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Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Legal Blog

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.

Credit card debt delinquency rate rises alarmingly

The number of consumers in Florida and around the country who are finding it difficult or impossible to make their minimum monthly credit card payments is worrying economists. The delinquency rate on this type of debt in the United States has risen from 2.12 percent to 2.47 percent in just two years according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and many experts expect it to continue rising in the months ahead despite a thriving economy and low unemployment figures.

These figures reveal that more than $23 million in credit card debt is currently at least 30 days past due. However, it is the reasons why so many Americans are not paying their credit card bills that are of most concern to financial experts. While some Americans simply forget to make their monthly payments from time to time or sometimes skip a month to take care of an emergency or unexpected expense, research suggests that about one in three Americans do not have enough money coming in to make ends meet and use whatever they have to cover essentials like housing and food.

Is the home loan you co-signed part of your ex's bankruptcy?

Did your former spouse decide to keep the marital home in the divorce? If so, he or she probably also agreed to pay the mortgage loan as well. The problem is that if you failed to have your name taken off that loan, you may still be responsible for it long after your divorce is final.

Perhaps the circumstances at the time did not allow your former spouse to refinance the loan, which would have removed you from the existing loan and removed your obligation to the lender. You believed that your ex would continue to make the payments as he or she agreed in the divorce settlement, but then you discovered that your former spouse filed for bankruptcy. How will this affect you since you remained on the mortgage loan?

Digital assets complicating estate planning

Estate planning in Florida has changed significantly and is likely to continue to change thanks to digital assets. Everything from cryptocurrency and online cash accounts to passwords and online contact lists should be included in many estate plans. As always the most important thing is a communication to the executor of what the assets are and to whom they will pass.

In many cases, it is the access to digital assets that causes problems. People who are making estate plans and who own digital assets should be sure to create a list of crypto keys and passwords and the like so the executor of the estate can be aware of the entire estate. The most important things to convey are the types of assets, the locations of keys and the controls being used for security. Controls might include such things as passwords, timelocks or PINs.

Financial incompatibilities can lead to divorce

Many people in Florida are struggling with massive student loan debt. On average, people who have borrowed student loans owe an outstanding balance of $34,144. For graduates of the class of 2017, that number is even greater, with an average balance of $39,400. Student loan debt is on the rise, and the percentage of people who owe $50,000 or even more has tripled over the past 10 years. Only 22 percent of millennials are debt-free, and student loan debt plays a particularly large role in this debt burden.

Many millennials have postponed marriage due to educational debt, while for those who have chosen to marry, the pressure and stress created by outstanding debt can lead to serious conflicts and even divorce. Educational debt can lead people to delay life plans like having children or buying a home, and conflicts about these issues can expose deeper incompatibilities in a marriage. According to one survey of student loan borrowers, over a third of divorced respondents said that financial issues, including educational debt, played a role in their divorce. Another 13 percent attributed the end of their marriages directly to student loans.

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