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Does a Student Loan Deferment or Forbearance Impact Your Credit?



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Considering deferring or placing your loans in forbearance due to financial struggles related to coronavirus (COVID-19)? Skip directly to our breakdown on how the CARES Act impacts you, your student loans, and your credit — or read on to learn more about how pausing your student loans typically works.

There’s no denying that getting a college degree is one of the best things you can do to pursue a prosperous future, but this professional head start can come at a steep cost. Over the past few years, student loan debt for the country has topped $1 trillion, leaving over 40 million Americans in a serious financial predicament.

Unfortunately, accompanying the ever-increasing mountain of student debt is the avalanche of loan delinquency. Recent graduates accustomed to the college lifestyle, often without the means to repay debt, are being severely ensnared in an endless cycle of late payments and possible default. While the future of a college education hangs in the balance, today higher education is still a necessity that often leads to significant debt for many Americans each year.

Don’t let student loans ruin your FICO score before you even get a chance to build credit in the first place. If hard times come knocking after graduation, loan deferment or forbearance are viable safeguards against overwhelming loan payments.

Deferment vs. Forbearance

If you’re having trouble making ends meet due to student loan payments, loan deferment or forbearance can offer some temporary relief. With that said, it’s important to recognize the difference between these two payment reprieves before taking action.

Deferment and forbearance both effectively put your minimum loan payments on hold in instances of economic hardship. A key distinction between these two options is whether interest continues to accrue:

  • Deferment: For government-subsidized loans, interest payments are suspended. Deferment is more difficult to qualify for, but will save you money on interest as it will not accrue during the time of deferment.
  • Forbearance: Your monthly loan payments may be reduced or put on hold, but you will continue to accrue interest on the outstanding balance of the loan regardless of the forbearance.

Both options offer a safety net for individuals in over their heads in a sea of student loan debt, but does this financial relief come at a cost to your credit score?

Does Deferment or Forbearance Negatively Affect Credit?

If the cost of student loan payments is too overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek out deferment or forbearance, especially since it will have less of an impact on your credit score than would a reported late pay or defaulted loan status.

A common misconception is that pausing student loan payments will wreak havoc on your credit. In reality, suspending payment through deferment or forbearance should not significantly impact your credit score but may create some volatility once the loan status is updated to reflect the requested change. Meanwhile, not making loan payments that you can’t afford and running the risk of late payments is far more costly to your credit score than putting loan payments on pause.

FAQ: Pausing Student Loan Payments Due to COVID-19 

Those paying federal student loans now have the option to stop paying without accruing interest or penalties. Federal student loan payments are suspended as part of the $2 trillion stimulus package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This act was signed into effect on March 27, 2020, but you can request retroactive coverage as early as March 13, 2020. 

Chart: COVID-19 and Student Loans

See some fast facts below:

  • Timeline: Most federal loan payments are on hold from March 13, 2020, to September 30, 2020.
  • Who qualifies?: People paying back federal loans. Not all student loans are suspended due to coronavirus — private lenders are not required to participate.
  • Loan interest: No interest will accrue during this period, even though it’s called “forbearance” on the Department of Education site.
  • Collection agencies: Federal loan collections and department-contracted private collection agencies are suspended from sending collection notices, bills or calls.
  • Contact information: Call 1-800-4-FED-AID to get in touch with loan services or visit the StudentAid site for more details.

How does the CARES Act impact federal student loans?

The CARES Act COVID-19 provision has suspended student-loan payments, collections and interest on student loans through September 30, 2020. People don’t have to worry about making these payments or accruing additional interest during this time. But once October 1st arrives, regular payments will be required again (unless further aid is passed in the future or you make a private agreement with your lender). It’s also important to note that this act doesn’t expunge any of your total student debt, it just pushes payment dates back. 

Do I need to request the federal loan payment suspension?

