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Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Law Blog

Taking a stand against gender discrimination at your workplace

Women have been fighting for equal rights for decades, and while they have achieved significant progress, women still face certain types of discrimination in the workplace. Workplace discrimination for any reason is illegal, and women who experienced this have the right to stand up for themselves and fight back.

Both Florida laws and federal laws expressly prohibit the discrimination of an individual solely based on his or her gender. It can be difficult to know if the treatment you experienced in the workplace could qualify as gender discrimination, but you have the right to know. By reaching out to an experienced attorney, you can better understand your rights and take the steps necessary to hold the appropriate parties accountable. 

Buying a home after Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Some people may be worried that filing for bankruptcy in Florida may affect their ability to qualify for a home loan. According to Experian, one of the major credit reporting bureaus, it may be possible and profitable to purchase a home through a rent-to-own agreement. While buying a home with this type of contract may not improve a person’s credit score, it does typically allow those with issues on their credit report to become a homeowner.

SFGate.com explains that most sellers run a credit check, even if they have advertised that they accept applications from people with a bankruptcy on their report. In any case, a potential homebuyer may be better off explaining the circumstances at the outset, which may save time if there are any disqualifying factors.

More credit card debt? Increased cost of living may be to blame

If you feel as if you came by your credit card debt through forces in Florida outside your control, you are far from the only one. Nerd Wallet notes that its most recent report on debt in the United States reveals rising costs of living rather than consumerism drives much of the country’s financial issues.

Your grocery bill may have increased by as much as 36 percent since 2003, while your household income, if you are in the middle range, has only gone up by about 28 percent. Even more expensive than just getting by is the toll medical bills take on your finances—and for good reason. These have gone up 57 percent in the last 13 years. After paying for your health, you may have no choice other than getting out the credit card to buy food or fuel.

Financial and physical health often go hand in hand

Unemployed people are not the only ones suffering from financial stress in Florida, and it does not even really matter how much money you make. People from all walks of life find themselves struggling with overwhelming debt. The team at The Law Offices of George Castrataro, P.A., have worked with many who are seeking ways to reduce these burdens.

Fox News reports on a recent survey indicating that current financial circumstances were causing stress for nearly 50 percent of employed participants. Your body’s responses to your money worries could include:

  •          Cortisol release
  •          Increased heart rate
  •          Higher blood pressure
  •          Lower metabolism
  •          Memory and concentration issues

Will I get to keep my retirement savings after divorce?

The end of a marriage will signal significant financial changes and adjustments for both parties involved, even years after a divorce. If you are planning to divorce and nearing retirement age, one of your most important concerns likely involves the potential impact that the end of your marriage could have on your long-term savings.

LGBT couples may still face special challenges with family law issues in Florida. If a same-sex couple decides to divorce, it can be useful to understand how the division of retirement benefits works and how a person may pursue the specific objective of protecting his or her interests both during the divorce and long into the golden years.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy and entrepreneur opportunities

Starting and running a small business in Florida may have seemed like a dream come true, but entrepreneurs who are facing overwhelming financial obstacles may be wondering if it is time to give up. Even though many companies fail each year, not every entrepreneur sees a chapter 7 bankruptcy as the end of the line. Many have found that not only is it possible to recover on a personal level, it is also possible to start fresh in the business world.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, even the experience gained from running a company that ultimately closed can be used to start a new and successful business. This could be done either by beginning again in the same vein, or offering the lessons learned to others who need guidance to avoid similar pitfalls.

Do not risk it: Keep control over your property with a will.

Despite the benefits of estate planning, many people fail to have updated and accurate wills. Some assume that it is not necessary if they are not wealthy, and others assume that it is not necessary because a family member will make sure that the distribution of property goes as planned.

In reality, failure to have a will is a huge risk as it increases the chance that the default laws of Florida will dictate the distribution of your property, not your desires or those of your family members. The best way to control what happens to your property after your death is to have a current will.

Disposing of medical debt through Chapter 7

Health problems do not discriminate based on income or insurance coverage, leaving many in Florida with enormous medical debt that they are unable to pay. If one is in a position where paying back medical bills has become impossible, declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be an option to consider. While not all people qualify for Chapter 7, and some have too many assets to be a good candidate, in Florida many are able to dispose of medical debt through bankruptcy.

Because Chapter 7 allows a person to wipe out most unsecured consumer debt, which includes unpaid medical bills and other debts that have no collateral, there are financial benchmarks in place to determine who qualifies. The first step, according to NerdWallet, is passing the means test. This test documents all of the income from the previous six months to determine whether or not someone makes below the state’s median income. This number is based on the number of earners in a household. If the income falls below this amount, people are qualified for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

When your car is under water

Putting a big down payment on a new vehicle is not an option for many people in Florida, but reliable transportation is essential for most. Car dealerships are often willing to “help” by stretching the loan over a longer period at a high interest rate. Vehicles rarely increase in value, though, and under those conditions, it is likely that the payments will not keep pace with the depreciation. According to U.S. News, car owners may have options when they find themselves with an under water vehicle loan.

Simply continuing to drive the vehicle until it is paid off may be one of the best choices for those who can. However, getting out from under the high payment can be a necessity in many circumstances. In some cases, it may be possible to refinance. Or, if the difference between the debt and the value of the car is low, a person may be able to sell the vehicle and pay that balance, then start fresh. A car owner may be able to get that balance financed by a credit union or bank, and pay off the rest of the loan after the sale.

I'm swimming in debt: Can Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection help?

In the modern economy, making ends meet can be a challenging task for a business of any size. Perhaps your business debt has become so great that your revenues are no longer able to keep up with it. In this situation, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection may be your ticket to financial freedom in the state of Florida.