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How to deal with debt obligations

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It can be scary and stressful to get creditors calling daily or sending letters in an effort to get their money. However, consumers do have options to help them resolve their debt issues. In some cases, creditors have a limited amount of time to initiate legal action to collect a debt. In Ohio, a creditor cannot take legal action to collect a credit card debt after six years and after eight years for medical debt.

Those who are living on pension income may be safe from garnishment or other legal action as pension income is protected from creditors. In the event that creditors continue contacting an individual living solely on pension income about an outstanding debt, that person may ask to arrange a payment plan to take care of the debt in an affordable manner.

Anyone who is behind on medical debt may be able to work with the hospital to figure out a payment plan or find a charity that will pay the bill on that person's behalf. In the event that a noncustodial parent does not pay a medical bill for a child despite being legally required to do so, an attorney may need to get involved to rectify the situation for the person who is being contacted about the bill.

When a person cannot pay a bill that he or she is being contacted about, it may be time to consult with a bankruptcy attorney. The attorney may be able to work with a client's creditors to have the debt waived, make arrangements for a new payment plan or forgive a portion of the debt and agree to a new payment plan for the rest of the debt balance.

Source: Cleveland.com, "Your debt collection questions answered - Part 1: Plain Dealing", Sheryl Harris, June 21, 2014

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