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Curtis Lee, JD

Curtis Lee, JD

Legal Writer, Retired Attorney

Curtis Lee is a writer and co-owner at Marvel Hill Freelance. Curtis earned his Bachelor of Science in Business from Wake Forest University and his Juris Doctor (JD) from Villanova University School of Law. After graduating law school, Curtis had the honor of clerking for a state court Judge in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. Following the clerkship, Curtis spent several years in private practice engaged in civil litigation handling first party property insurance matters. Most of Curtis’ writing covers a wide range of legal topics, including bankruptcy, criminal law, family law, immigration law, insurance, employment, defamation, and personal injury. He also has experience writing about other subjects, including education, finance, disaster preparedness, and the U.S. armed forces.


All ArticlesAfter BankruptcyBankruptcy BasicsCarsChapter 11Chapter 13Chapter 7Consumer RightsCredit Card DebtCredit IssuesDebtsDeciding To FileDuring Bankruptcy CaseEmploymentHousingLeasesMeans TestNon BankruptcyProperty ExemptionsStudent LoansTaxes

Articles written by Curtis Lee, JD

How To Win Against Revco Solutions

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated March 25, 2024

If Revco Solutions tries to collect a debt from you, you have options and can fight back. The first thing you should do is have Revco Solutions validate the debt to confirm they have authorization to collect it. Then, verify that the debt is yours and the amount is correct. If you disagree with the debt, you can dispute it. If the debt’s details are correct, you can try to negotiate a settlement for less than what you owe. If Revco Solutions sues you, you can still negotiate the debt, but you must also respond to the summons and complaint. Otherwise, you risk them garnishing your paycheck or bank account.

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How To Deal With Velocity Investments

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated March 1, 2024

Velocity Investments LLC is a debt collector that specializes in recovering consumer debts, like personal loans, credit cards, medical bills, and utility bills. If you receive a call or letter from Velocity Investments, make sure they’ve validated the debt in writing. If the debt is valid, you can choose to dispute the debt, negotiate a debt settlement, or ignore the debt (not recommended). This guide goes over your options and the debt validation process.

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How To Win Against MBA Law

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated February 24, 2024

If MBA Law contacts you to collect a debt or tries to sue you for a debt, you have rights and can fight back. To start, have them validate the debt. If they can validate the debt but you disagree with it, you can dispute it. If the debt is valid and you agree that you owe it, you can pay it off in full or try to settle the account for less than what you owe. These negotiations are common with debt collectors like MBA Law. If MBA Law sues you, it’s best to respond quickly, or you risk losing the lawsuit and potentially having your paycheck garnished.

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How To Avoid Debt Relief & Credit Repair Scams

Written by Curtis Lee, JDLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated September 25, 2023

Debt relief scams aren’t always easy to spot. However, they have several traits that usually indicate they’re a scam: - The scammer contacts you first. - They charge an upfront fee. - They won’t provide a written contract. - They ask you to stop communicating with your creditors. - They make exaggerated promises, such as instant student loan forgiveness or overnight credit repair. To avoid falling for a scam, research potential debt relief companies online or skip the research and work with an accredited nonprofit credit counseling agency.

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What Is a Debt Validation Letter and How Do You Get One?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated September 14, 2023

A debt validation letter is a letter that includes basic information about a debt someone is trying to collect from you. If a debt collector is trying to collect an unpaid debt, they’re required by law to send you a debt validation letter before contacting you or within five days of their first contact with you.

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New York State Wage Garnishment Laws: Your Complete Guide

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 23, 2023

Most creditors must get a court order to garnish your wages if you live in New York. Two exceptions are garnishments for public debts (like past-due taxes and family debts (like child support). The law limits how much of your weekly earnings a creditor can take through wage garnishment. These limits vary based on the minimum wage where you live and the type of debt you owe. Finally, an employer can’t fire you because you have a wage garnishment order against you.

