes before a judge. Step 6: If the parties have been successful and have worked out their problems, court will consist of a brief appearance by one party and a quick ruling. If not, both parties will take turns pleading their sides on undecided issues, after which a judge will render a verdict. Step 7: Once the judge decides, both parties must sign off on the final decree. Anything pertaining to minor children is considered separate from the decree and is open to alterations or changes. Other issues are more difficult to change, so be sure of what you are signing. If you have any questions, make sure to talk to your lawyer, someone from a place like the Bergermann Law...

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Four Questions To Ask Your Lawyer About Worker’s Compensation

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you were injured while on the clock at work, you may assume your boss will make arrangements to compensate you for your injuries because it happened while working for them. Unfortunately, you may find yourself in the opposite situation, with an employer that is reluctant to pay for an injury. This is when you’ll need to hire a lawyer to help you receive the compensation you need. When meeting with your lawyer, you’ll want to ask them the following questions to ensure your case goes smoothly. What Evidence Is Needed? Your lawyer will advise you on what evidence you need to provide to them regarding your worker’s compensation case. This could include contact information for any witnesses to the injury, hospital bills, and even pay stubs that help gauge your lost wages. What Can Be Done If Employer Claims The Injury Is Not Their Fault? It’s common for employers to start assigning blame to others when an injury is involved. Admitting fault would make them responsible for compensating you, so expect them to point fingers at others when it comes to assigning blame. However, you need to ignore who they blame for the incident and focus on the case. Ultimately, a judge will be making the decision on if your employer is responsible, so don’t put too much thought into your employer’s opinions. What Is An Acceptable Settlement Amount? Your employer’s insurance provider may offer you a settlement at some point to avoid taking the case to court. If so, it will be difficult to know what is a fair settlement. You need to consider factors that have already been paid for, such as medical bills, but also consider things that have yet to occur. This includes future medical bill and future lost wages. Your lawyer can help you come up with an acceptable settlement amount if one is offered to you. Who Should A Worker’s Compensation Case Be Discussed With? It is always a good idea to avoid talking about your case with anybody, and avoid giving updates about the case on social media. These posts can be used against you, especially if you make comments that seem like you are recovering well from the injury. It’s tempting to share progress about recovery with friends and family, but this could imply that the severity if your injury is better than what it really is. If you have more questions, be sure to ask a lawyer, like one from Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson,...

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What You Should Ask Colleges About Learning Disability Accomodations

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you have a learning disability and wish to attend college, one thing you need to consider are the accommodations provided by different universities. You should consider visiting different campuses to see what is available to accommodate your particular needs. By law, universities are required to accommodate students with learning disabilities, so stop by the office of disability services and ask the following questions: What Accommodations Are Offered To Students? The first thing to ask is what type of accommodations is provided to those with your disability if you decide to attend that college. Some things to listen for include vision assistance, sign language interpreters, proctored tests, note-taking assistance, and memory assistance. You will need to specify your needs and your disability to understand what to expect. If you do not hear of any accommodations that will benefit you, ask the office what they will be able to do for you should you decide to attend that school. They should be willing to make every effort to help you within the scope of the law. How Do You Deal With Examinations? Students who have learning disabilities will struggle with taking exams. In these cases, schools will often provide the opportunity for students to work with a proctor when taking a test. The proctor can help the student by reading the test aloud or provide other assistance based on the need of the individual student. If you are one who will need a proctored exam, it will be your responsibility to work with the professor to schedule a time for you to take the test. You will be required to take the exam away from the rest of the class, so keep that in mind as well. How Successful Are Your Graduates? Ask about the success rate of past graduates that have utilized these services. They should be able to provide you with a graduation rate of the students, along with a breakdown of the different degrees that were conferred upon those students. With this information, you will be able to achieve a good idea of how well you may fare. If you like what you hear, it may help you make a decision. Going to college campuses is a great way to learn about the different resources that are available to you. Visiting the disability services department and speaking to the different counselors can help you make a final decision on college. If you encounter a school that is not willing to make any accommodations, chances are they are violating federal law and can face major repercussions. if you encounter a school that will not help you after you were promised assistance, be sure to ask your attorney what your options are, or visit a site like for more...

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Food Poisoning and Allergic Reactions at Daycare: Can You Sue?

