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Greensburg Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Student loans could be discharged in personal bankruptcy

Many borrowers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are struggling to repay their student loans. Naturally, they may wonder if they can discharge this overwhelming debt in a personal bankruptcy filing. The reality is that a student loan usually cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, but there is an exception.

If borrowers are experiencing undue hardship, they may be able to discharge their debt. The Brunner test is the specific test used in most circuit courts to determine if a borrower truly is experiencing this type of hardship. To pass the Brunner test, borrowers must have extenuating circumstances where they cannot repay their student loans and still maintain a minimum living standard. In addition, these circumstances must continue during their student loan repayment terms, and the borrowers must have made an effort to repay their loans.

Property division does not have to be a battle during divorce

The start of a new year is a common time for many couples to decide to get divorced in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. However, the divorce process does not necessarily have feel like a game of tug-and-war, even when spouses are dealing with complicated matters like property division. It is possible for couples to have a smooth divorce process by following a couple of steps.

First, it is important for both parties to avoid trying to get revenge on each other, especially if infidelity is involved. For instance, a spouse who was cheated on may bring pictures to court that provide evidence of the other party's infidelity. This spouse may even try to assemble evidence of the same with the help of a private investigator. The truth is, though, that the court likely will not focus on this information unless the spouse who did the cheating destroyed the household finances by splurging on his or her affair.

Why do I need a will when I'm young?

It may be hard to talk about, but planning for your death by creating a will is an important part of caring for your family. It outlines your wishes and intentions upon your death and can alleviate stress for those you love.

When you're a young adult, it's easy to put off creating a will. A will is often associated with elder end-of-life planning and therefore, many young people postpone thinking about it. With a will, you're not only planning for the designation of your assets but addressing other legal matters as well. A will can be an important part of a young family's life when children are involved.

Personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7

Sometimes, consumers in Pennsylvania find themselves deep in debt and desperate for relief. Fortunately, this relief may come in the form of a personal bankruptcy filing. Here is a glimpse at what a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing involves and how it differs from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is where a person is given the chance to pay some of his or her debts over time. With a bankruptcy trustee, the individual will begin a repayment plan that will last either three years or five years. This bankruptcy process will work only for those who have steady incomes. In addition, a judge must approve the repayment plan on which an individual wishes to be placed.

Will alimony factor into your divorce settlement?

During divorce, you may be concerned about your financial state once the process is finalized. You may be wondering whether alimony will be involved, and what child support payments will look like.

If you are a man, you may believe that paying alimony is inevitable. If you are a woman, you may believe that receiving child support is a given. However, these assumptions may be incorrect.

Child custody tips may help during divorce mediation or trial

When parents decide to get divorced, they naturally may worry about how their children will fare. They also worry about whether they are making the right decisions regarding child custody and parenting, whether they are going through divorce mediation or litigating unresolved issues. Here are a couple of tips for helping children to cope with divorce in Pennsylvania.

First, divorce is a major change in the children's world, and that they often pick up on a lot more than their parents may realize. It's essential that the parents are as respectful to each other as possible in front of the children, rather than trying to turn the children against the other party. After all, a child's relationship with each parent is entirely different from the parents relationship with one another. 

Divorce mediation may help with post-divorce holiday planning

Dissolving a marriage can certainly be trying for the two parties who are splitting up, but it can be just as emotionally challenging for the children. The holidays can be especially tough for families who have gone through divorce. However, parents who are getting divorced can help to make the holidays a pleasant time for their children in Pennsylvania by tapping into the power of divorce mediation.

When spouses decide to divorce, they may look forward to living their own lives going forward. This is why many ex-spouses may not entertain the thought of getting together during the holidays. However, if co-parents can do this, their children can spend time with both of them at the same time, thus making Thanksgiving and/or Christmas more enjoyable for the children.

Social media may lead to divorce, property division battles

Married couples in Pennsylvania may choose to get divorced for a number of reasons. For instance, perhaps they feel that they have grown apart over the years, which unfortunately may make it hard for them to sort out divorce issues like property division or child custody. However, in many divorce situations, the culprit may very well be social media.

For couples who are contemplating divorce, social media is often the cause of their desire to split up, or it might be a contributing factor. For example, in some situations, people discover that their spouses were maintaining affairs through social media. At the very best, people maintain communication with individuals, such as past partners, whom their spouses do not necessarily get along with.

Financial conflict can spark divorce, property division issues

When individuals marry, they often merge their financial accounts and other assets. While most assume that their marriages will last forever, many will not. Financial issues are a common cause of divorce, at which point matters like property division will have to be addressed. Here are a couple of specific reasons that many marriages end in divorce in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

First, the partners might be fearful of getting financially naked. In other words, they are not comfortable with being totally transparent about these issues with their spouses -- especially when it comes to debt or credit ratings. In fact, it makes good sense to talk about these matters before getting married. Otherwise, one spouse may find out later that the other party cannot be listed on a home mortgage due to a poor credit score, for example.

People can file for personal bankruptcy more than once

Sometimes, people in Pennsylvania realize that they are in over their heads financially and start to look for a way out of their situations. However, nothing seems to be a viable option for them -- that is, nothing except for personal bankruptcy. But what happens if someone has already filed for bankruptcy in the past? Can he or she file again in the future?

Experts say that no restrictions actually exist regarding how many times a person can file for bankruptcy. However, restrictions do exist on when he or she can and cannot file for an additional bankruptcy. The restrictions are based on the kind of bankruptcy previously filed, as well as the type of bankruptcy protection that the individual is seeking now.

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