| Read Time: 6 minutes | Divorce

What Happens When You File for Divorce First?

When you file for divorce first, you become the plaintiff in the case. This means that you may have a bit more control over the case. For example, the plaintiff can drop the case as long as they do so before the defendant’s spouse files an answer. Timing Advantages of Filing First Assuming that your spouse is not also rushing to file for divorce, filing first can let you choose the timing of the divorce. If you want to contact a lawyer before you file, filing first can allow you to set up legal representation before the divorce proceeding is initiated. Hiring a lawyer before filing can prevent your spouse from using the tactic of “conflicting out.” This occurs when one spouse meets with several divorce lawyers about the divorce proceeding, creating a conflict of interest that prevents those lawyers from representing you. Obviously, this is a spiteful tactic, and it is not a common part of a divorce case. In addition, if you live in a major city, it is just not possible for your spouse to meet with enough attorneys to significantly limit your options for representation.  Hiring a lawyer before filing still has advantages. You will not feel rushed during the hiring process if a case has not yet been filed. This will allow you to take your time, ask your potential attorney questions, and find out if you really want them to represent you. Choosing Your Jurisdiction Filing for divorce before your spouse may give you some control over the jurisdiction of your divorce. While there are rules determining where you can file, if you and your spouse live in different states or if you have a secondary residence, you may have some options. Each state has its own divorce law, so there could be an advantage to choosing one state over another. For example, there are three different formulas that states use to determine the amount of child support payments. These different formulas can result in different sums of monthly child support. If you want to make sure your child receives the maximum possible financial support, you may want to file for divorce in a state that uses one particular formula. As mentioned, you will not have a full range of choices available for a filing jurisdiction. You or your spouse must have some sort of residential connection to a state to file for divorce in that state. Talking to a divorce attorney can help you choose the best available jurisdiction. An experienced lawyer will be able to tell you how the law of a particular state can affect your divorce case. An attorney will discuss the pros and cons of each jurisdiction with you and help you make an informed decision. Automatic Temporary Restraining Order In some jurisdictions, when you file for divorce, an automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO) takes effect. The ATRO prevents both parties from engaging in certain actions during the divorce proceeding. Each state is different, but there are several common types of actions that are prohibited under an ATRO. Property Transfers Neither spouse can sell or otherwise dispose of any property once an ATRO is in place. This applies to both property that each spouse owns separately and marital property that is owned in common. If you think that your spouse might try to empty your shared bank account before filing for divorce, you should consider filing first. The ATRO requires both spouses to agree in writing before any such property transfers occur. If your spouse transfers property in violation of the ATRO, there are legal consequences. Penalties can include a fine or imprisonment. Filing for divorce first is an important step toward protecting your assets if your spouse might try to pull a fast one. Child Custody The ATRO will prevent either spouse from removing any children from the state in which the divorce is pending. Only an agreement in writing between the spouses will allow one parent to move with the children. This prevents one parent from moving the children to a different jurisdiction to try to avoid a custody decision. Policy Coverage In some states, an ATRO prevents either party from changing the beneficiary on any insurance. This includes health insurance. If you rely on your spouse’s health insurance for coverage, an ATRO will make sure you remain a beneficiary while the divorce is pending. Filing first can make sure the ATRO is in place before your spouse can change the beneficiaries on any policies. Plaintiff Advantages When you file for divorce first, you become the plaintiff in the divorce proceeding. Being the plaintiff can be advantageous for a few reasons. Default Judgment Once you file for divorce, your spouse will be served with divorce papers. They then have a certain amount of time to file their answer. If they do not file within the specified time, you may be awarded a default divorce. In a default divorce, the divorce terms that you included in your original filing are more likely to be the legally binding terms of the divorce. It is important to note that default divorces are often overturned. Even if your spouse does not file a reply within the provided window, they have a set period of time to contest the default divorce. If your spouse gives a good reason for their failure to respond in time, the court will overturn the default judgment. This essentially starts the case over as if you had just filed your divorce papers.  Some people filing for divorce may calculate their filing so their spouse has a difficult time filing an answer in time. Tactics like filing while a spouse is on vacation and similar strategies are not common, but they do occur. It is not advisable to use one of these strategies because it is more likely that your spouse will be able to get a default judgment overturned if you filed your divorce papers in bad faith. First to Present Your Case As the plaintiff, if...