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Uncategorized |

When you leave your child at daycare, you are entrusting the daycare facility with your child’s health and well-being. If your child experiences a severe food poisoning or allergic reaction, this is a big potential negligence on their part. Here are some suggestions on evaluating what legal actions to take. What Are the Potential Health Complications? Food poisoning is no joke, especially for young children. The bacteria from food poisoning can linger for years and have deleterious effects on health. Young children may need to be hospitalized because they have a smaller reserve of fluids and can get severely dehydrated quickly. Allergic reactions can be even more deadly. Either of these situations presents serious reason to seek out legal counsel against your child care facility. Can You Trace the Incident to Daycare? If you are going to claim that the food poisoning was certainly caused by the daycare facility, then you probably need to have some evidence of that. If multiple children got severely ill, that is a good indicator that the damage was related to food that the center served. In that case, you may join forces with multiple families to file a lawsuit. For allergic reactions that result in anaphylaxis, it’s also pretty clear when an allergen was served by the facility since the reaction happened on the spot. Was Daycare Staff Negligent? It is also important that you show how the facility was negligent in taking care of your child. That’s easy when the facility served up some rotten food. With allergies, be sure to have documentation that shows your facility was specifically warned about the allergy. Since children may not be able to monitor their own allergies, staff have a very important role to play in keeping children safe by keeping them from being exposed to allergens. If a facility staff member mindlessly gave your child something they were allergic to, then that is of grave cause for concern, and you have grounds to sue for negligence. Should You Speak With a Lawyer? The best thing to do would be to speak with a personal injury lawyer who can help you evaluate your odds of success if you decide to pursue this lawsuit. Life-threatening illnesses, or ones that have long-term effects, are the best starting points for a successful case. The awarded damages could include ongoing medical treatment costs plus additional penalties for the daycare center’s...

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What to Do If You Are a Passenger in a Car Accident

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you were in a car accident and suffered injuries, but your friend was driving, you might be wondering where to turn for compensation. Because the process for compensation as an auto accident passenger can be a little convoluted, here are some guidelines for who to approach.  When the Other Party Is at Fault If the other driver was at fault for the car accident, then you and your friend can cooperate to file a joint insurance claim against them. Their insurance company will want to know about the damage done to the vehicle and other personal items, plus the medical expenses that you and other passengers have suffered. Since the claim represents a single event, everyone’s medical claims will go into the same claim and the insurance company’s coverage limits will apply to the event in total. Sometimes, especially when there are multiple people with injuries, the liability of the other person’s car insurance has a limit that is not enough to cover all of the damages. After that limit, it will be time to look past the insurance company and sue the other party directly. When The Driver in Your Car Is at Fault If the driver of the car you were a passenger in is at fault, tensions can get a little higher. You will need to file your claim with their insurance company. Your friend may or may not want to cooperate with filing the insurance claim. And unfortunately, if you have significant medical bills, you will need to sue your friend. The Role of a Car Accident Attorney An auto accident attorney plays multiple roles in these situations. Attorneys are an important catalyst when your insurance company claim is not going successfully. An insurer might be reluctant to cut you a check, saying your injuries and damages are not related to the accident, or grossly underestimating the losses or costs of continuing medical care. That’s one time to get a car accident attorney involved. Another is when you simply want to avoid the discomfort of filing a claim against a friend of yours. Having a tactful lawyer do most of the work for you is a good way to make it more of an impersonal necessity rather than a feud among friends. And finally, you will need a lawyer if you hope to start a personal injury claim that goes beyond the limits of an insurance company payment. Those often involve larger sums of money at stake and require the help of a skilled and experienced legal advocate to maximize your chances of success. After all, the quality of evidence and the way it’s presented can both have an impact on how a judge perceives your case and how much sympathy they have for your...

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What You Need To Know About DUIs And Boats

Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Uncategorized |

If you’re planning a day of fun in the sun and on the water and you plan on having a few drinks, there are a few things to keep in mind. Drinking while operating a boat actually carries more risks than driving a car. So here’s what you need to know to stay safe and avoid getting in trouble. Different Influencing Factors There are a couple things that make combining alcohol with a boat particularly different than a car. In fact, the Coast Guard claims that alcohol is more dangerous on water than on land, and they estimate that more than half of all boating accidents involve alcohol or drug use. You see, when you’re boating, certain factors can influence you—factors that don’t always come up when you’re in the confines of your car. Outdoor heat, noise from crowds, the glare of the sun, the motion of the boat, and wind can all affect your perception. These factors actually make it a little harder to tell when you’ve had too much to drink. Think about it. Because alcohol affects your balance, judgment, vision, and coordination, it’s pretty easy to tell when those few drinks are taking effect when you’re at home or at a bar. You can feel it the moment you stand up. But on a boat, there’s constant movement and other natural elements to throw things off. When all these other factors are taken into consideration, boaters can actually become impaired faster than those who are drinking on land. All Boats Included Maybe you’re thinking of heading out on a small fly-fishing excursion. It’s going to be just you and your canoe with a couple of cold brewskies. You’ll be tucked away in the corner of the lake with no one around. That has to be okay, right? Wrong. In most states, it’s illegal to operate any boat while under the influence, including non-motorized ones. In fact, all states have implemented BUI laws (or BWI, depending on your state), and most of them have set the max BAC at 0.08%. All of them come with their own set of penalties as well. For example, if convicted in Indiana, you could face fines, jail time, and the loss of both driving and boating privileges. No “Safe” Amount When it comes to drinking while boating, there aren’t a number of drinks you can “safely” consume. But you may be curious about what it takes to get to that 0.08% BAC. Generally it varies, depending on your gender, weight, how much you’ve recently eaten, existing medical conditions, and whether or not you take medications. There are charts that provide a rough guideline, but the average 180-pound male can expect his BAC to be around 0.02% after one drink. Women tend to metabolize alcohol a little slower, so a female of the same size can expect a BAC of about 0.03% after that same drink.  Boating While Anchored There are some localities that allow you to consume alcohol while you are docked, at shore, or anchored. But do NOT assume that if you stop in the middle of a lake and drop your anchor, you’re free and clear to drink to your heart’s content. For example, if you’re boating on Lake Eerie, you’ll need to consult their charts to be sure you’re outside of...

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The Cost Of Hiring A Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you were recently injured while at work and you are considering hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer, then the price of this type of lawyer is probably at the top of your mind. But what you do need to know is that the cost of hiring this type of lawyer is dependent upon contingency fees. This is the same way most other types of lawyers receive their payment. It means if you lose your case, your attorney is not paid. But if you win your case, the lawyer will keep a previously agreed upon percentage of your benefits or settlement amount. Keep reading to learn more about the cost of hiring a workers’ comp attorney: State Rules On Attorney Fees For Workers’ Comp Cases Every state has their own rules and regulations when it comes to how much an attorney can charge clients when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. Also, the fees charged take into consideration the complexity of the case and the dollar amount of the benefits the client is requesting. Typically, if your case is settled before you have an administrative hearing, you will pay a lower fee than if your case goes to trial. This is because there is more work for an attorney to do in order to be prepared for trial. If you are looking for routine benefits, like lost wages or medical bill coverage, then most states don’t allow attorneys to charge a fee, unless they are disputed by the insurer or employer. But keep in mind that no matter how large or small your workers’ compensation claim is, your lawyer won’t be paid until the fee amount is approved by a judge. One more thing to keep in mind is that if your insurer or employer has caused delays in the process or has deplorable or intolerable conduct, your attorney can ask the judge to order the opposing side to pay for all your attorney fees, or request an additional penalty amount on top of your benefit amount. Additional Expenses May Be Required In addition, your attorney can tack on more fees and expenses, which are not covered by standard state fee agreements. These are fees charged for the work needed to litigate your case and include these common expenses: Attorney travel expenses Requests for medical records Costs of depositions Costs to copy forms and other documentation Filing fees Postage Costs associated with independent physician exams Before you hire any attorney to handle your workers’ compensation case, make sure you completely understand the expense agreement and all the fees the lawyer is going to charge you. And be aware that there are some attorneys out there that will still charge you expenses if your case is lost. Ability To Negotiate The Fees And Costs Luckily, you do have the ability to negotiate the fees and expenses a lawyer charges you. But the chances of being successful at lowering the cost will greatly depend on the strength of your case and the amount of benefits you are expected to win. Make sure you do all your negotiating prior to signing the fee agreement and attorney representation agreement. If you wait until after, the chances are slim an attorney would reduce their fees. Now that you have a better understanding of the cost...

