Tag Archives: bankruptcy and divoorce

What are reaffirmation agreements?

What are reaffirmation agreements?

Once a debt has been discharged in an Ohio bankruptcy, according to the law, the debtor is no longer obligated to pay that debt. In certain cases, however, the debtor may wish to pay the debt anyway, even though it has been legally discharged as a liability. For example, the debtor (which resides in Dayton Ohio) may want to keep a car that was the secured collateral for an auto loan. For that to happen, the debtor can enter into an agreement with the creditor to pay off the debt even though it has been discharged. This is called a reaffirmation agreement.

A reaffirmation agreement is a voluntary agreement reached between two consenting parties, it is not required by bankruptcy law and is not a necessary part of the bankruptcy process. The newly drafted agreement made between the debtor and the creditor is legally binding on both parties and must be approved by the bankruptcy court overseeing the process. The reaffirmation agreement must comply with certain rules and, if the debtor is not represented by an attorney, there will be a hearing to determine whether the agreement satisfied those rules.

By law, the reaffirmation agreement must:

(1) be voluntary;
(2) cannot place an undue financial burden on the debtor or the debtor’s family;
(3) has to be in the debtor’s best interest; and
(4) can be terminated any time before the court orders the discharge of debtor’s debts or within 60 days after the reaffirmation agreement has been filed with the court, whichever is the longest amount of time.

The reaffirmation agreement represents an entirely new and different agreement between the parties and is NOT included in the bankruptcy proceeding. This means that if the debtor fails to pay the debt that is the subject of the reaffirmation agreement, it will not discharged in bankruptcy and the debtor will then owe the creditor under the terms of the newly reached agreement.

Reaffirming a debt is a undoubtedly a serious financial commitment. It is for this reason that the courts require a hearing when debtors are not represented by an attorney. It is advisable, as with any bankruptcy situation, that debtors consult with an attorney before agreeing to reaffirm a debt.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and reside in Ohio, call The Law Offices of John T. Nicholson at 1-800-596-1533 for a free consultation today.

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Which medical records are the best for winning my disability claim?

What kinds of medical records do you need for your disability claim?  Before you can begin collecting disability benefits, the Social Security Administration requires that you prove that you are unable to work. The best evidence of this is, obviously, medical documentation. Medical evidence can take many different forms. These can include notes, mental health records, blood work, imaging studies, as well as a multitude of other reports. If you have timely, accurate, and sufficient medical records that come from your treating physician, you will greatly increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits. Each of these qualifiers – timely, accurate, and sufficient – has specific, SSA definitions.

Timely records are those that are relevant to your current medical condition. If you are attempting to claim disability for something that occurred last year, medical records from ten years ago would not be considered timely. Deciding what is timely falls within the purview of the treating physician. The nature of the ailment or condition is one factor in determining the timeliness of the records. If the condition is recurring or continuous, older records regarding the ailment or condition may be timely. If, on the other hand, the condition is one that resolves itself quickly or one that changes, older records may be less relevant and therefore not timely. The doctor knows best in these kinds of situations.

Accurate records are those that properly describe your condition according to acceptable medical sources. The Social Security Administration only accepts medical opinions from certain types of health care providers: (1) licensed physicians; (2) osteopaths; (3) optometrists; (4) podiatrists; and (5) speech pathologists. If the records or opinions do not come from one of these five kinds of health care providers, it may not, in many cases serve as acceptable medical source of evidence to the Social Security Administration. It is important to keep in mind that evidence from lay-persons, chiropractors and the like will be considered by the administration, however, these records will likely not carry as much weight as opinions from the aforementioned sources.

Finally, sufficient records are those that contain enough information for the disability judge to make a determination about your eligibility from those records alone. To be frank, the Administration wants to see that you have been treated for this condition prior to filing for disability. The treating physician’s notes and opinions carry the most weight with the Administration.

If you think you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits and have questions, call The Law Offices of John T. Nicholson at 1-800-596-1533 for a free consultation today.

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