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Divorce

I Need a Divorce Lawyer and Have No Money

Many people need a divorce lawyer but cannot afford to pay expensive legal fees. Fortunately, you may be able to find representation through a local legal aid society or volunteer lawyers organization. Many of these organizations provide low-cost or even free legal services to qualifying individuals. These organizations also offer additional resources that may help you with your divorce. Will I Be Appointed a Lawyer? It is required by the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that if you are facing criminal charges, the court must appoint you a lawyer if you cannot afford one. However, this does not usually apply in the divorce context. In custody cases involving minor children, some states will appoint a lawyer on behalf of your children. A judge will usually appoint a lawyer for a child if neither parent is representing the child’s best interests. Unfortunately, there are usually no state-funded, court-appointed attorneys for divorce cases. However, this does not mean that you cannot find free or affordable legal representation elsewhere. Courts in some states will appoint a lawyer to represent a parent in certain child custody cases. For example, if your parental rights are at stake, you may be appointed a lawyer under state law.  Where Should I Look for Help? Everyone knows that getting divorced can be expensive. There are court fees you must pay, and you may need to pay a professional custody evaluator or a mediator. The biggest expense by far is hiring a divorce lawyer. Luckily, various options exist if you are worried about your ability to pay for a divorce attorney. The availability of low cost legal services varies by state. All fifty states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico offer some form of legal assistance to people who are not able to afford to pay a lawyer.  Legal Aid Call the legal aid society in your local area to ask about the kinds of services they offer. Different organizations have different requirements. You may have to earn below a certain income threshold to qualify for services. Additionally, the need for free legal services is often much greater than what the local legal aid society can handle. There may be a waiting list for receiving pro bono legal services from your local legal aid organization. Local Bar Association Each state has a bar association that oversees the certification and qualifications of attorneys practicing in that state. Your state’s bar association may be able to suggest options for free or low-cost representation in your divorce.  Some bar associations can offer you a discounted consultation with an attorney. If your divorce case is relatively simple, this consultation may be all the legal advice you need. Not every divorce requires a lawyer to handle every step of the case. If you and your spouse agree on most of the divorce issues, a consultation may be all you need. However, a divorce with one or more contested issues and any divorce with contested child custody can get complicated. A consultation can still help. The consulting lawyer can help you weigh the pros and cons of representing yourself versus continuing to look for free representation. Once you know what the stakes are, you will be able to make an informed decision. Self-Help Tools Even if you do not qualify for free legal representation through a legal aid society, the organization may still be able to help you. Some legal aid organizations offer self-help tools for people facing legal issues. Self-help tools can include programs designed to help you fill out the forms that the court requires for your divorce. Legal forms in their standard format can be extremely confusing, especially if you don’t have prior experience dealing with the court system. Self-help programs offer a question and answer format to guide you through the process. You will answer the questions the program asks to the best of your ability, and the program will use your answers to fill out the forms.  Before you sit down to fill out your paperwork, take some time to get organized. You will need to know some basic information and some more detailed information about you and your spouse’s assets to complete the paperwork. Set aside some time to review your financial records such as bank statements and mortgage documents. This can help you take stock of the property that you and your spouse own, as well as which property you own jointly versus separately. Once you have gathered all the documentation you think you will need, you are ready to begin the process of filling out your forms. Low-Cost Legal Services Getting legal advice does not always have to involve an expensive law firm. Vantage Group Legal offers a subscription service that you can tailor to your needs. After an initial free consultation, you can opt to subscribe to Vantage Group Legal’s services. An attorney who is experienced in divorce law or other relevant matters will be assigned to your case. Vantage Group Legal offers a low-cost alternative to traditional law firms. What Are Some Other Options? If your spouse is easily able to afford an attorney and you are not, you may be able to petition the court to require your spouse to pay your legal fees. In many states, you can file a petition for interim attorney fees or order for counsel fees against your spouse. It is not a sure thing that the court will grant your motion. Your spouse can oppose the motion and respond with reasons why they should not have to pay your legal fees. Ultimately a judge will rule on the most equitable outcome. Some attorneys will want you to pay them for the time they spend filing and defending the motion for attorney fees. If they win the motion, they will then continue to represent you and will be paid directly by your spouse. Another somewhat unpopular option for paying an attorney is taking out a loan. Loans are risky and can leave you in a more difficult financial...

