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Stephen Otto - Bankruptcy Attorney
Serving Western Pennsylvania


Featured Article - Bankruptcy Overview

Many times we look for a way to solve our debt responsibilities, often times not knowing the option we choose may not be the right one. Everyday in this business I face the same questions, speaking from a debt negotiators perspective debt settlement may or may not be the best way out.

Everyday in this business I face the same questions, speaking from a debt negotiators perspective debt settlement may or may not be the best way out. I will outline some facts that must be kept in mind before deciding to negotiate settlements on unsecured debt. Many debt management programs do not touch on these subjects but I feel they are extremely important to go over before joining a debt settlement program.

Are accounts current or delinquent? In order to negotiate settlements on unsecured debt accounts must be delinquent. Interest rates and finance charges will continue to accumulate on any account that payments are not being made on. Settlements will be based on the balance at time of settlement not when payments where stopped. Do not enter a program that advises to stop making payments to creditors, this will have severe consequences on your credit rating. If accounts are delinquent debt settlement is definitely the program for you because the creditor is looking to save some of the money lent.

Reason or reasons for the amount or amounts owed. Telling a creditor one cannot pay them back on the money used for a wedding is not going to get much sympathy, this was a luxury expense not an emergency situation. The reason for having amassed debt has to be a valid reason and not paying it back has to be a better reason. Such reasons could be situations such as job loss or illness. Not too many other reasons are going to get you great settlements or sympathy.

Are you currently employed? If the creditors find out a person who is delinquent on his/her accounts and is trying to negotiate a settlement is making an amount of money they feel is enough to pay back the debt owed, debt settlement is ruled out. In this case consolidation may be a better option. Be prepared to provide a financial statement if need be. Also, salary may be subject to garnishment if the account is extremely delinquent.

Property or assets. Homes may have liens placed on them, savings or checking accounts may be attached to. If one is planning to negotiate a settlement it is a smart decision to use the equity on the house to generate funds or cash pension plans to help out. Also, friends and family may be a great source for loans.

Spouse. Even if the accounts belong to one spouse the other spouse's income information will be looked at and definitely taken into consideration. After all it is now a household.

Cash advances. If any have been made in the last year debt settlement is out of the question, again, here consolidation may be the best option.

Prior credit history. If there is a history of bankruptcy or other debt management programs this can affect the outcome of settlement offers either negatively or positive. It depends which credit card company you are dealing with. On all of the above points different companies have different guidelines.

There are many more factors involved in the outcome of wanting to negotiate settlements on unsecured debt, the points above are only but a few of them. Make sure to ask as many questions as possible when seeking debt relief, remember one needs to make the right choice on the option taken.

Dan Delgado is an active unsecured debt negotiator, he has experience negotiating personal as well as business debt. For more information please visit

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