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Greensburg Pennsylvania Law Blog

Take the means test to see if you qualify for Chapter 7 relief

Are you drowning in debt? If so, you are not alone. There are quite a few Pennsylvania residents in the same boat as you. Like many of them, you are probably wondering what you can do about it. There are various debt relief options out there; Chapter 7 bankruptcy is just one of them. If you think this type of bankruptcy may be a good fit for you, you need to take the means test to see if you qualify.

The means test is nothing to stress about. There are no wrong answers. It really is just a form used to compare your income level to the state's median income level. If your income is above the state median and you have sufficient disposable income after paying your basic bills, you fail. If your income is above the state median and you lack sufficient disposable income, you may pass. If your income is below the current state median income level, you pass.

Knowing when divorce is in your best interest

When you struggle to get along with your spouse, when you've already gone to couples counseling, when you've worked to stay calm and when you can no longer fight it; divorce is your best option. But, what if you aren't quite sure if divorce is your best option? Below, you will find the most common signs that divorce is in the best interest of the marriage and you as an individual spouse.

Has your spouse's ideas of the marriage or a family changed? If so, it is time for a divorce. Many couples discuss their future together prior to getting married. Often, it involves starting a family. When one spouse changes their mind about children it can often lead to divorce.

You can resolve to minimize your stress level during divorce

To say that divorce is painful is an understatement. Decisions to end the life you dreamed of, separate yourself from your children and determine how to divide your assets are major life decisions that do not come easily to the healthiest adults.

However, while there may be no way to avoid the pain of dissolving your marriage, mediation can help you lessen the psychological effect it has on you throughout the process. Though you know you are heading into a complicated decision-making process, a third party can assist you and your spouse in maintaining civility as together you work toward reaching agreements.

Part 2: Choose collaborative divorce with care

Last week, we introduced the concept of collaborative divorce and explained why it can be a positive, creative choice for some people to negotiate a settlement agreement that meets the unique needs of the family, especially if children are involved. Today, we will talk about some potential concerns to consider when deciding whether to use collaboration.

A lot of responsibility comes with powers of attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is an incredibly beneficial estate planning tool. However--like most estate planning matters--it is not something that either the creator or the individual with a power of attorney should take lightly. 

It can be a heavy burden that comes with many responsibilities. And all of those responsibilities depend on a health care agent's ability to act in good faith.

The hidden cost of online wills

Putting together a will is about more than just determining where assets will go in the future. Drafting a will generally leads to a discussion about these assets. The discussion will likely include questions about your assets and what you expect to have in the future. But the discussion could take a more hopeful turn and lead to questions about what you want out of life.

The process can evolve into a life planning discussion.

Part 1: What is collaborative divorce?

At our law firm, we represent divorcing clients in western Pennsylvania in a range of divorce processes — from the courtroom or traditional negotiation to mediation or collaboration. Today we will talk about the potential benefits of the collaborative divorce process.

Plan to protect your assets as well as your addict

As a parent, you likely go to great lengths to protect your children. While you want the best for them, you also understand that as adults they make their own choices, some of which you may believe to be harmful.

Despite potential setbacks or challenges in your children's lives, you probably want to designate your assets to them in the event of your incapacitation or passing. But how do you leave your assets to one of your kids who's struggling with a drug addiction, without contributing to their disease?

Technology and financial dishonesty in marriages

Infidelity in a marriage can come in many forms. One is financial infidelity. This occurs when a person hides debt, accounts or spending from their partner. It can cause significant damage to a marriage.

Despite the many problems it can cause, financial infidelity may well be on the increase. That is what some studies and experts point to. One of the potential contributors to this rise is technology. The internet and digital technologies provide new and easier routes for concealing financial transactions from a partner. For example, signing up for and using accounts can now be done digitally without any mail-based paper trail. So, technological advances could be creating added temptations for such infidelity.

Should you get a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement isn't often on your wedding to-do list, but it's becoming more common. It's no longer the taboo subject that it once was. The number of couples requesting prenups is on the rise, especially among a younger generation. Millennials are getting married later in life and therefore have more assets to consider and protect. They look at a prenuptial agreement in a practical way, like an insurance policy that provides mutual protection.

A prenuptial agreement, also called a prenup, is a legal contract between soon-to-be-married couples to protect their assets and outline their financial expectations in case they were to end up divorced, and they aren't just for the wealthy anymore. You might benefit from having a prenuptial agreement if you own a business or have children from a previous marriage and are paying child support.

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Stewart, McArdle, Sorice, Whalen, Farrell, Finoli & Cavanaugh, LLC

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Greensburg, PA 15601

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