No, for federal loans this measure was automatically put in place. It’s still a good idea to keep an eye out for mail or withdrawals from auto-payments, as glitches are always a possibility.

Are my loans through a private lender suspended?

No—at the federal level, private lenders are not held to the same standards and are not required to partake in student loan suspension. However, although they are under no legal obligation, some private lenders are working to provide relief. Check-in with your private lender and see what options they are offering at this time. Be ready with documentation to prove a change in your income or other extenuating circumstances.

Yes, in some limited situations, if you live in New York. The state-level government reached an agreement that included private lenders, to give similar benefits to what the CARES Act provides. Check-in with your private lender if you haven’t yet received any notice or update from them. 

Does the CARES Act provision get rid of my student debt?

No, the CARES Act provides federal loan suspension, not loan forgiveness. Once the suspension is over, borrowers will be expected to resume payments at the normal rate. Unless, of course, a separate agreement is made with the lender.

Will pausing loans hurt my credit score? 

In short, no. If you’re talking about federal loans, pausing your payments during this reprieve should not have any negative effects on your credit score as there would be no reports of any late payments or non-payments. 

If you stop paying back loans to a private lender without reaching an agreement to do so beforehand, that could have a damaging effect on your credit score. 

If you’re worried or unsure about the state of your credit try a free credit report and consultation

Can I continue making payments? 

Yes, you can but you may not want to under certain circumstances — including if you believe you should save more money in your emergency fund or if you’re trying to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). According to the US Department of Education, each suspended payment will be considered a payment towards PSLF, so affect you in ways that are unhelpful to your situation. Make sure you understand how any action will affect the future of your student loans. 

It could be a good idea to continue making payments if you aren’t working towards PSLF and feel comfortable with your savings and income stability. Your interest will stay at 0% during this period and you can pay off your debt faster than if you wait. You could also make smaller payments if that’s a better balance. Contact your lender to better help you navigate your specific situation.

It’s crucial to note that this is general information and not personalized financial advice — consult a professional to see what the best option is for your individual situation. 

Will my tax refund still be withheld if I have defaulted loans?

According to StudentAid, federal tax refunds will not be returned “if the process to withhold your refund was completed before March 13, 2020.”  Your tax return will be refunded to you if the withholding process was in progress “on or after March 13, 2020, and before Sept. 30, 2020.”

What happens if I’m late turning in loan payments after September 30, 2020?

Until any further provisions are made, turning in late payments after this federal loan suspension period will likely result in the penalties you were subject to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Check with your lender for more details about your specific plan arrangements. 

The state of our economy is somewhat at the mercy of COVID-19. In this rapidly changing environment, new developments could urge politicians to take further action — only time will tell. Follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) announcements to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news. 

The Importance of Credit Repair

While loan deferment or forbearance are good options to help you protect your overall credit if needed, chances are there are other financial factors at play that affect your ability to pay your bills and thus threaten your credit score.

If you’re not meeting your financial goals, it might be time to conduct an in depth review of your credit score. After all, a less-than-stellar credit score can negatively impact overall financial security from high interest rates to the inability to secure a loan.

If poor credit is impacting your ability to achieve financial success, consider learning more about the credit repair process. For more than 20 years, Lexington Law has helped consumers improve their understanding of their credit score while distinguishing itself as a leader in the credit repair industry. If poor credit is inhibiting your ability to pay off loans or stands in the way of financial goals, contact Lexington Law today.

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Enough Is Never Enough: Americans Weigh In on How to Help Those Struggling Financially During Pandemic



The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

Welcome to the new normal.

Shelter-in-place orders brought on by the pandemic caused unemployment to skyrocket as businesses struggled to cope.

According to Pew Research Center, the unemployment rate shot up nearly nine percentage points in three months, rising from 3.8 percent in February to 13.0 percent in May. This three-month spike was greater than the rise seen in the entire two years of the Great Recession, from late 2007 to early 2010.

