March 2015
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Important Issues Regarding Children During Divorce

Even in the friendliest of divorce cases, there is really no such thing as a simple divorce case. This is even more true when there are children involved. When parents end their marriage, it is crucial that they do so in a way that has the least amount of negative impact on their children.


Being able to continue to co-parent can give kids the reassurance that the decision to divorce is not about them, but was a decision made by adults concerning adult issues.


That said, there are still important issues regarding your kids that must be decided when you get divorced. These issues play a critical role in the future of your kids and deserve to be given individualized attention. Common, and often times complex, issues that arise when parties with children, divorce include:

  • Custody, visitation, and support
  • Who pays for college
  • What to do when you have a child with special needs
  • How to handle parental alienation


In some of these instances you are able to notice a potential problem more quickly than others. For instance, if your child begins to withdraw during social settings, it might be time to take action.


The sooner you address an issue the more likely you are to reach a satisfactory result. In issues where kids are concerned, the old adage "an ounce of prevention" really is the best advice. You also must take special care to partner with a qualified and compassionate family law attorney, to ensure the best interests of your kids are taken into consideration.


These are some examples of what you might experience in your case, but the specifics of your case are unique to you. We offer an individualized approach, and work with you to develop a strategy that meets your needs. Contact our office today for answers to the questions that matter most to you.


What's The Difference Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is emotional as well as financial. When your finances are such that you are unable to meet your obligations as they become due, your stress level can spiral out of control right along with your financial bottom line. One the decision to file bankruptcy has been made; you will need to learn which type of relief is available to you. Consumer bankruptcy is either a Chapter 7, or a Chapter 13. Understanding the difference, and which type fits your needs best, consult a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. Chapter 7 is usually the preferred type of case, but not everyone qualifies for this form of bankruptcy.  

 

A Chapter 7 case is a liquidation of debt, where the unsecured debt you have is eliminated (referred to as discharged) while a Chapter 13 is a reorganization of your debt. Other differences include:

 

  • A Chapter 7 case is much quicker, lasting approximately 4 months. In comparison, a Chapter 13 can last up to 5 years.
  • Chapter 7 cases allow you to completely liquidate your unsecured debt, which means no part of your credit card or other unsecured debt will be required to be repaid. In a Chapter 13 though, if you are able to pay any portion of your unsecured debt you will be required to do so.
  • In a Chapter 13 case, you will propose a plan of repayment and make monthly plan payments to meet the terms of the approved plan. Chapter 13 is most similar to a debt consolidation.


 

In both types of cases you are allowed to retain possession of collateral that is secured by a loan. The way this is accomplished is through reaffirming the debt, which is essentially an agreement stating you will continue to be bound by the terms of the loan. The benefit of reaffirming a debt is that the lender may re-negotiate the terms, which can result in lower payments. For example, if the lender agrees to allow you to reaffirm the balance due at a lower interest rate, you will pay off the debt quicker and at a lower monthly payment amount. The downside to reaffirming is that you remain liable for the debt even after the bankruptcy case is completed. Making the decision to reaffirm debt is one that should be made after careful analysis of how the agreement will impact your budget. The goal of bankruptcy is to give the honest, but unfortunate debtor, a fresh financial start. Make sure the choices you make during your case put you on sound financial footing in the future.

 

Another important distinction between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is which chapter the debtor qualifies to file. When Congress revamped the Bankruptcy Code in 2005 significant changes were made. Most notably, debtors now must undergo scrutiny of their financial condition prior to filing to see if they are allowed to file the more favorable Chapter 7. The test is referred to as the means test, and it essentially compares your income to your secured debt. If the ratio meets a certain figure, you may be forced to file a Chapter 13 instead of a 7. The calculation is complex, and should be done by a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

 

If you have questions about the different forms of bankruptcy, call our office for answers. We know financial hardships can result in stress on you and your family. But, when you know what to expect, you are able to make an informed decision about your financial future. Call us today to schedule an appointment to learn more.