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Harrisburg Divorce Legal Blog

Top 3 reasons Americans file for bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may have concerns about whether there is a stigma attached to doing so and whether others might get the impression you are unable to manage your finances on your own. Contrary to popular belief, however, most people who file for bankruptcy do not get there because of reckless spending.

Instead, bankruptcy can offer a fresh start to those who find themselves in financial distress, and many who utilize it find they need it for similar reasons that have little, if anything, to do with irresponsibility. More specifically, most people who file for bankruptcy make the decision to do so because of:

How child support positively impacts the family

If you pay or receive child support in Pennsylvania, your child will experience many benefits, and you and your child’s other parent may, too, enjoy benefits that might include an improved relationship. Child support is money paid by one parent to the other for the purpose of providing for a child’s needs, with the money frequently going toward food, housing, health care costs and other necessities.

In addition to helping give your child the things he or she needs, collecting or receiving child support can:

  • Give unwed fathers an opportunity to pursue child custody or visitation
  • Give a child access to a father’s employee and Social Security benefits
  • Give a child inheritance rights in the event of his or her father’s passing
  • Improve a child’s odds of being successful in school
  • Allow a child to have a better understanding of his or her family history
  • Make a child less likely to become pregnant as a teen

3 tips for a successful Chapter 13 filing

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a solution many people seek when confronted with a burden of debt they cannot repay. This option is also referred to as a wage earner’s plan because it is tailored to individuals with regular income who need to restructure their debt payment plan. According to statistics from the United States Courts, filings for Chapter 13 appear to be decreasing, but these three tips are still important.

Taking the following advice can help you prevent a failed bankruptcy, appearance of fraud or a prolonged negotiation. No matter what stage of the bankruptcy process you are in, these tips are essential for ensuring it goes smoothly and you achieve the debt relief you need.

Debt division in a Pennsylvania divorce

The largest and most contentious part of divorce without children is the division of marital property. You and your spouse may be fighting over who gets what. However, one aspect to remember is that assets are not the only divided property in a divorce – debt is, too.

Understanding debt division in Pennsylvania may influence which assets you decide to keep and how you decide to handle joint debt.

How does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy work?

If, like so many others in Pennsylvania, you face financial stress and debt, bankruptcy can present an optimal solution. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are two types of bankruptcy proceedings that can help individuals get back on a sound financial footing.

The main characteristic of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the repayment plan. Typically, Chapter 13 repayment plans cover three to five years, during which you make agreed-upon monthly payments to your creditors. At the end of this period, your remaining debts may be discharged. Some plans may provide complete repayment for all eligible debt.

Bankruptcy knowledge can help you make a personal choice

The idea of bankruptcy might make you wince. Maybe you feel as though you should be able to overcome the mountain of debt that piled up due to various hardships in your life. While the hopes of overcoming debilitating debt through repayment is admirable, sometimes such hope is unrealistic and even damaging to the course of your life and the life of your family.

Matters as common as home repairs, medical bills, job loss and divorce can all result in significant financial hardships. There is no promise that life will be easy, but sometimes the troubles keep arising and put well-intended men and women in a crisis of insurmountable debt.

If you have found yourself in a similar situation, do not simply dismiss bankruptcy as an option. Legal options like Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy exist for a reason: to help people discover a fresh start and find secure financial footing once again. In order to get to that happier, more stable place, you need some information and the experienced support of a thoughtful bankruptcy lawyer.

Child custody plans make life easier after divorce

Pennsylvania parents who are ending their marriages might encounter situations that, if not handled appropriately, might result emotionally harmful to their children. While most will say that everything they plan to do after a divorce will be in the best interest of the child, often, emotions and life situations might lead to different results.

A custody plan is one tool that divorced couples can use to provide stability and continuity for the children after a divorce. While a plan that is too full of details might make it easier for one of the parents to violate the agreement, a custody plan needs to be detailed in order to anticipate conflicts and prevent situations from escalating. A strong plan includes the visitation schedule for the parents, and it can include visitations by extended family such as grandparents and aunts and uncles. It should also include information about child support, the children's schooling, health concerns and even what rules will be followed at both homes. A solid plan also includes set times for the parents to meet to discuss and resolve any issues that do come up.

Divorce filings spike in January

Many people in Pennsylvania who were considering divorce over the holiday season will file their paperwork in January. The first month of the year is a popular time for initiating the end of a marriage, and many family law attorneys notice a spike in filings during this time. However, people who are getting serious about this issue should think carefully before filing a petition.

A lot of people choose to file for divorce in January because they were waiting until after the holidays to start the process. There are also theories that stress during the holidays causes couples to fight more, and this fighting leads to more divorces in January. Whatever factors led to the decision to file for divorce, it is important that people do not do so out of anger. A rash decision to file divorce paperwork in January could be a big mistake, depending on a couple's financial situation.

What are some things to consider regarding prenuptials?

When Pennsylvania couples are planning on getting married, they might wonder about whether or not they should have a prenuptial agreement. These agreements may be needed in order to protect the financial interests of the parties if their marriage doesn't last or if other events take place. There are advantages and disadvantages of prenuptial agreements that people might want to consider.

Premarital agreements may be used to protect the inheritances of children and grandchildren from prior marriages. They may also be used to protect a business one spouse will be bringing into the marriage, allowing that spouse to retain the business as separate property. These agreements may also be used to limit any potential spousal support that may be payable if the marriage doesn't work out. They are also good for couples with one party who has a substantial debt burden so that the other will not be obligated to assume those obligations.

Declining enrollment in child support program threatens children

Single parents head many households in Pennsylvania. For the past four decades, the federal Child Support Enforcement Program has enabled custodial parents to obtain child support from noncustodial parents. Although the program has effectively boosted income for single parents and connected children with noncustodial parents, participation in the program has declined.

According to federal data, only 49 percent of parents eligible to enter the program set up a child support agreement in 2014. Ten years earlier, 60 percent of eligible people had a formal agreement in place.

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