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Richmond Virginia Bankruptcy Law Blog

Maintaining a routine is crucial for children during a divorce

When two parents make the difficult decision to get divorced in Virginia, one of the biggest challenges they face is being able to tell their children about these changes in a way that is the least damaging possible. Often, children will struggle as they try to make sense of what is happening, try to understand both sides of the story and learn to manage all of their emotions. While it can be difficult and even daunting for parents to tell their children about what is happening, their efforts to do it in a kind and caring manner can make a significant difference in how their children are able to handle the information they are hearing. 

According to Web MD, one of the most important things that parents can do is to maintain a routine that is as close to what their children are used to as possible. Often, this means parents will need to compromise on who gives up certain parenting responsibilities, who lives with the children and who is responsible for overseeing their schooling and extra-curricular activities. When a fair compromise can be met, children can continue to maintain their current schedule which will provide stability in a time when all kinds of things relating to their familial relationships are changing drastically. 

Retirement costs compromise the financial future for many elderly

While retirement is generally celebrated as a period to enjoy relaxation, adventuring and peace, this is often not the case for many people in Virginia. Along with the extended freedom, comes the obligation to continue financing everyday needs but on a much more limited budget and with restricted access to financial rewards. With the right tools and some keen money management skills, people can avoid having to declare bankruptcy in the years when they should be living life to its fullest. 

According to data gathered by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, since 1991, the number of elderly people who have filed for bankruptcy  has tripled. Unlike in times past when elderly folks had a variety of initiatives to draw upon when entering their retirement phase, more and more of their financial funding is being left to themselves to manage. For example, pensions use to provide a significant kick back for folks who were no longer working. However, since many companies have done away with pensions in an effort to minimize costs, elderly people are left to make up for the difference by themselves. 

Approaching divorce with respect and responsibility

When a couple makes the decision to get a divorce in Virginia, their decision is rarely made without many accompanying disagreements, sadness and contention. While there are cases where divorcing is inevitable or critical where there is abuse or neglect involved for example, couples who have shared a decently amicable marriage should do their due diligence in weighing their options before irrationally decided to separate. 

After exhausting all efforts to remedy marital problems, divorce often comes as a relief to couples who wish to simply pursue their own life without the interference of constant turmoil. According to Live About, unless there are extreme circumstances, couples who are thinking about getting a divorce should not do so until they have tried their hardest to fix their differences and overcome the barriers in their relationship. When all else fails and divorce is being discussed, couples have to be careful about their behavior so as not to further incriminate themselves or set the stage for an even more contentious outcome. Some of the things they should remember include the following:

  • They should not pursue dating or become romantically involved with another person until their divorce is finalized. 
  • They should carefully assess their financial situation before making any irrational decisions. 
  • They should be selective about who they share details with in regards to their divorce. 

Suggestions for businesses to avoid going bankrupt

The ebbs and flows of operating a business can be a challenge at times for management to navigate, especially when they seem to happen relatively quickly. In fact, sometimes changes can happen so fast that leaders are left with little time to make critical decisions about the organization's future. In other cases, companies in Virginia may have made missteps or taken careless risks that ultimately led to a gradual downfall. Businesses that are aware of what can be done to avoid ever having to file for bankruptcy may be more successful in maintaining financial security, even when times are challenging. 

According to Chron, some of the most common reasons why businesses end up having to file for bankruptcy include the following:

  • Careless decision-making or poor handling of company finances.
  • Fluctuating market conditions or failing to plan ahead for changes in the economy.
  • Inadequate funding or an inability to acquire financing when needed. 
  • Operating in a bad location or experiencing a natural disaster.
  • Losing influential employees or hiring the wrong people. 

Are there drawbacks to filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you find yourself in financial trouble, it's easy to assume you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a means of escaping your debt and starting fresh.

While there are many benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, e.g., the ability to discharge most of your debts, you shouldn't move forward under the assumption that there are no drawbacks.

How is alimony awarded in Virginia?

Alimony or spousal support, as the Virginia courts refer to it, is a payment from one ex-spouse to the other for financial maintenance after a divorce. It is not paid in all divorces. It also has limits and various terms. Payments are pretty dependent on the situation and the marriage. The Code of Virginia explains the exact guidance judges are given when making a determination about spousal support.

All evidence and information about the marriage and divorce can be used to make a judgement on alimony payments. A judge will typical consider the financial setup during the marriage, the lifestyle of the couple and the earnings of each spouse. Children and custody will also be considered if applicable. Other factors, such as debts, capital gains, investments, life insurance policies and retirement accounts may also factor into the judge's decision.

What is the wage earner plan?

You may have heard the term "wage earner plan" used in conjunction with talking about bankruptcy. This term, according to the Eastern District of Virginia, is used in the state as another way to identify Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Because Chapter 13 is a repayment plan, the name is descriptive of the fact that you need to be a wage earner to file under that chapter so you can make the repayments required.

Under this plan, your debts are organized so that you can pay the majority of them off following the court's repayment plan. You can take three to five years to complete the plan.

Can a debt collector harass me?

One of the biggest reasons why people end up filing for bankruptcy in Virginia is because their debts have become so complex that they are being constantly hounded by debt collectors. Once you file your petition, debt collectors must stop contacting you. However, did you know that you have rights when it comes to debt collection even if you have not filed bankruptcy?

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act offers you a lot of protection against harassment when it comes to debt collection practices. The FDCPA protects you against anyone trying to collect a debt other than the original creditor.

What can you do to expedite your recovery from bankruptcy?

Having to declare bankruptcy may have provided you with sudden financial relief, but it can also leave a lasting impression on your financial security and credit score. A damaged credit score can make it difficult to acquire a loan or purchase things like cars and homes in Virginia. Fortunately, there are things you can do to overcome this financial setback and expedite your recovery to a secure financial future. 

According to HGTV, one of the most important things you can begin to do immediately is to maintain a good credit score. Demonstrate that you understand what you can be doing differently to prevent having to file for bankruptcy again. Some of the other suggestions they give include the following:

  • Look for credit opportunities: As you work to begin to reestablish your credit, look for opportunities to pay debts down. However, be careful to stay within your means so you do not find yourself with more debt than you can reasonably pay. As you make payments on credits you owe, you can slowly begin to rebuild the damage that was left behind by bankruptcy. 
  • Make a list of changes: Identify areas that may have contributed to your downfall before. Commit to live within your means and to reduce your debt. Know which of your necessities are actual necessities and which can be put on hold until another time. 
  • Work with a professional: Experts who are familiar with working with people who have had to declare bankruptcy can provide you with a world of insight and guidance. Their experience may be able to give you ideas for ways that you can overcome your setback and continually rebuild your financial security. 

Did you buy a lemon? Here's what you need to know

You're so excited to have finally traded in that clunker on a new model. So much so that maybe you're a bit intoxicated from that "new car smell." Regardless, you failed to notice some fairly major problems when you took it out for a test drive.

What can you do? The salesperson at the dealership is no longer returning your increasingly-frantic phone calls, and you know that the clock is ticking on your options.

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