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How To Vacate a Default Judgment in New York: An Overview

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 23, 2023

If you get sued and you don’t respond to the lawsuit’s complaint and summons, the court can enter a default judgment. But you can have this judgment vacated or removed. To do so, you need to have a reasonable excuse for not appearing in court and a defense to the allegations against you. You also have grounds to vacate if the person suing you didn’t properly serve the required documents. You can speed up the process by using an Order to Show Cause form.

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How Do You Respond To a Debt Collection Lawsuit in New York?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 21, 2023

If you get sued by a creditor looking to collect a debt, you’ll be notified of the lawsuit with a summons and complaint. In New York, you have 20 or 30 days to respond to (answer) the debt collection lawsuit. The time frame depends on how you were served notice of the lawsuit. In your response (answer) you’ll want to address each issue listed in the complaint and assert your affirmative defenses and counterclaims. Then, file your answer with the court and send the plaintiff a copy. This article walks you through the process and potential defenses.

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A Guide to New York State Debt Collection Laws & Regulations

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 21, 2023

Federal and state laws protect New Yorkers against illegal and unfair debt collection practices. At the state level, the new Consumer Credit Fairness Act strengthens consumer protections in debt collection lawsuits. Under the law, new notice requirements apply for debt collectors that sue borrowers, and the statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit dropped from six years to three years.

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How Is Unemployment Calculated?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 16, 2023

There are several factors to consider when determining unemployment. These factors affect your eligibility as well as how much unemployment you can receive. When applying for unemployment, be sure to carefully review your state’s unemployment rules. Here are some general guidelines to give you a rough idea of what to expect.

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Which Debt To Pay Off First?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 16, 2023

If you’re looking to pay off debt, there’s a good chance you have more than one to choose from. So which debt do you focus on first? There are many factors to consider, such as interest rates, debt size, and type of debt. Another important factor is the status of your personal finances. This article will examine these factors, how they affect which debt you should pay off first, and identify some strategies to help you pay off your debts.

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Help! I’m in Debt and I Need Relief!

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 10, 2023

If you’re struggling to successfully manage your debts, you should know that you’re not alone. Whether it’s student loans, medical bills, or credit card debt, there are several debt relief options available. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages and they don’t all work for all kinds of debts or all borrowers.

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Why Is the Trustee Asking Creditors To File a Proof of Claim?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 8, 2023

If your bankruptcy trustee is asking your creditors to file a proof of claim, it’s likely because the trustee discovered non-exempt assets in your case. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are no-asset cases. But if you have non-exempt property or assets, the trustee can liquidate or sell them. The funds from the sale are then used to repay your creditors at least part of what you owe. If a creditor wants to recover money through the liquidation process, they have to file paperwork called a proof of claim.

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What Is a Deficiency Judgment?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 4, 2023

A deficiency balance is the amount needed to pay off the remaining mortgage debt after a foreclosed property is sold. Basically, it means there wasn't enough money from the sale to fully pay off the mortgage loan amount. If the lender gets court approval to collect this money from you, this is called a deficiency judgment. Deficiency balances are common following foreclosure sales. If your home was foreclosed on and sold, the mortgage company may pursue you to get you to pay the deficiency balance. But this will depend on the amount of the deficiency and state law.

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Is Debt Consolidation Right for You?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 28, 2023

If you have several debts that you're struggling to keep track of, debt consolidation may be a good option for it. It allows you to combine multiple debts and make one monthly payment. You may also be able to lower your payment amount and/or interest rate. Two popular ways to consolidate your debt are a debt management plan or debt consolidation loan.

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What Does Pawned Property Mean for My Bankruptcy?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 28, 2023

You usually have a limited time period to get pawned property back. If you're within the time period, you still have a legal right to the property, so you need to list it on your bankruptcy forms. The automatic stay will also buy you an additional 60 days to repay the loan and get your property back. If the time period to get your pawned property back has passed, filing bankruptcy won't help you get your property back, but it can help you discharge the pawn debt. You can only get your property back by negotiating with the pawnbroker.