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| Read Time: 7 minutes | Foreclosure

How To Stop Foreclosure In Illinois

Facing foreclosure is stressful, legally complex, and a danger to your credit. If you have missed mortgage payments or your lender has filed a Notice of Default (NOD), you might feel like there is nothing you can do to prevent the loss of your home. But you are not without hope. In Illinois, there are legal avenues an experienced foreclosure lawyer can use to help you save your home.  Negotiating with the lender, using government relief avenues, and taking the lender to court are just some of the methods the lawyer can use to help you. If you have received or expect to receive a foreclosure notice, you should immediately contact an attorney. Let’s look at just a few ways an attorney can help you save your home and protect your credit. Negotiate with the Lender to Resume Payments If you can pay the money you owe to the lender due to missed mortgage payments, now or shortly, you may be able to save your home. Your mortgage is a loan. A bank is usually the lender of the mortgage. Foreclosure is the lender’s process for taking a homeowner’s property because the homeowner failed to make agreed-upon payments to pay back their loan. The lender forecloses to take the property and sell it.  The sale of the foreclosed property is the typical way the lender gets its money back. But suppose you can demonstrate your ability to pay the lender the money you owe and stay current with future payments. In this case, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the lender to stop your foreclosure. There are a couple of ways to do this. Pay the Amount Past Due in Full Now Your attorney can call your lender and determine precisely how much you owe the lender. If you can pay that full amount, the attorney will contact your lender immediately. They will make an offer for you to pay the full amount in arrears (the payment amount you are behind) and your next mortgage payment due in a timely manner. In return, they will ask that the lender end the foreclosure process.  For instance, if the amount in arrears is $3,000 on a mortgage payment of $1,000 per month, you must be able to fully pay the lender $4,000 (the $3,000 past due and the next due mortgage payment of $1,000) immediately. It would be best if you considered the impact this may have on other bills before your lawyer makes this offer to the lender. Also, be sure that you are prepared to continue and pay the standard monthly mortgage from now on. Get on a Payment Plan  Another option is to catch up on the arrears over time. Your lawyer can work with you to determine what amount you can pay beyond your standard mortgage amount. They can then negotiate with the bank for you to pay this additional amount until you catch up on your past due amount.  Let’s say you are behind $1,600 on a mortgage of $800 a month. You advise your attorney that you are now in a position to pay your full monthly mortgage of $800 a month, plus another $400 each month. The lawyer could negotiate a $1,200-a-month payment for four months. Under this agreement, you will be caught up on your mortgage at the end of four months and no longer at risk of foreclosure. If you are in a position to pay off your arrears and continue making your current payments, you could be able to avoid foreclosure. Remember, the lender wants their money. Hiring an attorney who can show the lender a reasonable way to receive the money they are due is usually the fastest and easiest way to stop a foreclosure. Request A Loan Modification If you have had an unexpected change in financial circumstances, a loan modification may be your best option. In this situation, your attorney will contact the lender and explain your circumstances and how they impacted your ability to make timely mortgage payments. Standard hardships lenders may consider, which often affect homeownership and finances, include: A recently contested divorce proceeding; An accident that caused significant injury or disability; Income decline due to an unexpected job loss; A salary reduction at a long-term current job or new job; Being the victim of fraud or another financial crime; A national crisis, such as a pandemic; Child support and custody issues; or A sudden death in the family. Lawyers will gather facts and proof of the incident(s) that relate to your financial change. They will then ask the lender for your loan to be modified (lower payment for a time, refinance to a longer mortgage term, or another option that will reduce your payments).  They may also ask the lender to forgive the past due amount or add it on to the end of the mortgage. With either approach, you will need to show that you now have a source of income and can make the agreed-upon new payments. A lender’s automated email and phone banks do not analyze or recognize hardships. However, specific workers for the companies can do so, especially if you have had a strong payment history up until this time. Your attorney will know to whom and how to make the case for a hardship loan modification. Seek Special Relief: CARES Act And COVID-19 Your local, state, or federal government may issue a mandate that will protect you from foreclosure in rare circumstances. Times of a nationwide recession, health crisis, or natural disaster may initiate laws to help homeowners. The relief may come in the form of: Forgiveness of missed payments; Forbearance (suspension) of payments; or A ban on foreclosures for a period of time. During the pandemic’s national health crisis (COVID-19), the United States government created the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One purpose of the act was to help homeowners keep their homes during the pandemic’s health and financial crisis. The CARES Act: Gave a...

