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3 tips for making it through the holidays during bankruptcy

The holiday season can easily break the bank no matter your financial situation, but it can be especially difficult during bankruptcy. Whether you are considering bankruptcy or already in the process of filing, the thought of buying gifts and decorations can leave you feeling helpless.

While it may seem like a daunting task, it is possible to get through the holidays on a bankruptcy budget. All it takes is creating a budget, communicating expectations and getting creative. 

Property division includes gifts, memberships and more

If you are facing divorce, it would be a good idea to begin making a list of your assets. Pennsylvania is an equitable division state, so there will not necessarily be a fifty-fifty split of assets. The list you make will be helpful to your attorney, so you want to include any assets you can think of.

You will probably begin by listing the obvious items, such as your home, automobiles, bank accounts and credit cards, but keep going. Here are six assets you might overlook when you are developing that list.

Top 5 reasons people file consumer bankruptcy

The bankruptcy numbers in America are troubling. According to statistics from the United States Courts, 767,721 people filed for consumer bankruptcy in 2017. If you are experiencing financial troubles, it is clear you are not alone. 

Know that you should never feel alone or ashamed about declaring bankruptcy. To help you make your choice, here are five of the most common causes of consumer bankruptcy in the United States:

Understanding the bankruptcy means test

If you are thinking about possibly filing for bankruptcy, you may be wondering what type of bankruptcy filing might suit your specific needs. Many people who file for personal bankruptcy protection do so through either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, but there are some important distinctions between the two types.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies, for example, are reserved for people who have limited incomes, while Chapter 13 bankruptcies typically require that you have at least some "disposable income" you can use to put toward debts. If you wish to proceed with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, you must first pass what is known as the bankruptcy means test.

When your child's other parent is a substance abuser

If you have reason to believe your child's other parent may be abusing drugs, you probably have concerns about the level of care your son or daughter is receiving during his or her time with that parent. Maybe your child is young and you worry about him or her finding and potentially ingesting substances he or she should not, or maybe you worry about your former partner driving your child around while under the influence.

Regardless of your specific concerns, know that parental drug abuse can impact your child's other parent's ability to maintain visitation and custody. Whether parental drug abuse will ultimately affect these areas will likely vary to some extent based on the type of drug abused, the length of the parent's addiction and so on. Here is a closer look at how drug abuse can impact your former partner's ability to parent.

How your child benefits from your joint-custody arrangement

Adjusting to a joint-custody arrangement can prove difficult for the entire family. While you have to adapt to spending time without your child, your child has to adjust to life in two homes along with everything that comes with it. While you may at times feel as if you are doing your child a disservice by forcing him or her to shuffle back and forth between homes regularly, you may, in fact, be doing what is best for his or her emotional well-being.

Per Time, a recent study on the living arrangements of children of divorced parents revealed that kids who spent time living with both of their divorced parents fared better emotionally than those who lived with only one parent.

How divorce can lead to bankruptcy

Watching your marriage fall apart can not only devastate you emotionally, it can also significantly impact your finances. According to the Huffington Post, one of the most common reasons people file for bankruptcy is divorce. When you experience financial difficulties on top of the emotional strains of marriage, it can feel like everything is caving in on you.

However, you do not need to feel ashamed about considering bankruptcy. Although going bankrupt may sound completely negative, it can actually give you a necessary fresh start to your finances. Here are some reasons a divorce may lead you to bankruptcy: 

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.

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