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Can I Settle My Tax Debt With The IRS For Less?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 28, 2023

Few debts are as difficult to deal with as back taxes, so it’s sometimes surprising to learn that there are several methods available to reduce your tax liability with the IRS for less than what you owe. This article will explain what these options entail, how they work, and other information to help you decide if they’re options that you should consider when dealing with your tax bill.

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Factors Contributing to Debt Consolidation Loan Rates

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 28, 2023

Choosing the best debt consolidation method requires you to take several things into consideration. For instance, are you looking for a fixed-rate loan or balance transfer? Or how long do you want to keep the debt consolidated? These are all questions you should be able to answer by the time you’re ready to start your application. Below is a guide that can help you decide which loan or balance transfer method will work best for your situation.

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How To Stop a Foreclosure

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 28, 2023

If you find yourself facing a foreclosure, it might seem like there’s nothing you can do to fight the process. But depending on your financial situation and the state you’re in, there may be several options to get back on track with your mortgage payments, reduce the impact on your credit report, or stop your lender from foreclosing on your home. This article examines the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosures, the different stages of a foreclosure, and strategies you can use to stop a foreclosure.

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What Happens to the Automatic Stay if My Bankruptcy Case Is Dismissed?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 27, 2023

If your bankruptcy case gets dismissed, your debts won’t be discharged and the automatic stay goes away. Without the protection of the automatic stay, debt collectors and creditors can resume collection activities. If your case is dismissed, you can file a new case or file a motion to reinstate your previous case. If this happens, there may be limits to the automatic stay.

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Debt Management or Debt Settlement: Which Is Better?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 26, 2023

Debt management is a way to reorganize your debt and make it easier to make your monthly payments. Debt settlement is a way to negotiate an agreement with a particular lender to pay less than what you owe but have the account be considered paid in full. Deciding which is better for you will depend on what kinds of debt you have and whether or not you're able to make a large payment (debt settlement) or just need more manageable monthly payments (debt management).

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Chapter 15 Bankruptcy – The Basics

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 26, 2023

Chapter 15 bankruptcy isn’t for the reorganization, discharge, or liquidation of debt. Instead, it’s a set of rules and procedures that determine how the United States court system will handle foreign bankruptcy proceedings that involve assets in the U.S. This article details the history as well as the ins and outs of Chapter 15 bankruptcy, as well as situations that might benefit from pursuing Chapter 15 over other forms of bankruptcy.

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Can I Keep Money I Receive From a Lawsuit When I File Bankruptcy?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 26, 2023

If you bring a lawsuit or have the right to bring one against someone for a personal injury case, that's considered an asset during your bankruptcy case. Just like other assets, this may be protected by a bankruptcy exemption. If the potential personal injury reward isn't protected or fully protected by an exemption, the nonexempt portion of the award can be used to pay off your creditors as part of your bankruptcy case.

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How To Get a Debt Consolidation Loan if You Have Bad Credit

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 25, 2023

If you’re struggling to pay off your debt, there are various forms of debt relief available. One common type is debt consolidation, combining two or more debts into a single account to make the debts easier to manage and to save money on interest payments. But, getting a debt consolidation loan can be difficult if you don’t have good credit or a high FICO score. That said, there are still multiple debt consolidation loan options for you to consider. Read on to learn more.

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Can You File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Online Yourself?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 20, 2023

Though there are online services that claim they can help you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy by yourself, the success rate for people who file Chapter 13 without a lawyer is low. That’s because Chapter 13 cases include multiple types of debts and a repayment plan that can last from three to five years. It's not uncommon for filers to experience issues or changes while their Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is open, and it can be difficult to deal with those without legal help.

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My Home Is Being Foreclosed – Now What?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 20, 2023

A foreclosure is the process by which a lender takes possession of a borrower’s property after it becomes clear that the borrower will no longer be able to pay their debt. It’s often referred to as losing your home to foreclosure.