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| Read Time: 6 minutes | Foreclosure

How To Get Help With Foreclosure

If you are fearing foreclosure, an experienced Chicago foreclosure defense attorney can analyze whether you are at risk. If you are, they can help prevent foreclosure and protect your credit. Do not let the fear of foreclosure paralyze you. Be proactive by understanding your rights and using available courses of action. Let’s answer some questions you may have about foreclosure and prevention. What Are the Terms and Conditions of a Mortgage? Your mortgage loan comes with terms you must follow. As you know, paying your mortgage bill is the primary term. However, other terms often include: Paying property taxes on time; Maintaining adequate homeowners insurance; Keeping your property in habitable (safe living) condition; and Complying with payments with your homeowners association (HOA) and any other organizations that could claim an interest in your home. Lenders require your home to stay in decent condition and free of financial claims. The house is the collateral for your mortgage loan. As a result, failure to abide by any of the terms in the mortgage contract puts you at risk of foreclosure.  How Do I Know If I Have Violated the Terms of My Mortgage? Whether you are violating your mortgage terms is not always clear. We suggest that you consider each of the following questions to help determine whether you may be at risk of violations: Has the lender sent you a notice regarding missed or late payments? Do your financial records reflect that you have missed mortgage payments? Are you behind on your property taxes? Has your homeowners insurance lapsed, or have you missed payments? Is your HOA threatening legal action against you? Is your house in poor condition, to the point that it is perhaps unlivable? Has the local government, your insurance company, or the lender contacted you regarding the condition of your home? Have you received any correspondence mentioning foreclosure of your home? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you may be at risk of violating your mortgage terms. As a result, you are at risk of losing your home.  What Should I Do If I Am Violating HOA, Tax, or Insurance Mortgage terms? If your HOA, local tax board, or homeowners insurance agency has contacted you, the time to act is right now. Here is how you can prevent foreclosure, depending on the reason you are at risk. Make Arrangements to Comply with Your HOA If you are behind on HOA payments or have unpaid fines for violating HOA rules, you should contact a lawyer to help you negotiate a payment plan for past due fees and fines. You may be out of compliance with your mortgage if you do not do so. Also, you want to prevent the HOA from taking further action. Past due HOA fees can lead to foreclosure by your lender and a lien on your property by the HOA. In Chicago and throughout Illinois, if a homeowners association has a lien on a property, it has the legal right to foreclose on that property.  Address Back Taxes with Your Local Government Local governments are often willing to work with property owners who are delinquent on tax payments. But if you do not act, Illinois law allows the local government to seize your home if your property taxes remain delinquent. A foreclosure defense attorney can contact the property tax office and negotiate a way for you to catch up on past-due taxes. Your foreclosure defense lawyer can also address the potential mortgage violation with your lender, based on your tax issue. Repair Your Property and Maintain Homeowners Insurance If you have received a letter regarding home upkeep, you will need to clean up your property to a satisfactory level. These letters may come from your insurance company, lender, or local government. Work to correct the issue (i.e. greatly overgrown lawn, caving in roof, etc.) as soon as you can. If you are not living at the property, it still must be corrected. If you are unable to perform the upkeep immediately, contact a Chicago area attorney. They will advise you on options to prevent foreclosure and contact the sender of the letter(s) for you. You also must keep your homeowners insurance coverage up to date to stay in compliance with the mortgage terms. Your lawyer can analyze your mortgage coverage requirements. They will then contact your provider to ensure your coverage is adequate. The attorney can negotiate payments toward the arrears (the back money you owe) and help you renew or reinstate your policy if it has lapsed. Taking steps to prevent foreclosure is necessary even before the lender gets involved. Start the process of correcting the issues today by hiring an attorney. Don’t wait, or any of these violations could quickly turn into home foreclosures in Illinois.  What If My Lender Is Threatening Foreclosure for Non-Payment? If your circumstance is one where your lender is involved and you are behind on payments, the situation is even more urgent. You need an attorney to immediately reach out to the lender and request time to address the problem. There are options, but in most cases, they must be approved by the lender. Here are the primary ways you can still save your home. Make Catch Up Payments An experienced foreclosure defense attorney may negotiate with the lender for you to pay the money past due and stop the foreclosure process. They can arrange for you to make one payment of the full amount in arrears. Another option is to pay off the amount over time. You may be able to overpay your standard payment by a small amount each month until you pay off the arrears.  Make Lower Payments Your attorney may also advocate for the lender to forgive some of your debt or give you more time to pay. This generally is an option only in exceptional circumstances such as a death in the family or a sudden injury or illness. These circumstances could also lead to a reduced mortgage payment,...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Foreclosure

