Free Legal Aid in Marion, Ohio
Chloe Meltzer | October 19, 2022
Summary: Not sure what to do about all your debt? Get free legal aid in Marion, Ohio.
If you are suffering from debt, there there is a way to get free legal aid in Marion, Ohio. The best step to take is to negotiate with your creditors. This can be a wonderful way to reduce how much you owe, lower your interest, or change the time period in which you have to pay off your debt.
Although these options exist, it can be difficult to know where to find free or low-cost assistance. Here we will help you learn where to find free or low-cost legal aid in Marion, Ohio, as well as learn to handle creditors.
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Legal aid programs and clinics
Legal aid programs and clinics are typically offered by volunteer lawyers. They offer assistance to those who are considered low-income. Typically if you meet specific criteria, then you may be offered services for free. Services you might find in legal aid programs and clinics include:
- Attorney representation
- Advice on how to negotiate settlements
- Helping to create a debt repayment plan
- Workshops, helplines, or online help
- Legal aid programs
- Low-cost consumer credit counseling
One thing you might learn from a free legal aid program is that you might end up having tax consequences due to settled debts. If you settle a debt with a creditor for less than the full amount, or your debt is written off, then you may need to pay income taxes on that amount. Because tax laws are complicated, this may not be 100% necessary, but you should speak with a tax attorney to understand if you are responsible or not.
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Consumer credit counseling agencies
Consumer credit counseling agencies are not the same as debt settlement companies. Instead, they are nonprofit organizations that can help manage debts like credit card debt or medical debt.
These counselors can help you to go over your current financial situation, and help you come up with a budget for your finances. They can also help you come up with a debt management plan to properly manage your debts. In many cases, these organizations charge a fee, but you can find a free or low-cost agency.
How debt management plans work
Debt management plans are a method of paying off outstanding debt by making one small payment to a credit counseling agency. This agency will then distribute your payment to the creditors that you owe. Credit counselors typically will not negotiate a reduction in the amounts you owe but will help to lower your overall payment through negotiations.
Typically these negotiations are to:
- Increase the period of repayment
- Waive fees
- Reduce interest rates
How to find a legitimate credit counseling agency
To find a legitimate credit counseling organization, you need to ensure the company is accredited. This means they have accreditation from either the Council on Accreditation (COA) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). You can also use a Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) agency. They are a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and are accredited by the COA.
If you are unsure of whether or not the counselors are working for a certified agency, then you can ask for proof. In some cases, an agency might also be certified by an independent agency. This means that they have gone through a certification exam that tests for specific areas. Specifically, this might include counseling, budgeting, credit, and consumer law, debt management, or bankruptcy.
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What to do if you're looking for free legal aid in Marion, Ohio
If you are working with a free legal aid program, it is only because you qualify based on your income or debt status. Otherwise, there are good and low-cost consumer credit counseling options. Be sure to avoid certain credit counseling companies with bad reviews or no reviews at all. If they are not accredited, it could be a scam.
If you cannot find a good agency or if you do not qualify for a free program, remember, you can also work directly with your creditors on your own for free. In some situations, you may feel more comfortable with an attorney negotiating with your creditors on your behalf. In this case, it will be difficult to find a free attorney.
In the worst-case scenario, if you have a lot of debts you can't pay, then you can file bankruptcy. This should only be if you have no other option. There are often free bankruptcy lawyers available for those in low-income situations.
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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance
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