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Can’t Afford Your Car Payment? Here Are Your Options

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 20, 2023

If you can’t afford to make your car payments, it might seem like losing your vehicle is inevitable. Thankfully, that’s not true. While your chances of keeping your car are better if you have a high credit score, you can avoid defaulting on your auto loan even if you don’t have the best credit history. You have several options, some of which will allow you to keep your car and others that require you to let it go. This article will examine what those options are.

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What You Need To Know About Renting During and After Bankruptcy

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 20, 2023

If you're a renter when you file bankruptcy, you may be able to stay in your rental during and after your bankruptcy case. But this can be difficult if you file Chapter 7 and you owe a lot of past-due rent. In Chapter 7, you'll probably have to get current with your rent within 30 days of filing your bankruptcy case. And you need to keep paying your rent as it comes due while your case is pending. Chapter 13 allows you to pay your past-due rent over 3-5 years, but you'll want to consider your whole financial picture before you take this route.

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Do You Need a Mortgage Loan Modification Attorney?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 12, 2023

A loan modification lowers your monthly mortgage payments by reducing your interest rate or increasing the length of the home loan. To qualify for a loan modification, you often need to prove that you’ve faced financial hardship. You also have to meet other requirements set by your lender. Hiring a loan modification attorney can help ensure the process goes smoothly and is successful — especially if you’re facing foreclosure. That said, you aren’t required to hire a lawyer as part of the process.

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A Review of the New York Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 7, 2023

Everyone who lives in the U.S. is protected from unfair debt collection practices under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). States like New York have enacted state laws to address unfair debt collection practices as well. New York’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is similar to the FDCPA in the ways it limits when and how debt collectors can communicate with consumers. Unlike the federal law, the state law doesn’t allow consumers to directly sue those who violate the state law. They must file a complaint with the state attorney general who will pursue legal action.

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How Foreclosure Affects Homeowners and Lenders

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 7, 2023

A foreclosure occurs when a borrower defaults on their mortgage loan. Then the lender steps in to take back the home because it served as collateral for the loan. This is a very stressful event for homeowners. Foreclosure can also be initiated by a homeowners’ association (HOA) when a member is behind on their HOA fees or by the IRS or local tax department when the property owner is behind on their taxes.  Most often, a bank, mortgage company, or other lender is the party that forecloses on a home.

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How To Avoid a Foreclosure Judgment

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 7, 2023

If you can’t get current with your mortgage loan, you can expect your lender to begin the foreclosure process. This often involves filing a foreclosure lawsuit and asking a court to issue a foreclosure judgment. If your lender gets this judgment, they’ll sell your property to someone else and use the proceeds to cover the mortgage balance you still owe. This article will explain the foreclosure process. It’ll also cover what you can do as a homeowner to prevent your mortgage loan servicer from getting a foreclosure judgment against you.

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Can I Pay Off My Student Loans Early?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated May 15, 2023

One commonly asked question is if college graduates should pay off their student loans early. The short answer to that question is, “it depends.” This article will examine the various factors to consider before paying off student loans early. And if repaying student loans ahead of schedule is the right thing for you, we’ll also discuss how you can go about doing this.

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New York State Pre- and Post-Judgment Interest Rates

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated April 10, 2023

If a creditor wins a court judgment against you, you’ll have to pay the money judgment amount and any interest the judge orders. This can be pre-judgment interest, which is the interest added to the debt owed. There’s also post-judgment interest, which is the interest added to the amount of the money judgment. On April 30, 2022, the judgment interest accrual rate will drop from 9% to 2% for debt collection cases in New York state.

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Debt Relief Programs for New York Residents

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated April 10, 2023

If you’re a New York resident who’s struggling with overwhelming debt, there are several debt relief options you can pursue. You can enroll in a debt management program run by a nonprofit credit counseling agency, apply for a debt consolidation loan, or try debt settlement. You may also want to consider filing bankruptcy. Each option has its pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which is best for you.

