Falling Deeper in Debt? 4 Things You Should Know About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you’ve reached the end of your rope, and you’re drowning in debt, it may be time to consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. While bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, it’s a good way to get out from under debt and give yourself the fresh start you need. One of the benefits of bankruptcy is that you can start rebuilding your credit as soon as your case is discharged. Once your bankruptcy is off your credit report, you’ll have the firm financial foundation you need to move forward with your life. Before you file for bankruptcy protection, here are four things you need to know.

Your Case Can Be Rejected

When filing for bankruptcy protection, it’s important for you to know that your case can be rejected. While this doesn’t happen often, it is still a possibility that you need to be aware of. Some of the reasons your bankruptcy can be rejected include:

  • Providing false information on your bankruptcy paperwork
  • Failing to disclose all your assets
  • Hiding assets to prevent liquidation

Creditors Must Stop Collection Attempts

If you’ve got creditors hounding you day and night, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll get a break once you file for bankruptcy. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, your creditors will be notified. At that point, they will be required to stop all collection attempts. If they continue to contact you or anyone else concerning your debt, you should contact your attorney as soon as possible.

Not All Your Debt Can Be Discharged

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to get out from under your debt. However, not all debt is dischargeable. That means, some of your debt may remain active – and collectible – even after your bankruptcy is discharged. Some of the debt that is not dischargeable includes the following.

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Most student loans

You Can Choose to Retain Some Debt

If you’re concerned about losing your house, or your cars, you might not need to. If you want to keep some of your debt – such as houses or cars – you can request to retain those specific accounts. You’ll need to enter into an agreement with those creditors prior to the discharge of the bankruptcy. It’s important to note that if you fall behind on those payments after discharge, your creditors will be able to proceed with repossession and foreclosure.

If you’re in debt, and there’s no end in sight, it’s time to talk to an attorney, such as those at John G Rhyne Attorney At Law, about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

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A Smooth Transition: Divorce, Parenting Plans, and You

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, you should know that any agreements you can make yourselves will be beneficial. Taking an issue like child custody and visitation to court costs money, is stressful, and just extends the divorce process for weeks longer than it needs to be. Setting aside your differences and creating a co-parenting plan that addresses the issues that you care about most can turn a bad situation into a more hopeful one. Read on to get some tips to create a smooth transition for you and your children.

1. Sit down with your spouse with the expectation that you will begin working on issues that are easier to deal with first. These things might be educational and school choices or vacation-custody plans. This sets the stage for the trickier issues later by creating an atmosphere of collaboration for the good of the children.

2. Take both of your work schedules and demands into account when deciding on primary physical custody and visitation plans. Trying to overcompensate by over-scheduling doesn’t make sense and only creates stress.

3. Keep the plans as simple as possible; divorce already creates upheaval in a child’s usual routines, so try to stick to easy routines if possible. Be especially careful about complicated visitation scheduling on school nights. For example, it may be simpler to stay at one parent’s home during the weekdays and leave visitation for the weekends and school holidays.

4. Be ready for emergencies and get some back-up ready to help with sick days, times when you have transportation issues, and snow days. Grandparents, trusted friends, or neighbors that you can call on at times like those are invaluable.

5. Very young children should not be burdened with the adult responsibility of making major custody and visitation decisions. Be wary of letting older children make too many decisions around these issues. Their viewpoints should be heard, but you and your spouse should make the final decisions.

6. At first, your children may balk at being told what parent they will be spending time with. Try to be understanding and to allow them as much autonomy as possible to speak by phone with the other parent, if necessary.

7. No matter how simple your parenting plan is, you can expect some minor chaos given how busy children can be with school activities, social obligations, classes, sports, and more. Shared online calendars and some new “divorce” apps can help you deal and be organized.

8. Regardless of whose house the child goes to sleep in, try to stick to the same meal, homework, and bedtime routine. Children actually thrive on routine; it makes them feel more secure, and security is something everyone needs.

Consult a law firm such as Gomez May LLP for more tips.

