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Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Legal Blog

Millennials facing increasing debt challenges

Millennials in Florida and other states have a reputation for shying away from credit card debt and credit cards in general, likely because the late 2000s recession is still fresh in their minds. But this may not be the case anymore. Credit card delinquencies of 90 days or more among borrowers 18 to 29 are on the rise.

Americans within this age group have reached a nearly ten-year high with their share of overall 90-day-plus delinquent credit card balances. People within this age group are less likely to be lured by cash back or zero-percent interest. However, they are often enticed by elaborate credit card bonuses and attractive perks. Rising interest rates and a strong economy are other factors cited. Accumulating credit card debt can present financial challenges for younger borrowers, even more so than student loan debt - another form of debt also on the rise among millennials.

How medical debt factors into a credit score

According to Consumer Reports, roughly 30 percent of all Americans have medical bills of $500 or more. An inability to pay those bills could have an impact on the credit score of those who live or work in Florida. For instance, a poor credit score or history could make it harder to rent an apartment. Furthermore, insurance rates, as well as interest rates on loans, could be higher for those who have a checkered credit past.

However, there is no guarantee that a medical debt will have a negative impact on a person's credit score. The FICO 8 credit model does not take into consideration any medical debt that is less than $100. It is also important to note that debt that is sent to collections does not appear on a credit report for at least 180 days. Therefore, debtors may have an opportunity to avoid having the debt reduce their credit score or ruin their credit history.

How attitudes about income affect marriage, divorce

How much income each spouse in earns in a marriage can affect the stability of that marriage in a number of different ways. Women in Florida and around the country are more likely to earn more money than their husbands than in previous decades. Even though this can cause some men to feel insecure and put a strain on the marriage, men may still be hesitant to marry someone whose income is substantially less than theirs. They may be concerned about losing their assets in a divorce.

According to the Pew Research Group, in 1981, women earned half or more of the income in only 13% of couples who lived together. That number had risen to nearly 33% by 2017. One study that was published in the journal "Demography" found that couples who earn roughly equal amounts are less likely to split up. In addition, a Pew Research Center study found that more Americans believed fathers should provide financially for their children than mothers.

Should you consider bankruptcy for outstanding tax debt?

Though the tax season has officially come to an end, you and many other individuals may still have tax-related worries on your mind. In particular, if you owe taxes this year or still owe from previous years, you may constantly worry about the tax debt you have accrued and your inability to pay the balances.

You are not alone in facing this type of ordeal, even though it may certainly seem that way. Numerous others are also facing this predicament, and you do have options for seeking help. In some cases, filing for bankruptcy may act as a viable way to handle your outstanding tax debt.

LGBT couples can have unique challenges during divorce

Since LGBT marriages were federally recognized in 2015, thousands of same-sex couples have gotten married. However, like heterosexual marriages, some LGBT marriages end in divorce.

Divorce can present legal challenges for any couple, but because same-sex divorce is relatively new, there are some unique challenges same-sex couples can face during the divorce process. If you are preparing for your own divorce, it can be helpful to consider some of the challenges other LGBT couples have encountered. 

How to prevent a foreclosure

Losing your home is a scary prospect. But being unable to pay their mortgage happens to more people than you may realize. You may have lost your job, had your hours cut back or are coping with a pile of medical bills. Many things can cause you to get a little behind on the bills.

Though it may be embarrassing, you will be better off if you deal with the problem as quickly as you can.

Helping a child overcome a divorce

Parents in Florida and throughout the country may wonder how the end of their marriage will impact their children. While they may experience a period of sadness or confusion, focusing on kids' needs makes it more likely that they will get past those negative feelings. Ideally, parents will provide a stable environment that puts an emphasis on routine. This can keep a child centered and maintain his or her confidence through a turbulent time.

Parents should strive to be there for their kids no matter how far away they are. For instance, parents and children could watch a sporting event or movie at the same time from wherever they happen to be. Afterward, they can talk or write to each other about it, which can serve as a bonding experience. By being there for a child, a parent shows his or her son or daughter that he or she is still important regardless of what happens.

How medical debt affects credit score

Unpaid medical bills often get reported to credit rating agencies, and they can seriously affect credit scores. While the uninsured are impacted by these bills more than other groups, more than a quarter of insured individuals and families encounter surprise medical bills that end up going on their credit reports. According to Consumer Reports, there are some things people can do to protect their scores when they encounter a bill.

Federal law requires the three big credit rating agencies to wait 180 days before including an unpaid medical bill in a person's credit report. This provides some time for disputing unpaid claims or errors that may be on a bill. If an insurance company ends up paying for a bill, the credit agencies are required to remove it from the report. Following up with a healthcare provider to insist that they get the bill removed from the report may be necessary.

Avoiding a future will contest

A will is a way for a person to leave behind their most valuable assets to their heirs. Everyone would like to assume that their relatives will do the right thing after they pass away. Unfortunately, many cases in Florida probate courts involve disagreements about the decedent's will. Careful will drafting can help prevent a family feud later on.

Every will must name an executor. The executor is the person who is in charge of making sure that the will is carried out according to the wishes of the deceased. It is important to choose the right executor based on how organized, ethical and responsible that person is rather than according to family hierarchy.

Compelling reasons for couples to consider prenups

Most Florida couples preparing to head down the aisle together have many things on their to-do lists, from sending out invitations to writing meaningful vows. While it may seem fatalist, including "have a prenuptial agreement drawn up" on that list may provide much-appreciated peace of mind and added financial security for some soon-to-be-spouses. The purpose of such a document is to predetermine what each party would receive or agree to give up in the event that a marriage comes to an unexpected end.

When a divorce occurs and there is no prenup, the division of property and assets will be determined based on guidelines established by the state. Prenuptial agreements have grown in popularity in recent years, especially among couples entering a second marriage or those with significant assets. In fact, a common reason to have a prenup is because one party has more assets of their own than the other.

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