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Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Legal Blog

How housework arguments could lead to divorce

Florida couples who argue about the household chores might be more likely to get a divorce than couples who do not. A study conducted by Harvard Business School found that of the couples that split up among the 3,000 in the study, 25 percent said the top reason their marriage ended was because of arguments over housework.

Studies support the idea that having fewer chores to do leads to less stress and better relationships. A 2008 study found that free time leads to a better sense of well-being while a 2017 study found that when couples spend from $100 to $200 paying someone else to do some chores, whether it is cleaning, laundry or grocery delivery, their relationship improves.

Americans carry a significant amount of debt

Some Florida families may be among the households throughout the country that owe an average non-mortgage debt of more than $24,000. The credit reporting agency Experian also found that in 2017, people's average mortgage debt was over $200,000. On average, people owed more than $6,300 on their credit cards and $1,841 on retail cards. The average student loan debt set a new record at $34,144.

These averages do not necessarily represent the typical situation of most households. There are significant regional variations, and even people who carry a high credit card balance might pay it off monthly. However, it is clear that overall, Americans carry a large amount of debt. In June 2017, the total debt hit a record high of $1.02 trillion. Furthermore, the fact that 33 percent of people with student loans have had a late payment over the past year and that over 7 percent of credit card debt was at least 90 days past due in the third quarter of the year suggest that some people are struggling with those obligations.

Studies show credit card debt is on the rise

Credit card debt may have risen over the last year for some people in Florida. A study by WalletHub found that in 2017, credit card debt nationwide rose by $92.2 billion and reached its highest levels since before the Great Recession in 2007. Much of that increase happened in the final quarter of the year when the additional $67.6 billion in debt represented the highest increase in a single quarter in 30 years. The Federal Reserve estimates that the total national credit card debt is around $1 trillion.

From 2015 to 2016, credit card debt went from $43 billion to $87 billion. This rapid growth might be because there are more customers who cannot pay their credit card bills and low charge-offs. Banks are extending loans to customers with lower credit scores, unlike during the recession when they tightened their regulations on who could borrow money.

Who decides if a child can play football?

Child custody discussions are one of the most difficult parts of any separation or divorce. Custody discussions aim for a connective thread that allows the parents to work together even though they don't live together. In most cases, one parent has primary custody but both parents have a say about important decisions in their child's life. This includes medical issues, religion, schools and more. The parent with primary physical custody makes decisions about day-to-day matters like extra-curricular activities.

One issue that's getting more court time in recent years is youth football. It's an extra-curricular activity through school or community programs, but with the ongoing debate about concussions and general safety, it overlaps with health concerns.

Estate plans under the new tax law

One of the highly publicized details of the tax bill signed into law last year was the change to estate taxes. Specifically, the exemption amount doubled.

What does that mean? It means that limit is higher - that unless a married couple has over $22 million in assets, the inheritance left to loved ones won't be subject to inheritance tax. It's good news for anyone worried that their heirs would be stuck with a hard-to-pay tax bill alongside their inheritance. The downside is that many people think they don't need a proper estate plan now that the law has changed.

Bankruptcy filings increase during tax season

In the board game Monopoly, bankruptcy generally means that the player is out of the game. There is no starting over. That's a game.

In real life, bankruptcy is a legal process that helps a person manage their debt, either by restructuring payments or, sometimes, wiping it clean. There are many different types methods that depend on a person's individual situation. People file for bankruptcy when debt becomes too much of a burden, when it's a negative cycle that hurts day-to-day life.

Can employers exhibit age discrimination in job advertising?

You may have heard of age discrimination in the workplace. But what about age discrimination in a job vacancy announcement? That’s the allegation behind a new class-action lawsuit, which claims that certain large employers are unfairly using Facebook ad targeting to zero in on younger job applicants.

There has been a growing trend by employers in recent years to advertise employment vacancies on social media. Facebook ads are one of the most popular avenues for such advertising.

Harassment and discrimination complaints often lead to retaliation charges

Harassment and discrimination in the workplace are old problems, dating back decades if not centuries. The #MeToo movement has called attention to sexual harassment with several high-profile examples that range from Hollywood to news personalities and politicians. The problem affects women in all career fields whether they are executives or cashiers.

Many harassment complaints are never filed, which is unfortunate because all workers should stand up for their rights. Based on federal numbers, sexual harassment is far from the only the only form of discrimination. Data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2017 shows that claims for race, sex and age are the leading areas of discrimination. Each of these issues is involved in roughly 30 percent of complaints. It's worth noting that many claims involve multiple factors, for example both sex and race might be involved in a single case.

Estate plans are essential for parents of children with disabilities

Parenting requires complex multitasking: an ability to work in the present while looking at the big picture ahead. Whether changing diapers, coordinating extracurricular activities, saving for college or helping a special needs child navigate the educational system, a parent needs to be thinking about the long-term welfare of their children at the same time they meet daily needs.

One thing that all parents should consider is an estate plan to care for their children after they're gone. When a family member has intellectual or developmental disabilities, an estate plan can be a vital resource to make sure that everyone is provided for in the best way possible.

Government taking comments about student loan burden

The cost of a college education in the United States is very high, and continuously on the rise. As costs go up, so do the amount of loans that students.

Getting the right job is important but in many situations, sometimes after getting that job, a graduate still can't afford loan payments. Student loans are intended to kick-start somebody's progression up the ladder, not serve as a burden that complicates a career.

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