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Getting Creditors To Stop Calling You

If you are behind on some of your bill payments, and you have creditors calling you constantly to find out when you will be sending them some money, you are most likely annoyed with the situation. There are a few steps you can take to have businesses and credit collections services stop harassing you to find out when they will receive a payment. Here are some tips you can use to help you stop these calls while you try coming up with the funds to pay the companies their cash.

Try To Come To An Agreement

Most creditors do not want to go through the hassle of hiring a collection agency to try to get funds owed if they do not have to. Call the creditors that you owe money to and let them know that you are making every attempt to get caught up with the amounts you owe. Making a partial payment to a business may be enough to ward off phone calls if you alert them about how much you are able to pay and when a payment can be made.

Ask To Be Put On A Do Not Call List

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it is illegal for a creditor to continue making phone calls to their customers if they are requested to cease this action. Write a letter to the creditor indicating that you no longer wish for them to make phone calls regarding the debt you owe. They will need to adhere to this request or risk being sued in a court of law. After you write a letter to the creditor, it is best to also send a copy of the letter to the Federal Trade Commission. The creditor will then only be allowed to contact you to let you know they will comply with your wishes or that they are suing you for funds owed. 

Contact A Bankruptcy Attorney

If you decide to take the steps in filing for bankruptcy to eliminate the debt you owe, hiring an attorney to tend to the matter is best. Consider a firm like Biales Delchin Law LLC. Your attorney will take the steps needed in contacting each of your creditors to inform them that you have decided to file. They will then need to cease all correspondence with you, including phone calls, and handle any debt matters with your attorney instead.

Change Your Primary Phone Number

If phone calls get out of hand, you may want to consider contacting your phone company to have your number changed. Make sure to ask that your phone number not be listed in any type of phone book as well. Your creditors may be able to track you down eventually, but this is an option in stopping the harassment temporarily. Creditors are not allowed to contact a client at work, so make sure to notify an attorney if you are being bothered about bills at your place of employment. 

 

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3 Tips To Help You Win Your Personal Injury Case

Were you injured due to someone else’s negligence? If so, you may be able to get financial damages awarded to you for your pain and suffering. That said, personal injury cases are not easy to win and it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to provide sufficient evidence of said injury in order to have a chance. If you want to maximize your chances of getting a settlement or winning in court, here are 3 tips to keep in mind.

Do Not Go On Social Media

Normally when you suffer an injury and file a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the injury has significantly affected your life and caused you pain and suffering. So in other words, that photo of you hanging out at a party somewhere shortly after the accident probably isn’t going to help your case. The opposing side’s attorney absolutely will do a background check on you and try to find any relevant social media profiles. If they find evidence that you seem to be dealing with the injury just fine, that could work against you. Stay off social media, and, if possible, completely deactivate your accounts until after your case is settled.

Don’t Throw Any Documentation Away

When it comes to personal injury cases, medical documentation is absolutely critical. So, in other words, hold on to literally every scrap of paper you get from your doctor or the local hospital. In order to maximize your chances of success, you’ll need to show evidence of not only your main injury but any other side effects that may have happened as a result. Get some folders and a safe and keep all documents organized and safe until the case is resolved.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Navigating the court system is never easy, even if you’ve done it before. When it comes to personal injury cases, your state may have specific laws that you aren’t even aware of. In order to make sure you file everything correctly and give yourself the best chance possible of obtaining a settlement, you should hire a personal injury attorney before you move forward with your case. 

If you want your personal injury case to be successful, you need to take steps to fully document your entire experience since the incident and make sure you don’t do anything that might come back to haunt you like posting photos on social media. Most importantly, hiring a personal injury attorney will ensure that you have someone on your side who knows exactly what needs to be done in order to get you the payout you deserve.

To learn more, contact a firm like Downs, McDonough & Cowan LLC.

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A Guide To Worker’s Compensation Settlements

In some cases, you may have the option of getting a settlement from your worker’s compensation insurance company rather than going to trial. Here is a guide to evaluating this option.

Pros and Cons of a Settlement

The settlement is a good idea if you feel that you won’t have a strong worker’s compensation case when going to trial. If your injuries aren’t severe, a judge might classify the injury as deserving of even less money than what the insurance company claimed. But in most cases, going to trial can help raise your monthly payments or the lump sum offered by insurance. This is because the insurance company may set low limits on payouts out of self interest, while a judge is more impartial in assessing the damages owed.