Can a Bank Accept Payment During Foreclosure?

If you are making payments during foreclosure, it is important to understand whether the lender can accept those payments. In addition, you should evaluate your reasons for making payments. Depending on why you are making the payments during foreclosure, there are likely other options to meet your goals. In Foreclosure, Will the Lender Still Accept My Payments? The short answer is yes. In most states, including Illinois, a lender has to accept your payments until near the scheduled foreclosure sale. Usually, homeowners in foreclosure make payments in an effort to: Save their home; Avoid negative impacts on their credit; Buy time until they can get other help to stop the foreclosure; or Stay in compliance, because they believe they must make the payments.  With each of these reasons, making payments during foreclosure may not be the only or best option to meet the goal. Sometimes making payments during a foreclosure can do more harm than good.  If I Make Payments During Foreclosure Will I Save My Home? Though the lender does have to accept your payments during foreclosure, the payments do not guarantee you will save your home. Illinois law has redemption and reinstatement laws. These allow a borrower to reclaim their property if the borrower complies with certain payment requirements.  Reinstatement involves bringing your mortgage current by paying all missed payments as well as any costs or fees required by the mortgage.  In Illinois, the borrower has the right to reinstate the loan up to 90 days after the borrower: Has been served with a summons or by publication, or Has otherwise submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. If you comply with the reinstatement requirements, the foreclosure will be dismissed. You can keep your home and continue paying your mortgage as before. If you have passed the time to reinstate the loan, you may be able to keep your home through redemption. Redemption requires you to pay off the total debt, including the principal balance, plus any additional costs and interest.  Under redemption, the borrow has until the later of either: Seven months after the complaint is served, or Three months from the date of judgment. So if you are making payments and can pay the full amount you owe, you may be able to keep your home. Both redemption and reinstatement have massive costs and require legal action on your part. But if you cannot pay the full amount you owe and are far along in the foreclosure process, making payments during foreclosure may not help you save your home. Meet with a Chicago area attorney so that they can review your case and determine the likelihood of keeping your home by making payments during foreclosure. How Else Can I Save My Home? If the goal is to keep your home, hire a foreclosure defense lawyer as soon as possible. There are many ways you still could get out of foreclosure and save your home. The attorney can address options available to you, including: Reverse mortgage,  Loan modification, Government relief, and Court action. An attorney will need to consult with you and gain a full understanding of your circumstances to provide you with the best legal advice. Hire an attorney for the support and guidance you need.  Should I Make Payments During Foreclosure to Save My Credit, Even If I’m Not Keeping My Home? If not trying to keep your home, continuing to make mortgage payments during foreclosure may not be a wise use of money. The foreclosure will still be on your credit. A better option could be a deed in lieu of foreclosure. With this deed, you agree to give your home to the lender. The lender then agrees to settle your mortgage and not foreclose. During this process, your attorney will also try to negotiate a convenient time for you to leave your home. Stopping payments during foreclosure and turning over your home may sound irresponsible. But in fact, sometimes it is the best option to get a clean slate. With the help of an attorney, you can complete the deed transfer, move on from the foreclosure legally and responsibly, and protect your credit.  If I Make Payments While in Foreclosure, Won’t I Get COVID-19 Relief? During COVID-19, Illinois law mandated only that lenders try to work with homeowners and understand the stress the pandemic caused. Making payments does not force Chicago banks to protect or work with you in a new way due to the pandemic.  The federal government offered the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. There is no part of the act that says if you make payments while in foreclosure, CARES will protect your home.  But there are parts of CARES that may help you for other reasons. A foreclosure defense attorney in Chicago can see if your mortgage lenders followed other aspects of the COVID-19 relief programs that may have helped you. If you are entitled to relief, don’t assume making payments during foreclosure will give you that relief.  If the Lender Is Threatening Me, Don’t I Have to Make Payments During Foreclosure? A lender has no right to harass you. If the lender is addressing anything beyond their right to foreclose, their actions may be illegal. Also, reputable lenders rarely use hostile tactics.  There are fraudulent businesses that prey on people in foreclosures. Sometimes they offer to save your home if you make payments to them. Never make payments to a third party that has no right to receive any money from you. You should not feel threatened, harassed, or in fear of your lender or anyone else contacting you about your foreclosure. Contact an attorney so that they can review the correspondence and protect you from unlawful tactics.  How Can I Know Whether to Make Payments During Foreclosure? To decide whether you will make payments during a foreclosure, hire a Chicago attorney. Look for an attorney with foreclosure defense experience. They can determine if the lender will still accept your...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Foreclosure