The U.S. government issued stimulus checks to families to help keep the economy alive and supplement lost income as an addition to unemployment assistance—but was the one-time effort enough?

We surveyed 3,000 Americans to get a better idea of their thoughts on how to aid those who have lost income due to the pandemic. Here, we’ll dive into the results.

Key Findings

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents agreed with the statement that “more needs to be done to help those who have lost income due to the pandemic.”
  • Despite this, 67 percent wouldn’t consider donating a second stimulus check (were it to be issued) to help those who have lost income to the pandemic.
  • Instead, respondents said a second stimulus check would most likely go toward bills, savings, mortgages and credit card debt.

Americans in Agreement: Let’s Help Those Who Have Lost Income

When asked if they agreed with the statement that “more needs to be done to help those who have lost income due to the pandemic,” 68 percent responded “yes.” Women were slightly more likely to respond “yes” at 70 percent, compared to 66 percent of men.

Does more need to be done to help those who have lost income due to the pandemic? Lexington Law survey results: Yes: 67%. No: 32%. Other: 1%.

But when it comes to financial aid for millions of Americans, the solution isn’t always so simple. How can a nation ensure its citizens are adequately taken care of in a way that makes fiscal sense? Does the burden fall on individuals to make personal contributions?

To find out, we asked if respondents would be willing to donate a second stimulus check—should one be issued—to those who have lost income due to the pandemic.

Donating Second Stimulus Checks Not the Solution

Despite the majority of respondents agreeing that Americans need more aid during this time, 67 percent would not consider donating a potential second stimulus check to those who have lost income.

This is likely because the pandemic has resulted in many Americans becoming financially strapped already, whether due to unemployment, furloughs, reduced wages or other factors. 

Despite the fact that 68% of respondents agree that more needs to be done to help those who have lost income due to the pandemic, 67% would be unwilling to donate a second stimulus check.

It’s worth noting that while Americans aren’t prepared to donate their second stimulus check, our survey didn’t confirm whether they would be willing to donate at all. Perhaps smaller, more bite-sized donations would better suit peoples’ current financial capabilities.

So How Would Respondents Spend a Second Stimulus Check?

When it comes to spending a second stimulus check, respondents were much more likely to use their check for more pressing matters. Utilities and bills were the most popular choices, selected by 30 percent of respondents.

Interestingly, 20 percent of respondents said they would use the check to pay down credit card debt. This is perhaps part of a larger trend of shrinking consumer debt during the pandemic. CNN reported that consumer debt shrank by approximately $100 billion from February to July in 2020. With consumers having less discretionary income or just wanting to tighten up their finances during this crisis, it makes sense that they would be swiping their cards less frequently.

According to Experian, the decrease in consumer debt has had a positive impact on credit health. The average VantageScore has increased by five points and credit utilization has decreased from 30 percent to 25 percent, falling into the recommended utilization range.

How would Americans use a second stimulus check? Utilities and bills: 30%. Saving or investment: 26%. Rent or mortgage: 21%. Paying down credit cards: 20%. Recreation and hobbies: 9%. Charitable donations: 8%.

For the latest updates on the status of the second round of stimulus checks, visit CNET’s page.

Take Care of Yourself First—Physically and Financially

Despite uncertain times, the fact that consumer debt and credit scores have improved is an encouraging sign to anyone looking to improve their financial health. When you’re revisiting your budget during these times, remember to prioritize making on-time debt payments to keep your credit healthy.

If you’ve had a more difficult time making payments in recent months, or if your credit score has seen a temporary dip, don’t give up. There’s still potential for another stimulus check to be approved, and no matter what happens, you might be able to take steps now to improve your credit score.

It’s also important to continue to monitor your credit report for false or inaccurate items. When coupled with financial hardship, these can wreak unnecessary havoc on your credit score. We can help with that.


This study was conducted for Lexington Law using Google Consumer Surveys and interpreted by Siege Media. The sample consisted of no less than 1,000 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. This survey was conducted in September 2020.