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Three Reasons Why Your NVICP Claim May Be Denied

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Uncategorized |

It’s undeniable that vaccines have been extremely beneficial for human health as a whole. However, sometimes people have adverse reactions to the medications that may cause severe or lifelong medical complications. If you or your loved one has been injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim for damages with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). Unfortunately, not everyone gets approved for compensation. Here are three reasons why your NVICP claim may be denied. The Vaccine Is Not Covered by the NVICP Although there are quite a few vaccinations on the market, the NVICP doesn’t cover all of them. To be eligible for compensation, the vaccine that injured you or your loved one must have been one that was recommended by the Center for Disease Control as part of a routine vaccination schedule for children and subjected to a federal excise tax. For example, the NVICP covers the DTP vaccine, which is designed to prevent kids from being infected by the pertussis bacteria. However, injuries caused by the herpes zoster vaccine given to adults are not compensable through the program. You can find a list of covered vaccines on the Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) website. If the medication that caused the injury is not on that list, then you cannot file a claim with HRSA. You would need to either sue the manufacturer directly or hold the medical professional who recommended the vaccine liable for medical malpractice if applicable. There Is No Link Between the Vaccine and the Health Condition One common reason why a NVICP claim may be denied is the health condition or side effect is not known to be caused by the vaccine in question. Due to extensive studies into vaccines over the years, the side effects caused by covered vaccines are mostly known. For instance, the MMR vaccine can cause encephalitis on rare occasions. Even if a side effect is not listed on the HRSA’s vaccine injury table, you can still obtain compensation if you can clearly prove there is a connection between the injury and the medication via credible research and medical tests. However, if a condition has been proven to not be connected to vaccines or the link between the health issue and the medication is murky at best, then the claim for compensation may be denied. One example of this situation is the Brian Hooker case. This chemical engineer holds the belief that his son’s autism was caused by vaccines, a theory that has been debunked by scientists in the medical field. However, Hooker still filed a claim for damages with the NVICP. In May 2016, his claim was rejected by the organization for several reasons, including the lack of evidence that vaccines cause autism and the fact that Hooker’s son appeared to have displayed evidence of being autistic before he was vaccinated. When attempting to prove a vaccine caused your injuries, it’s critical you obtain evidence of the connection from legitimate and credible sources. This will increase your chances of getting approved. The Statute of Limitations Has Passed Claims for vaccines may be subjected to a statute of limitations; this means that requests for compensation must be filed within a certain period of time, or else you’ll be barred from filing a claim forever. For example, claims...

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How To Prepare Yourself For A Favorable DUI Court Outcome

Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you have been charged with a DUI, then you may be extremely concerned about your impending court date. You should know that you are not alone. Around 1.5 million people are arrested every year for DUIs. Your first step in making sure that the court proceedings are as favorable as possible is to hire a DUI lawyer, such as one from Hart Law Offices, PC. There are a few other things you should do as well. Do Not Drive On A Suspended License When you were first arrested for the DUI, the police officer likely took your license. Do not panic about this. This is a normal procedure and you were likely given a temporary license and a notice of the suspension. In many cases, you will be able to drive for a short period of time before the suspension goes into effect. For example, in California, you can drive for 30 days with the temporary license until it expires. Your license will be revoked or suspended after this. If you feel like the suspension was unlawful or if you want to contest the suspension, then a review can be scheduled to go over your case.  If you decide not to contest the suspension, then you will be unable to drive for a period of time. This timeframe varies greatly from state to state, and you may lose your license for 3 months, 6 months, or an entire year. Once the suspension is over, you will need to pay a fee to get your license back. The fee is typically a bit over $100. If you want a favorable court outcome, then you absolutely should not drive once your license has been suspended. If you are caught driving with a suspended license, then a separate charge will be added to your record. A judge may see you as someone who cannot follow the law, and you may not be offered probation. If you are, the probation period might be lengthy. Instead of driving with a suspended license, ask your lawyer how you can apply for a restricted license or a special operator’s permit. This type of license will allow you to drive to and from work, school, and alcohol related programs. Be Prepared To Pay A Fine Throughout the entire country, a DUI is classified as a misdemeanor and you are eligible for jail time. Six months is the maximum jail sentence for first time DUI offenders. However, you probably will not have to go to jail at all if you have a fairly clean criminal record. There may be some exceptions if your BAC was extremely high, but probation is much more likely if your BAC was close to the legal limit. In most cases, the judge overseeing your DUI case will ask you to pay a fine for the offense along with the probation. Fines can range from about $500 to $2,000, so be prepared to pay out some cash when you go to court. You should try to secure some money so the fine can be paid in full immediately after your court appearance. Payments can be made to the court in cash, online, or through your lawyer. You can also mail a check or money order to the court or make a credit card payment over the...