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Late Credit Card Payment? Here’s What To Do

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated June 21, 2022

If you pay a credit card bill late, you may face late fees or see your interest rate increase to a penalty APR. If the payment is more than 30 days late, it will be reported to the credit bureaus as well, which can hurt your credit score. Your credit score shouldn't be affected if you're less than 30 days late with your payments. You can also call to ask your credit card company to waive the late fee and/or reinstate your regular interest rate. If you have a habit of paying on time, you have better a chance of the credit card company granting those requests.

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Should I File Bankruptcy for My Business?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated June 1, 2022

If you're struggling to make ends meet for your business you can dissolve your business under state law or file bankruptcy. The type of bankruptcy you'll file depends largely on the business's structure. You can file personal bankruptcy — Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 —bankruptcy if you're a sole proprietor. If your business is an LLC, corporation, or other legal entity, you may want to file Chapter 11 instead. It's often good to get legal help when filing a business bankruptcy.

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What Is the Presumption of Abuse in Bankruptcy?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated June 1, 2022

You need to meet certain eligibility requirements to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is higher than the median income for a similar-sized household in your state, this flags the bankruptcy court of a "presumption of abuse." This doesn't mean you can't file Chapter 7 or that you've abused the system. It does mean you must do more calculations as part of the means test to prove that you don't make enough money to repay your debts and that you aren't taking advantage of the bankruptcy process.

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What Is Non-Exempt Equity?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated May 25, 2022

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are exemptions to protect some of the equity you have in your assets, like a home, car, or household items. If the exemption for a certain item doesn’t cover all the equity you have in it, you have non-exempt equity. Depending on how much non-exempt you have, the bankruptcy trustee may liquidate (sell) the item and give the proceeds to your creditors.

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How To Deal With Creditors That Contact You After You File Bankruptcy

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated May 17, 2022

If a debt collector contacts you after you've filed your bankruptcy case, you'll first want to make sure they know about your case. If it's been less than two weeks since you filed, they may not have been informed yet. If they weren't aware, let them know. If they indicate they know you filed bankruptcy but they refuse to stop trying to collect the debt, you can notify the bankruptcy court or speak with an attorney. Creditors aren't allowed to contact you after you file your case because of the automatic stay.

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Can Bankruptcy Stop Eviction?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated May 11, 2022

An automatic stay goes into effect as soon as you file bankruptcy. This temporarily stops all debt collection activity, including eviction actions, as long as the landlord hasn’t already received a judgment in their favor. The automatic stay isn’t a permanent solution, though. It’s only a temporary measure that may buy you some time to deal with the eviction or find other housing.

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When Is an Eviction Illegal?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated April 12, 2022

If you’re a tenant, your landlord has a right to evict you in certain situations but the eviction must follow state eviction laws. Let’s take a look at what may happen if your landlord illegally forces you to vacate a rental unit in violation of state law.

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How Do Deficiency Judgments Work in Florida?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated April 12, 2022

When the sale price of an asset — like a home or car — is less than the debt owed to a lender, a deficiency balance arises. Florida law allows lenders to pursue deficiency balances from borrowers once a court grants them a deficiency judgment. But sometimes, borrowers are protected from collection efforts.

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Free Foreclosure Lawyers: How To Deal With a Foreclosure Without Money

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 31, 2021

The majority of home mortgage foreclosures happen because homeowners don’t have enough money and stop making their mortgage payments. But many times borrowers have a legitimate defense against foreclosure. Or they’re willing to accept the foreclosure but could use some help in making sure their rights are protected during the foreclosure process. If you can't afford to pay for a foreclosure defense attorney, there are other options you can use to help you through a foreclosure proceeding. You can handle the foreclosure on your own, set up a free consultation with an attorney, contact a free legal aid society, or look for a pro bono lawyer.