Reviewed by Cynthia Thaxton, Lexington Law Firm Attorney. Written by Lexington Law.

Cynthia Thaxton has been with Lexington Law Firm since 2014. She attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Arabic. Cynthia then attended law school at George Mason University School of Law, where she served as Senior Articles Editor of the George Mason Law Review and graduated cum laude. Cynthia is licensed to practice law in Utah and North Carolina.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

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What Is Piggybacking Credit? – Lexington Law



The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

Piggybacking credit, otherwise known as becoming an authorized user, allows you to be added to another’s credit card account in order to improve your credit standing. There are a number of reasons why you may need more positive exposure on your credit report—you could be looking to buy a car, get a loan or secure the best rates on a new line of credit, to name a few. 

There are some risks associated with piggybacking credit, so it should only be used as a temporary solution.

So what is piggybacking credit, really? Below we’ve outlined everything you need to know about this credit-boosting method.

How Piggybacking Credit Works 

If someone with good credit adds you as an authorized user to one of their credit cards, that credit card account and payment history become part of your own credit report. Piggybacking credit is not the same thing as becoming a joint account holder.

The difference is that the authorized user is not responsible for the charges made on the credit card, and a joint account holder is. 

When piggybacking credit, the authorized user gets the cardholder's full account history reflected on their own credit report, which can have a positive effect on their score.

Simply put, the authorized user gets the cardholder’s full account history reflected on their own credit report, which can have a positive effect on their score.

However, if you piggyback credit with someone who does not have a positive credit history (frequent late payments, low score, multiple hard inquiries, etc.) or even credit history at all, you run the risk of getting points shaved from your own credit score. 

While piggybacking credit may be beneficial for the authorized user, on the other hand, the primary cardholder who has added the authorized user could see their credit score lower if the authorized user has a poor credit history. 

About 1 in 4 consumers first acquire their credit history from an account for which others were also responsible.

Ways to Piggyback Credit 

To piggyback credit, you can get a close family member, spouse or friend to share their credit rating and history with you.


This method of piggybacking involves a family member, friend or significant other with a good credit score adding you as an authorized user, in order to share their credit reputation with you. To do this, the cardholder contacts their credit card issuer and adds you as an authorized user. You then will be able to choose to get a card for the account or not. 

If you end up getting access to your own card on the account, you may be offered privileges—like being able to make charges and payments. However, it’s likely you won’t be able to increase the line of credit or request lower rates. This method is commonly used by teenagers who are added to their parents’ credit card account as authorized users, for example.

This can be a great way to get the boost of credit you need before applying for your own credit cards, loans or anything else that may require a higher credit score to secure the best offers and interest rates. 


Some people—who may not have a close relative or friend they can piggyback credit with on a person-to-person basis—also choose to rent a position as an authorized user on a stranger’s account for a fee.

In this scenario, you can turn to tradeline credit repair companies that will match you with a cardholder with great credit, for a fee. With this method, the cardholder ends up getting a percentage of the fee that you pay, and you will not receive an actual credit card or obtain card privileges. 

Keep in mind that for-profit piggybacking is a short-term solution and you’ll only be an authorized user for a limited time. Once your term ends, the account will then be removed from your credit report, which puts your credit scores at risk of dropping again. If you do consider this approach, be very careful—some people offer for-profit credit piggybacking as a scheme. 

If you do decide to pursue this method, we recommend that you do so through trustworthy sources.

Is Piggybacking Credit Legal?

Yes, piggybacking credit is legal, however it is not a well-known credit-boosting method, as many people are unaware that it’s an option. Piggybacking became a method to boost credit after The Equal Credit Opportunity Act was enacted in 1974; which made it illegal for a creditor to discriminate against any applicant. 

Piggybacking became a method to boost credit after The Equal Opportunity Act was enacted in 1974, allowing previously disadvantaged groups to gain their own credit histories.