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4 Reasons To Use Debt Settlement Instead Of Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Getting into debt is very easy to do, yet getting out of it is not easy in any way. If you are ready to take charge of your finances by getting out of debt, a visit to a lawyer is a good option. Lawyers that specialize in debt solutions are skilled and experienced with numerous types of methods, and two common ones are debt settlement and bankruptcy. As you view these two options, you may want to stick with debt settlement for these three reasons. It Will Not Affect Your Credit As Much Filing for bankruptcy is one of the worst things you can do for your credit, primarily because the bankruptcy will remain on your report for at least seven years. For Chapter 7 cases, it will remain for 10 years. It is reported as a public record, and this is considered a derogatory item.  This is a long time to have to deal with a bankruptcy charge on your credit, and there is nothing you can do to get this removed from your report. Debt settlement is not something that will be reported on your credit report on its own. It may affect the accounts you have on your report, but you are not likely to see it listed as a public record or as a derogatory item. Any accounts you have that are settled may have notes included on them. The notes may state that the accounts were settled for an amount less than what was owed, but this is much better for your credit report than bankruptcy or having your debts listed as unpaid debts. You Could Pay Less If you make too much money, you will not qualify for Chapter 7. Chapter 7 is often the more preferred branch of bankruptcy, because it allows you to get out of paying your unsecured debts. If you have to file Chapter 13, you could end up being required to repay 100% of the debts you owe. With debt settlement, you may be able to get by with repaying only 50% of the debt owed. This percentage is not set in stone, and most creditors have certain percentage guidelines they follow when agreeing to settle a person’s debt. If your lawyer is really good at negotiating, you might be able to pay even less for the debt you owe. The Stigma Is Not As Bad One of the worst parts about filing for bankruptcy is the stigma that goes along with it. You may be asked on loan or job applications about this, and stating that you have filed for bankruptcy might appear as a negative thing. Debt settlement is much more secretive. In fact, you will not have to tell anyone you are filing, and it will never be something you are asked when you apply for a loan. You Can Avoid Court Finally, choosing to use debt settlement instead of bankruptcy will eliminate the need for you to go to court. Going to court takes time and can be extremely intimidating for some people, and it is a required part of all bankruptcy proceedings. If you want to stay out of the courtroom and get rid of your debts without a judge or trustee, choosing debt settlement is a much better choice for you. There...

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Can’t Get Ahead Of Your Medical Debts? Is Bankruptcy The Right Option?

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When you find yourself facing a severe or chronic illness, any pre-illness money worries or woes you may have had are often apt to fly out the window (if at least temporarily). You may begin ordering takeout most nights because you don’t have the time or ability to cook dinner, or your family could be required to incur thousands of dollars in hotel and dining costs if you are admitted as an inpatient at a medical facility far from home. When coupled with medical bills that may or may not be covered by health insurance, these expenses can be enough to tip even the most financially stable families into debt. What are your options if you’ve racked up major bills while undergoing treatment? Read on to learn more about how you may be able to decrease the amount of medical debt you owe without bankruptcy, as well as some situations in which filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection may be your best option. What can you do to eliminate debt incurred during a long-term illness or injury? While suddenly going from being debt-free except a mortgage to owing thousands (or tens of thousands) on credit cards, personal loans, or to a hospital itself can be terrifying, there are always several options that can provide you with some breathing room. Even if debt collectors begin calling you on a daily basis, there are steps you can take to immediately end these calls and begin to put your financial house back in order. It’s important not to panic or to avoid the situation, as doing either will only prolong your debt elimination journey. First, you’ll want to gather all the debts you owe (or could potentially owe). This should include estimation of benefits (EOB) statements from your doctor or hospital, credit card statements, and hospital bills. You may also want to run a copy of your and your spouse’s credit reports to ensure you’re aware of all debts in your name.  If you’re already receiving calls from collection agencies or other creditors about the money you owe, you may want to contact a bankruptcy attorney. Even if you eventually choose not to file for bankruptcy protection, your attorney will be able to communicate with creditors on your behalf and help negotiate settlement (or at least stop them from harassing you while you work on a solution). Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), creditors can be prohibited from contacting you about debts upon your request (with a very limited set of exceptions) and may be fined for any violations of these rules.  Your next option will be to pursue settlement with your creditors. In many cases, hospital programs and grants can help defray the costs of certain medical treatment, and you may find that a collection agency is willing to forgive a sizable portion of your debt in exchange for an immediate cash payment. In other situations, your credit may still be good enough to apply for a 0 percent balance transfer credit card, allowing you to transfer higher-interest debt to an interest-free card to prevent your debt from rising while you repay it. When may declaring bankruptcy be the best option? If your debts have risen to a level that will make them nearly impossible to repay,...

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