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Greensburg Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Personal bankruptcy is viable option for those with debt issues

Sometimes, people's personal debts in Pennsylvania end up outweighing their assets. In these situations, it is natural for people to feel hopeless and helpless. However, personal bankruptcy may be a viable option for them, and for those who worry that bankruptcy will negatively impact their credit, the problem may not be as bad as they think.

The reality is that if consumers are having a hard time paying their bills, it does not make sense to continue to send money to their creditors, such as credit card companies and other lenders. After all, their basic necessities should ideally take priority. These necessities include, for example, medications, utilities, food and shelter.

Divorce mediation: Trial may be unavoidable in certain cases

Moving forward with the dissolution of a marriage in Pennsylvania can understandably leave a person struggling with a wide range of emotions. One the one hand, he or she may be happy to break free from an unfulfilling marriage. At the same time, this individual might not look forward to the conflict he or she may face during the divorce proceeding. However, in some marriages that are rife with problems, divorce is the only solution. Here are some signs that going through divorce trial, or perhaps opting for divorce mediation, may be appropriate given the circumstances.

First, perhaps one spouse has lost trust in the other. It is not unreasonable for divorce to occur as a result, as a lack of trust can deal a fatal blow to a marital relationship. Although the couple may try counseling, it might not be sufficient to rehabilitate the relationship.

City councilor files for personal bankruptcy

A city councilor in another state recently decided that his financial situation was beyond what he could handle on his own. He therefore decided to file for personal bankruptcy. Individuals in Pennsylvania who are struggling to make ends meet can likewise take full advantage of this type of bankruptcy filing.

In his Chapter 7 filing, the city councilor listed more than $837,000 in assets along with more than $1.74 million in liabilities. The biggest of the councilor's liabilities are related to business. In fact, his top creditors are banking institutions with which the bank has worked during the past decade.

Can you make the decisions when it comes to child custody?

Divorce can take its toll on everyone involved. While you certainly want to get through the process as unscathed as possible, you likely have more concern over how the process will impact your kids. This concern is understandable, as you have major decisions to make regarding child custody.

The terms of a custody agreement can greatly impact the lives of your kids, your life and the other parent's life. While you may have a particular arrangement that you believe would best suit your situation, the end result may not end up exactly as you desire because many factors could impact the exact terms.

Divorce mediation may help during divorce involving children

Individuals in Pennsylvania typically walk down the aisle with the goal of keeping their marriages intact long term. Unfortunately, irreconcilable differences make this impossible to achieve sometimes, and although this can certainly take an emotional toll on the spouses, it can be even more problematic for young children. Fortunately, when divorce cannot be avoided, divorce mediation can help to make the marital breakup process as amicable as possible for the entire family. Here are a couple of other steps that parents can take to make divorce easier on the children.

First, it is wise for divorcing parents to keep their children's lives as routine and consistent as possible. This helps the children to feel more in control during the divorce and thus more capable of handling the changes that come with divorce. It is important for the parents to communicate about what they are doing at their individual homes with regard to grades and chores, for example, to ensure that they are on the same page.

Mediation may help to minimize property division conflict

Sometimes efforts to make a marriage work are not successful. In these situations, divorce is often unavoidable. However, the process of mediation may make tackling divorce issues, such as property division, much easier than they would be with traditional divorce litigation in Pennsylvania.

If mediation is selected, the parties will sit down with a neutral individual, called the mediator, with the goal of working out agreements that are mutually satisfactory and beneficial. The mediation process is helpful for discussing options related to asset distribution, as well as for discussing both individual goals and family objectives. It also allows the two parties to talk about how to handle alimony, sometimes called spousal maintenance.

Property division rules govern both marital and separate property

The emotional aspect of a divorce proceeding can quickly take a toll on a couple in Pennsylvania. However, if the two parties have high-value assets to split -- or a large quantity of property to divide -- this can also be an overwhelming part of the divorce process. Here is a rundown on how courts handle property division in the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania is one of several states across the country that are equitable distribution states. In these states, a judge divides a divorcing couple's marital property in a manner that he or she considers to be fair. The property that he or she must divide includes anything that the couple acquired via their jobs or even through their unique abilities, for example.

Credit card overuse may lead to personal bankruptcy

Credit cards remain a major cause of debt issues in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. In some cases, filing for personal bankruptcy is the only way to break free from this debt. Here are a few mistakes that credit card users often make that cause them to get into the hole financially and thus require bankruptcy protection.

First, in many cases, new business owners use credit cards to get their businesses started. In some of these situations, it pays off. However, for many consumers, the potential penalties of missing payments and the high interest rates make this form of financing unwise.

Fewer couples getting divorced, fighting over property division

Over the years, people in Pennsylvania who have gotten married have been warned that around 50 percent of married individuals end up getting divorced. However, research indicates that the reality is quite different. According to researchers, the marital breakup rate declined by 18 percent during the period of 2008 to 2016, meaning that fewer people today compared with the past are having to fight over property division and alimony after years of being married.

Part of the reason for the declining divorce rate is the fact that many women today are postponing marriage. Rather than getting married right away, they are focusing on developing their careers. Already being established career-wise can be helpful to women because their future spouses already know what their schedules and career intentions are, which may help to cut down on conflicts regarding these matters.

Special needs trust can protect your child

For some, estate planning is as simple as writing a will and dividing their assets equally among their children. However, you may have a more complicated situation that requires more careful consideration and planning. Distributing assets to some of your heirs may result in devastating consequences.

If you have a child with special needs, you know that child will likely depend on government assistance, such as Social Security Disability or Medicaid, for the rest of his or her life. These programs have strict rules, including limits on the amount of income or assets the participants may have. Leaving an inheritance of any size to someone receiving federal or state aid may jeopardize eligibility for those critical funds. You may wish to consider adding a trust to your estate plan.


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