Vance P. Truman, Attorney at Law
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Ohio struggles with several types of debt

Debt can hang around our necks like a stone, but it is always surmountable. Mild debt problems can often be solved with restructuring, and bankruptcy -- never an enjoyable prospect -- can actually help people return to financial health from under the pressure of creditors.

Ohio is not immune from debt problems, as it was hit hard by the mortgage crisis of the first decade of the 21st century and now faces a growing balloon of student and consumer debt. Home ownership dropped 1.5 percent in the state since the beginning of the century.

The average Ohioan carries just over $6,500 in credit card debt, more than a thousand dollars over the national average. Meanwhile, the median annual income of the Buckeye State rests around $6,000 below the United States' normal level. More than a third of a million Ohioans are out of work as well.

If you are struggling with debt, the first step is to recognize the limitations of debt collectors and other agents. Debt collection agencies cannot charge more than 3 percent interest of the federal short-term loan rate on outstanding debts. If wages are being garnished by a lawful court order, the maximum level is 75 percent of disposable after-tax weekly earnings or 30 times the federal hourly minimum wage.

An attorney may help those struggling with serious debt problems to restructure their accounts into a single payment that is easier to manage through underemployment or other restrictions to income. Legal representation can also help organize assets during a bankruptcy filing, which is a useful tool for dealing with the most serious types of debt.

Source: National Debt Relief, "Ohio Debt Relief Information," accessed Jan. 11, 2018

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