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Guide to Foreclosure — Important Questions & Answers

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 12, 2021

Many homes and other real estate in the United States have been purchased using mortgage loans. Having a mortgage means that the borrower has legal ownership of the property, but the property serves as a collateral to secure the loan. If homeowners don’t make their mortgage payments, their property may become subject to foreclosure. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of foreclosures, including how they work and ways that homeowners can defend themselves during the foreclosure process.

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When Does the Foreclosure Process Actually Start?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 12, 2021

Foreclosure can be a confusing and complicated process. Each state has its own laws outlining the foreclosure process. Despite the differences, most foreclosures have a pre-foreclosure period. In this article, we’ll discuss the pre-foreclosure period and the major steps in the foreclosure process.

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Rent Payment Delay: Options For Tenants

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 3, 2021

If you’re facing late fees because you’re behind on your rent, you may be worried about receiving an eviction notice. Fortunately, there are tools at your disposal to help you avoid eviction. You can also familiarize yourself with the regulations put in place to protect renters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Voluntary Foreclosure: Could It Be an Advantage?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 29, 2021

Voluntary foreclosures are often preferred over traditional foreclosures because they can save time, money, and stress for all involved. But despite these benefits, borrowers should carefully consider the potential drawbacks.

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What To Expect If Your Landlord Is Facing Foreclosure

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 26, 2021

Despite most states providing substantial tenants’ rights, leases generally don’t offer renters the type of legal protections that landlords have during a foreclosure. If you’re a tenant going through this stressful experience, here's an overview of what to expect, including what your legal rights and obligations are and how they interact with the rights of the old owner and new owner of the rental property.

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Life After Foreclosure: Rebuilding Your Credit and Getting Back on Track

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 2, 2021

A foreclosure can have a negative effect on your credit score, not only during and after the process but also for several years after. If you’re thinking about buying a house again within the next few years, make sure you’re doing everything you can to prepare for your mortgage application to go smoothly.

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Can the IRS Take Your Home if You Owe Back Taxes?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 31, 2021

The IRS can take your home and sell it if you’re behind on your taxes. But before the IRS seizes your home, they’ll often use other tax debt collection tools. These include the federal tax lien, bank levy, or wage garnishment. Because of the time and money it takes to seize and sell a home with a tax levy, it’s usually a last resort for the IRS. Instead, the agency usually starts by using a levy to take cash assets.

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How Does Debt Consolidation Work?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 30, 2021

Debt consolidation allows you to simplify your debt repayment by combining multiple debts with a consolidation loan or debt management plan. This way you only have to make one monthly payment on the consolidated debt. Both consolidation options allow you to lower your interest rate and monthly payment, which also helps make your debt more manageable. This can help you make on-time payment and avoid missing payments.

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Foreclosure Defense Lawyers: How They Can Help & What To Expect

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 29, 2021

If a lender is trying to foreclose on your home or real estate, you may be wondering if it’s worth hiring a foreclosure lawyer to represent you against the mortgage company. Before you decide to hire an attorney to handle your foreclosure, you’ll want to consider many factors. This article will address why you might want to hire a foreclosure attorney and if you do, what you can expect it to cost.

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Short Sale vs. Foreclosure: What’s the Difference?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 24, 2021

If you’re a homeowner who is unable to make your mortgage payments, you might be facing the potential of foreclosure. One common method of avoiding the foreclosure process is a short sale. What exactly is a short sale and how is it different from a foreclosure? Are there any reasons to choose one instead of the other? And are there any ways to avoid foreclosure besides short sales? The following piece will answer those questions and offer additional information helpful to those who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments.

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Can the Bank Repossess My Car?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 24, 2021

This article provides an overview of the auto repossession process. It includes information about what a lender will do after they repossess your car, what legal rights you have, and the options you have available to get your car back.