Piggybacking credit was used as a strategy designed to help combat the obstacles women faced prior to The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, allowing them to get their own credit cards or establish independent credit histories after they were added as an authorized user to their husbands’ accounts.  

However, since then, people have discovered loopholes to use The Equal Credit Opportunity Act to help them establish their own credit, or even rent it to others. When adding an authorized user to an account, cardholders do not need to indicate whether that new user is a spouse of the cardholder or not.

This means that an authorized user can be a friend, family member or stranger when it comes to for-profit credit repair organizations. 

Does Piggybacking Help or Hurt Your Credit? 

While piggybacking credit may be beneficial for some, we recommend that you approach it cautiously. It’s important to keep in mind that not all account holders or credit lenders can be helpful, or ensure that you get your intended credit results.

If you become an authorized user and your relationship suffers, or the primary cardholder ends up getting into financial trouble or starts missing payments, your credit history and score may also suffer. Piggybacking credit requires a great deal of trust between the account owner and the authorized user. 

How to Improve Your Credit Without Piggybacking 

You may consider piggybacking credit as a way to boost your credit reputation, but remember that it’s not a sustainable long-term solution. The best way to boost your credit score is to establish good financial and credit habits. Below are a few other ways to build your credit on your own and keep it healthy in the long run. 

  • Pay down debt
  • Lower your credit utilization ratio
  • Dispute errors on your credit report
  • Increase your credit limit
  • Limit hard inquiries on your credit report
  • Make payments on time

Whether you’re the cardholder or the authorized user, it’s important to know both the pros and cons of piggybacking credit. If you’re building credit for the first time, consider taking your own steps to build your credit reputation before piggybacking off of someone else’s credit, as it can be risky. If you have any questions about piggybacking, or want to learn about alternative ways to build your credit, consider signing up for credit repair services online to help you reach your financial goals.

Reviewed by Kenton Arbon, an Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Kenton Arbon is an Associate Attorney in the Arizona office. Mr. Arbon was born in Bakersfield, California, and grew up in the Northwest. He earned his B.A. in Business Administration, Human Resources Management, while working as an Oregon State Trooper. His interest in the law lead him to relocate to Arizona, attend law school, and graduate from Arizona State College of Law in 2017. Since graduating from law school, Mr. Arbon has worked in multiple compliance domains including anti-money laundering, Medicare Part D, contracts, and debt negotiation. Mr. Arbon is licensed to practice law in Arizona. He is located in the Phoenix office.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

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How Much Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy?



The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

Filing for bankruptcy is a process that can take more time and cost more money for a variety of reasons. There are some standard costs involved in all cases—less than $400 in court fees for filing paperwork and other surcharges—but this doesn’t account for attorney fees and payment plans.

In most cases, Americans pay between $400 to $4,000 in bankruptcy filing and attorney fees.

Bankruptcy Filing Fees

There are slightly different fees depending on whether you’re filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In both cases, the total cost in filing fees and surcharges is under $400 for the majority of people.

  • Chapter 7 filing costs: $245 filing fee, $75 administrative fee and $15 trustee surcharge
  • Chapter 13 filing costs: $235 filing fee and $75 administrative fee

Petitioners in both cases must also finish two mandatory bankruptcy education courses from approved credit counseling agencies. The federal government sets maximum allowable costs, and as such, the total cost to complete the courses is from $0 to $100.

Small additional costs may be added—$0.50 per page for reproducing documents, $11 for document certification and $22 for exemplification—among other miscellaneous fees that could become significant in complicated and prolonged court cases.

Attorney Fees

As mentioned previously, attorney fees are difficult to estimate in general and can be wildly different based on the location and specific elements of each bankruptcy case. Basically, if it’s a complicated situation, it will take longer to resolve and will incur more fees.

You’re not required to work with an attorney, which means you can file a bankruptcy petition on your own, but that leaves you responsible for all interactions with the court. The likelihood of you being successful is much higher when you’re represented by professionals who have experience handling these matters.

