Many Americans live in debt today. Whether it’s credit card debt, student debt, mortgage debt, or any other kind of loan that’s collecting interest, it can be hard for middle class Americans to get by without taking on some kind of debt. And while debt isn’t uncommon (remember that the United States owes about $20 trillion to its creditors) or even inherently bad, it’s no less enjoyable to tread through. And for many Americans, it can often feel like their heads are barely above water when it comes time to pay the bills.
Plus it’s not just the debtor who suffers in this game of catch up. On average one child in every American classroom is at risk of losing their home because of their guardian’s inability to make monthly mortgage payments. So what happens on a bad month or even a bad year when there’s not enough money coming in to stave off the debt collectors? This is where a debt attorney might come in handy.
What is a Debt Attorney?
Debt attorneys (or debt collection attorneys/collection lawyers) are lawyers who specialize in debt collection law. This field, as it sounds, deals with the rights of debtors and creditors, in terms of what either party can say and do legally in order to balance what is owed. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) enacted in 1978 in the U.S. is a federal law that dictates what is and is not allowed. Certain means of communication from creditors to debtors are prohibited for instance, such as via post card. The manner and language with which this information is sent also must follow the guidelines of the FDCPA.
But the regulations of the FDCPA are lengthy and difficult to understand if you’re not familiar with legal jargon. Plus, parts of the law can be interpreted different ways, and each state has its own rules for debt collection practices. Therefore, in times of desperation and doubt, hiring a good debt attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights and property are protected.
What do Debt Attorneys Do?
Debt attorneys can represent both creditors (those who lend money out) and debtors (those who owe money to a creditor). Their aim is to protect the rights of their client. So if they’re representing a creditor, a debt collection attorney’s task is to legally recover the money that is owed to the client. And if the debt attorney is representing a debtor, they’ll do their best to make sure their client can still make payments but in a more manageable way. Also, if the debtor is being harassed or even threatened by a creditor via phone call, email, or otherwise, a debt attorney will work to defend the client from this unfair treatment.
Who Needs a Debt Attorney?
The simple answer to this question is this: anyone who feels their rights as a lender or a debtor are being infringed upon or abused. As previously stated, it’s a debt attorney’s job to ensure their clients’ rights are protected, whether it means the client owes money or is owed money. But debt lawyers aren’t necessary in every event involving debt. For instance, when it comes to things like estate planning and debt after one’s death, an estate lawyer is suited for this scenario, not a debt attorney.
Many Americans are in debt today, and many are getting through it just fine. For those struggling to pay the bills on time and those being harassed by one of the 4,500 plus debt collection agencies in the U.S., however, it might be time to consider hiring a debt attorney for protection.