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How Does Repossession Work?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 24, 2021

Repossession happens when a lender takes your property after you miss one or more payments on the debt secured by the property. There are different types of loans, and not all loans allow for repossession.

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What Is a Foreclosure Deficiency Judgment & How Does It Work?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 12, 2021

A deficiency judgment is a court order granting a lender the right to collect a deficiency balance. A deficiency balance is the amount of money a borrower owes a lender even after the lender has foreclosed on the borrower’s home. This can occur if the property is worth less than the balance on the mortgage loan.

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Foreclosure Attorney Fees & Costs

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 11, 2021

Even in situations where you know foreclosure is inevitable, having an attorney can assist you with other goals like minimizing the damage to your credit score or negotiating foreclosure alternatives with the bank. But before you hire a foreclosure attorney, you need to be aware that it can get expensive. In this article, we’ll explain how these legal fees and costs work and what you should expect if you hire legal counsel for your foreclosure action.

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The 2 Types of Real Estate Tax Sales — Know the Difference

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 11, 2021

A real estate tax sale occurs when a government entity puts a piece of real estate up for sale to recover past-due property taxes the owner hasn’t paid. There are two main types of tax sales: tax lien sales and tax deed sales. There are both state and municipal laws that govern tax sales.

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How To Draft a Persuasive Debt Settlement Letter

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated October 5, 2021

Many borrowers face challenges with personal debts. Luckily, there are many debt relief options. Debt settlement is one of the most advertised and for good reason. It’s often used for credit card debts and allows borrowers with unmanageable debt to pay off one or more debts for less than the full amount. The creditor then forgives the remaining debt. This may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. How well it works for you will depend on your financial situation and whether you choose to hire a debt settlement company to help you or do the debt settlement process yourself. This article will explain how to handle debt settlement on your own and how to write the best debt settlement letter possible.

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Does Paying Off Collections Accounts Improve Your Credit Score?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated September 22, 2021

Having collections accounts on your credit report is bad for your credit score. But paying off your collections accounts may not improve your credit score. It will depend on which credit scoring model is used to calculate your score and what other items are on your credit report. That said, there are many good reasons to pay off accounts in collections, even if you don't see an immediate bump to your credit score.

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Smart Money Moves if You Have a 400 Credit Score

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated September 22, 2021

Having a good credit score means it’s easier to get approved for a loan, land a job, and find an apartment. It also means that you can save a lot of money with lower interest rates and insurance premiums. Unfortunately, a poor credit score, such as one around 400, can make it harder to get good terms on a major credit purchase such as a car or a house, if you can get approved for terms at all. It might feel like there’s a lot of bad news for people with a poor credit history. But the good news is that with a bit of patience and sound financial decision-making, you can increase your credit score. This article will discuss what it means to have a 400 credit score, how it affects your chances of getting approved for loans or housing, and what you can do to improve your score.

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What Are My Rights When a Debt Collector Is Threatening To Sue Me?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated September 17, 2021

Being sued by a debt collector can be a scary thing, but you have rights that protect you from harrassment and abusive collection practices. These rights and the rules debt collectors must follow are outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Protections Act. Learn what they mean for you and how to respond to a debt collector that has violated these rules. Also, find out what steps you can take if a debt collector has filed a lawsuit against you.

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9 Strategies You Can Use To Pay Off Debt

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 16, 2021

We all want to get rid of our debts, but paying them off soon isn’t a practical option for many of us. Having a solid strategy can help you make progress with your debts and regain control of your finances. But some strategies work better for some types of debt than others. Here are nine strategies you can use to get started with paying down your debt faster.

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My Unemployment Was Denied in the Middle of the Pandemic!

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated August 16, 2021

Your claim for unemployment benefits could get denied for several reasons. But the arrival of the coronavirus public health emergency has meant that it’s been harder for unemployment offices to deny unemployment claims. But despite the expansion of unemployment eligibility in the United States, your claim could still get incorrectly denied. If this happens, there’s an appeals process to confirm if the decision to deny your claim was correct. In this article, we’ll explain how Congress and states expanded their unemployment insurance programs. We’ll also examine why your state’s unemployment agency might deny your request and how you can appeal that decision.