The specific attorney fees in your area are on the public record—made available by the government via PACER for $0.10 per page of information—which means you can find reliable costs at a local level.

Some estimates are provided below using data outlined in the Consumer Bankruptcy Fee Study produced by the University of Maine School of Law.

If You’re Filing Chapter 7

The national mean for Chapter 7 attorney fees is $968 in no-asset cases and $1,072 in asset cases. When comparing state by state, the difference in average cost can be over 200 percent. Averages range from a low of $692 in Idaho to a high of $1,530 in Arizona.

If You’re Filing Chapter 13

The national mean for Chapter 13 attorney fees is $2,564. The difference in cost from state to state can be even greater than in Chapter 7, with an increase of over 300% from lowest to highest cost. The most affordable state is North Dakota, where the mean attorney fee is $1,560 for Chapter 13 cases, and Maine is the least affordable at $4,950.

Each court has its own limits when it comes to no-look fees (also known as “presumptively reasonable fees”). These refer to the fact that if someone’s Chapter 13 filing fees are below a set amount (like, say, $4,500), the court will consider the fees reasonable without further review.

What Can Make a Bankruptcy Filing More Expensive?

Other than the filing fees, attorney fees and court costs, there are several issues that can add to the complexity and total cost of filing for bankruptcy.

  • Non-dischargeable debts, such as the majority of owed taxes, debt incurred due to deliberate injury or damage to people or property, child support, alimony and debts that were not disclosed in bankruptcy filing. These are debts that can’t be removed (discharged) via the bankruptcy process
  • Higher-than-average income based on your state and the number of people in the household
  • Previous bankruptcy filings within the last seven or 10 years that appear on your credit report
  • Multiple current filings, such as an ongoing personal bankruptcy case occurring alongside a business bankruptcy
  • Complications due to income streams and/or creditors—having more creditors generally increases the amount of time needed, as does the presence of multiple and/or complex income streams
  • Ongoing fraud cases, investigations or allegations
  • Payment plans and other arrangements made between attorney and client

Is There Any Way to Reduce Costs?

Most of the costs associated with bankruptcy are either set in stone, such as the filing fees and court costs, or predetermined by your specific situation and unable to be changed. However, there are a few circumstances that may help lower your costs.

Anyone over the age of 65 and people with disabilities, as well as the unemployed and those on a low income, may qualify for help at the local level via city and county programs. They may also receive lower fee agreements and more favorable terms on payment plans from individual attorneys.

Options such as this are dependent on location and whether the attorney in question is willing to accept it.

Theoretically, the biggest cost-saver would be to represent yourself, which would remove the attorney fees and keep your total costs fairly low. However, in reality, representing yourself in a bankruptcy or any other case is risky and can create higher costs and headaches that would’ve been avoided by paying for professional help.

The Bottom Line

As detailed above, the costs associated with Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy cases can vary by 300% or more and are dependent on many factors that are out of your control. It could cost a few hundred dollars, or many thousands of dollars, and the cost of a typical case is somewhere around $2,500.

It’s best to consult with a professional, even when it brings additional costs at such an unfortunate time. Bankruptcy attorneys are experts in the field and can give advice on other issues, such as the differences between foreclosure and bankruptcy.

After the dust has settled in the initial process of filing and satisfying the bankruptcy process, it’s important to get back on track and rebuild your credit and become eligible for all of the benefits it can bring. The bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for up to 10 years, but it’s never too early to start improving.

Reviewed by Vince R. Mayr, an Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Vince has considerable expertise in the field of bankruptcy law. He has represented clients in more than 3,000 bankruptcy matters under chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Vince earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Government from the University of Maryland. His Masters of Public Administration degree was earned from Golden Gate University School of Public Administration. His Juris Doctor was earned at Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, California. Vince is licensed to practice law in Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. He is located in the Phoenix office.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

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