Sevierville Legal Blog

Dealing with a debt collection lawsuit

Many people in Tennessee struggle to make ends meet. They may be facing mounting credit card bills, medical costs, car loans and more. When people have difficulty paying their bills on time, they may begin to receive calls and letters from collection agencies seeking to be paid for the debt. In some cases, people may even be sued by the debt collectors. Over 70 million Americans have dealt with debt collection agencies, and their tactics can be disturbing at times. Around one-quarter of people felt threatened while dealing with the companies.

It is important for people to understand what they can do if they are sued by a debt collector. People who owe money have rights under the law that must be protected. When people are facing a debt collection lawsuit, they can respond via an official answer through the court. In this document, it can be particularly important not to admit responsibility for the sum owed. Instead, the respondent can demand that the creditor show proof of the debt. Responding in a timely manner can help people avoid additional penalties.

Are child support amounts the same in each state?

Child support amounts vary significantly from state to state. This might be of interest to Tennessee parents who receive or pay child support. While logic dictates that child support payments should reflect the cost of living, a variety of factors actually influence how much child support is awarded in each state. Additionally, while the federal government does provide guidelines, it also allows each state to set up their own formulas for calculating child support.

Child support is one of the most important decisions to be negotiated after a split. The amount of support awarded can make a deep impact in a child's life, so it is a delicate process. Still, according to a study by Custody X Change, a company that provides a web application that helps parents set support agreements, the difference in payment amounts could be as much as 2/3 of the total amount. For example, in Massachusetts, which is the state with the highest average support payment, a divorced parent of 2 children ages 7 and 10, can receive $1,187. However, if they move to Vermont, that amount can decrease by half to $519. Moving south to Virginia can decrease the original amount by as much as 2/3.

Credit card debt increasing for millennials

Since they came of age during the stock market crash on Wall Street in 2008, many millennials have been wary of taking on debt from big banks. Unfortunately, new research shows that unpaid debts on credit cards are increasing for this younger generation. For Americans age 18 to 29, delinquencies 90 days or older surpassed 8%, which is the highest it has been in more than eight years. There are several factors driving this increase.

While older generations tend to favor credit cards with cash-back offers and low interest, millennials are more enticed by immediate rewards, like signup bonuses and extravagant gifts, even though the average interest rates on credit cards is 18%. Some cards have interest rates higher than 25%. Another factor for this debt may be a feeling that the economy is strong and will continue to remain that way.

Judge rules immigrants’ lawsuit can move forward

The Trump administration's focus on U.S. immigration reform was dealt a recent blow in a class action suit brought about by four young-adult immigrants who allege that they were either abused, abandoned, or neglected. Their ultimate goal? To seek Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which will allow them to remain in the country even if their parents face deportation. The Trump administrators had filed a motion to dismiss the case. A motion that was denied. 

 

Social Security eligibility for divorced spouses

Divorcing spouses in Tennessee and around the country who have never worked or only worked part-time have a lot at stake during alimony negotiations, but these discussions are usually less contentious when the couples involved have been married for 10 years or longer. That is because divorced spouses who were married for at least a decade are eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on the contributions made by their former wives or husbands.

When these spouses wait until they reach full retirement age to begin receiving Social Security benefits, they are entitled to up to half of the benefits their former husband or wife will receive. They can start receiving these benefits even if their former spouse has not yet applied, providing that they have not remarried and their individual benefits are lower than their former spouse's benefits. The full retirement age varies according to an individual's year of birth. Americans born after 1960 reach this milestone at age 67.

Marriages less likely to last when wives earn more than husbands

Some men in Tennessee are perfectly fine with being stay-at-home dads or having a wife who earns more. However, not all men have this attitude even though nearly 40% of wives earn more than their husbands according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. Census Bureau stats also show that when a wife is the higher-earning spouse, her income is reported for census purposes at nearly 2 percentage points lower than it really is.

Greater social and cultural forces still place a higher value on husbands who make more than their wives. There's some research showing that couples are less likely to marry or more likely to split when the man isn't the higher earner. Conflicting research suggests that even when the wife earns more, couples are likely to stay together; this may be because of an inability to afford to live separately or because the higher-earning spouse has health insurance and similar factors.

Divorce property division for stay-at-home parents

Around 25% of mothers in Tennessee and across the country stay home from the workplace to raise their children as do 7% of fathers. This choice is widely praised socially. Over half of Americans surveyed say they think it is better when a mother can stay at home than go to work or even have a stay-at-home father. Being a stay-at-home mother often involves more than just providing childcare and education. As a result of the parent at home's time and availability, the parent in the workforce can work long hours, go on business trips and develop his or her career far more extensively than if they had to share parenting duties or rely on traditional paid childcare providers.

Therefore, stay-at-home parents also contribute to the development of the working parent's career, allowing them to earn promotions, start their own business or develop a higher income. However, many of these stay-at-home parents often gave up their own careers to do so. Around 10% of all mothers with a master's degree or higher stay home to raise their children, keeping them out of the workplace. The situation can become more complicated when divorce is involved.

Tasks to complete after a court grants the divorce

In Tennessee, many couples find it painful to even think about getting divorced. The entire procedure of filling out legal documents rivals the strong emotions and conflicting thoughts felt by both spouses. Feeling burdened with sleepless nights and grief, couples may benefit from working with an experienced family law attorney. Ex-spouses could still have more work to do even after the divorce decree has been signed by both parties.

After making important decisions about the division of properties, assets often require changing titles from joint to single ownership. For instance, a house formerly owned by both spouses will belong to only one spouse after the divorce takes place. Therefore, the title needs to change to reflect that the property is now owned by a single person instead of a married couple. In this situation, a quitclaim deed usually suffices. Ideally, the mortgage should also reflect the change. Otherwise, the person who no longer owns the home may still owe mortgage payments to the lender.

Medical bills may surprise patients

When people in Tennessee go to the hospital, they often check carefully to make sure they are choosing a provider that is in-network for their insurance company. This should allow their healthcare treatment to be fully covered to the extent possible under their insurance. However, many people continue to face surprise medical bills that can be costly after a hospital stay. Almost one out of every seven patients receives a bill for an out-of-network service as part of an in-network hospital admission.

These bills cover a range of medical treatments and healthcare providers. It is not possible for patients to anticipate or predict the bills that they will receive after they have already chosen an in-network hospital to receive treatment. For example, anesthesiology services associated with surgery were linked to 16.5 percent of out-of-network claims. Other medical specialties in the hospital also led to these bills, including 12.6 percent associated with primary care and 11 percent with emergency medicine. This means that even when people seek emergency treatment at a hospital in their insurer's network, they can still find themselves facing hefty medical bills later on.

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Sevierville, TN 37862

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