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Help! A Creditor Has a Judgment Against Me!

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 20, 2021

If you have outstanding debt, it could lead the creditor to sue you and if the lawsuit results in a judgment, they become a judgment creditor. In that case, you become a judgment debtor. But what exactly is a judgment and what does that mean for you? The purpose of this article is to answer that question. We’ll also provide an overview of civil judgments and collection efforts, especially those arising from debt collection litigation.

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Can I Sell My House Before Foreclosure?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 19, 2021

Foreclosures are lose-lose propositions for almost everyone involved. The good news is that there are several ways to avoid a foreclosure. One of the best options is selling the property before a foreclosure action is complete. In this guide, we’ll explain how you can sell your house to avoid completion of the foreclosure process. We’ll also discuss other options you can consider if selling your house for a profit isn’t possible at this time.

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How To File Bankruptcy for Free in California Without a Lawyer

Written by Curtis Lee, JDLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 28, 2023

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have to be scary and confusing. We provide helpful tips and resources to help you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state without a lawyer.

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How to File Bankruptcy for Free in Oklahoma

Written by Curtis Lee, JDLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 3, 2023

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have to be scary and confusing. We provide helpful tips and resources to help you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state without a lawyer.

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Texas Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated June 1, 2022

If you want to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Texas, you’ll have to pass a means test. This test compares your household income to the median income for similarly sized households in Texas to see if you have the “means” to pay back the debt you owe. If your income is below the income limit, you’re eligible to file Chapter 7 in Texas.

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California Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated March 31, 2022

To be eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in California, you need to pass a means test. This looks at your household income to see if you’re able to pay back the debt you owe. Income limits are established based on the median household income for California households of the same size. If your income is below the income limit, you can file Chapter 7.

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How To File Bankruptcy for Free in Arkansas

Written by Curtis Lee, JDLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 9, 2022

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have to be scary and confusing. We provide helpful tips and resources to help you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state without a lawyer.

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How To File Bankruptcy for Free in Delaware

Written by Curtis Lee, JDLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 9, 2022

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have to be scary and confusing. We provide helpful tips and resources to help you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state without a lawyer.

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How To File Bankruptcy for Free in Washington, D.C.

Written by Curtis Lee, JDLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 9, 2022

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have to be scary and confusing. We provide helpful tips and resources to help you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state without a lawyer.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Wyoming

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 27, 2021

Landlords in Wyoming can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Wyoming.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights Washington

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 27, 2021

Landlords in Washington can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Washington.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Utah

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 27, 2021

Landlords in Utah can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Utah.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Pennsylvania

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 22, 2021

Landlords in Pennsylvania can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Pennsylvania.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in South Dakota

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 22, 2021

Landlords in South Dakota can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in South Dakota.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Nebraska

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 13, 2021

Landlords in Nebraska can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Nebraska.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Ohio

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 1, 2021

Landlords in Ohio can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Ohio.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Nevada

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated December 1, 2021

Landlords in Nevada can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Nevada.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in New Mexico

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 30, 2021

Landlords in New Mexico can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in New Mexico.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Oklahoma

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 30, 2021

Landlords in Oklahoma can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Oklahoma.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Alaska

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 17, 2021

Landlords in Alaska can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Alaska.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Arkansas

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 17, 2021

Landlords in Arkansas can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Arkansas.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Kansas

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 17, 2021

Landlords in Kansas can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Kansas.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Kentucky

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 17, 2021

Landlords in Kentucky can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Kentucky.

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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Minnesota

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated November 17, 2021

Landlords in Minnesota can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Minnesota.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families resolve their debt and fix their credit using free software tools. Our team includes debt experts and engineers who care deeply about making the financial system accessible to everyone. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.