Can You Stop A Foreclosure Once It Starts?

The foreclosure process may create substantial stress and uncertainty. Often, if you are facing foreclosure, you are also handling other challenges in life. In some situations, with the help of an attorney, you may be able to stop the foreclosure process. What Is Foreclosure? Generally, when someone buys a home, they need to get a mortgage loan—i.e., borrow money—to do so. The bank is the lender of the mortgage. The new homeowner is required to make payments to the bank to pay back the loan. Foreclosure is the process of the bank taking a homeowner’s property because the homeowner failed to make agreed-upon payments.  Why Does a Lender Foreclose? The bank forecloses to take the property and sell it. When a homeowner fails to make mortgage payments, the bank loses money. When this occurs, the sale of the foreclosed property is the typical way the bank gets its money back and the loan ends. Why Do Homeowners Not Make Their Mortgage Payments?  People are unable to keep up with mortgage payments because of a variety of circumstances, including: The homeowner lost their job; Divorce/domestic troubles led to non-payment of the mortgage; The family has suffered an unforeseen emergency or medical crisis; The homeowner does not have the correct mortgage account information for making payments; A purchase of a second home led to an inability to pay for two residences; or Other personal or work-related challenges are taking place. Troubles in life occur. Even when homeowners try their best, there may be a time when they cannot pay their mortgage. How Many Payments Can I Miss Before the Bank Will Foreclose? Usually, if a person is at least 120 days behind on mortgage payments, the bank can begin the foreclosure process. However, home loans/mortgages are contracts. Each contract has terms that include at what point foreclosure can begin. How Will a Foreclosure Impact My Credit? A foreclosure stays on your credit report for seven years. It is a very negative mark on your credit. It may limit your ability to accomplish several things. For example: To rent an apartment or house, you may need a good credit report. If you need to borrow money to purchase a car, you must qualify for an automobile loan; Getting a credit card usually requires positive credit;  If you need a loan to buy a home again, you must qualify for another mortgage loan; and Potential employers may require that you have a good credit report for certain jobs. Along with the loss of your home, foreclosure impacts you in several ways.  Can I Stop a Foreclosure Once It Starts? If your lender has started or may start the foreclosure process, you should immediately hire an experienced foreclosure defense lawyer. There can be options to stop a foreclosure once it starts. After thoroughly reading your mortgage contract, your attorney may be able to: Determine whether the lender has a right to attempt foreclosure;  Delay a foreclosure attempt while challenging the legality; and Stop the foreclosure process if it violates the law;  Or if foreclosure proceedings seem allowed by law, your lawyer can: Negotiate with the lender for you to pay an agreed-upon amount and end the foreclosure process; Discuss your general circumstances with the lender and develop a loan modification agreement; Negotiate a short sale agreement; Determine whether state or local rules might benefit you, such as the Covid-19 related laws that halted foreclosures in some states; or Attempt to delay the foreclosure. Foreclosures are complex legal, financial, and real estate matters. It is crucial to have an experienced lawyer defend you in a foreclosure situation. There are options to keep your home. How Can Vantage Group Legal Services Defend You in a Foreclosure Case? Vantage Group Legal Services is a unique company with a team of specialized Attorney’s in foreclosure defense. They are a legal service company, not a law firm. Vantage Group Legal Services connects you with an experienced network attorney, typically within 24 hours, that is the perfect fit for your case. Once you retain Vantage Group Legal Services, your assigned network attorney and Vantage’s internal support staff will handle all aspects of your case during your contract with Vantage Group Legal Services.  Foreclosure defense is a primary focus of Vantage Group Legal Services. Vantage Group’s network of foreclosure defense attorneys are chosen because of their ability to win cases and achieve success for their clients. Schedule your free, no obligation consultation by calling (773) 938-4747 or fill out a form on their website.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Foreclosure

How Long Does a Foreclosure Stay On Your Credit Report?

Foreclosure impacts you in numerous ways. Along with the loss of a home, the foreclosure impacts your credit record. Poor credit can lead to struggles with borrowing money, finding housing, and qualifying for employment.  What Is a Credit Report? A credit report is a document that gives a detailed look at your credit history. There are four primary areas in a credit report. Your personal information (social security number, current, and past addresses, legal name[s]); Your borrowing history regarding credit cards, mortgages and car loans, and other accounts; If you ever faced bankruptcy, eviction, foreclosure, or other legal actions related to finances on your record; and A list of companies or individuals who have checked your credit history. Essentially, a credit report is a thorough handprint of your borrowing track record. How Is a Credit Report Used? Primarily lenders and employers use credit reports. Lenders want to determine whether you are a person to whom they should extend credit or lend money. Employers generally use the report to gauge your level of responsibility. The report can indicate whether you have had difficulty paying bills on time. It also helps ensure that you do not have substantial debt that you may later have trouble paying.  A credit report is also used to create a credit score. Credit scores range from 300-800 points. A higher score indicates stronger credit. Credit scores, like credit reports, help determine your creditworthiness. A score under 600 is generally considered poor. A foreclosure may lower your credit score by at least 100 points.   Why Is Good Credit Important? Good credit provides you with more opportunities to borrow money and qualify for jobs. A credit report is often accessed when you attempt to purchase items, secure credit cards, find housing, or apply for work. For example: If you need to borrow money to purchase a car, you will need an automobile loan; When buying a home, most individuals receive credit in the form of a mortgage loan; To rent an apartment, you often need to demonstrate strong credit; When you obtain a standard credit card or store credit card, the company gives you credit by issuing you a card;  For some potential employers, you will need a good credit report to be considered for a job; and Good credit provides you with a higher general credit score. A lack of good credit can hinder your ability to accomplish some very important goals. How Long Does a Foreclosure Stay on My Credit Report? Foreclosure generally involves a lender taking a homeowner’s property because the homeowner failed to make agreed-upon payments. A foreclosure stays on your credit report for seven years. After seven years, it should fall off of your credit report. Will a Foreclosure Significantly Impact My Credit? Having a foreclosure on your record will impact many aspects of your life. A foreclosure indicates poor credit history and can be very harmful. Your ability to borrow money to purchase a home, buy a car, and even get specific jobs will be limited. Can I Avoid Foreclosure If It Has Started? Since foreclosure is extremely harmful to your credit, it is vital to hire an attorney immediately if you are facing foreclosure. An experienced defense foreclosure attorney may be able to stop the foreclosure. If a foreclosure is on your credit report already, you should still contact an attorney. They can try to have it removed from your record more quickly than the seven-year time frame. Vantage Group Legal Services Can Help You Regarding a Foreclosure and Your Credit Foreclosure and its impact on credit is a complicated legal and financial matter. Vantage Group Legal Services focuses on foreclosure defense. A lawyer dedicated to defending individuals in these types of cases is the best person to assist you. Vantage Group Legal Services will assign you an experienced network attorney that is the perfect fit for your situation. The network attorney, along with Vantage Group’s staff, handles all aspects of your case. Vantage Group Legal Services is a unique company in that they are a group legal services company, not a law firm. Their knowledgeable team is ready to help you with your legal needs. Vantage Group Legal Services will provide you with  a free no obligation, free consultation. Contact them by calling (773) 938-4747 or fill out a form on their website.

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