Evaluating the Form of a Settlement

A worker’s comp settlement can be either in the form of weekly payments or a lump sum. Make sure that the company offers you a payment in the form you prefer. With a lump sum, it will help you afford more expensive items upfront, such as a home to keep you off the street. You could also invest the money and end up with a larger sum as time goes on. But, a lump sum can also be dangerous if you’re coping with a long term disability. If the money disappears and you are unable to work, it could spell trouble. In that regard, a weekly or monthly check is a safer bet.

Does the Settlement Include Medical Costs?

Another thing to consider is whether your lump sum accounts for any future medical treatments that are related to your injury. In some cases, a lump sum settlement would prohibit you from going after the company for future medical expenses. Avoid this if you are unsure of the prognosis of the injury or you may need expensive treatments in the future.

Speaking With a Workers Compensation Attorney Helps

When you are undecided on whether to pursue a higher sum by going to trial, it helps to speak with a workers compensation attorney. They can help you evaluate the settlement you were offered, based on comparison with past clients. Depending on the severity of your injury, the total medical costs, and the amount of time that you will be disabled, the lawyer can give you a fairly accurate estimate of whether the judge will evaluate your case in a favorable light. And, should you go to trial, your lawyer will be your spokesperson to help you get the highest payout possible.

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Not of Sound Mind: Challenging The Testamentary Capacity of a Will’s Author

For a will to be considered a valid document, several requirements must be in place. One of the most essential of these requirements, upon which the remainder of the will depends, is the necessity of the will’s author having possessed a sound mind at the time of its drafting. This requirement is known as testamentary capacity, and without it, the assumption is that a will’s author lacked the capacity of mind to accurately express their intentions to leave property to heirs. In cases where would-be heirs feel deprived of property they believe should have otherwise been inherited, it is common to challenge the testamentary capacity of the will’s author.

Challenging testamentary capacity can be difficult, as the default assumption of the courts is that adult authors of a will possess a sound mind. That means the burden of proof belongs to the challenger; to convince a court the author of a will did not have testamentary capacity, the following elements will need to be shown to be true at the time of the will’s drafting.

1. The author of the will did not understand what property they owned, nor were they aware of its real value. If substantial portions of the author’s property are not mentioned in a will, then doubt may exist about their cognitive abilities.

2. The author of the will was not able to identify their descendants or other relatives. Memory lapses are probably not sufficient in and of themselves to used to deny testamentary capacity, but a genuine inability to recognize potential heirs is problematic.

3. The author of the will did not realize the will would distribute their property upon their death. If the will was written, but there was no recognition upon the part of the writer that it would be a document of distribution, then there are grounds to challenge testamentary capacity.

4. The author of the will did not propose a rational, clear means for distributing the property. Nonsensical wills that do not have an understandable plan for dividing property and passing it on to heirs may indicate that testamentary capacity is lacking.

Challenging testamentary capacity is not a simple matter, and it requires the assistance of an attorney to prepare a case. Other individuals may need to be involved, such as investigators, in order to establish grounds for denial of testamentary capacity. Your attorney will be responsible for making such arrangements and providing counsel to you during the process.

Talk to a firm such as Donald B Linsky & Associate Pa to get started. 

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Hotel Employees Are at a Unique Risk for Sexual Assault: What Can You Do to Recover from Your Injuries?

Hotel employees are not safe from sexual assaults, and they know it. If you’re a hotel employee, what can you do if you fall victim? What can you expect from your employer in terms of compensation and protection from future assaults? Here’s what you should know.

Sexual assault is all too common among hotel employees.

Nobody seems to be exactly sure how common sexual assault is when it comes to hotel employees, but everyone agrees that it’s common enough that the story of a maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of assault sounded legitimate. While that case collapsed under credibility issues, experts say that housekeepers frequently have to deal with sexual assault and harassment while they’re on the job. Worse, the assaults and harassment may not only come from guests but from their own co-workers as well.

You are usually covered under workers compensation rules for assaults on the job.

Generally speaking, if you are sexually assaulted while on the job, you’re entitled to workers compensation benefits for your injuries. Any physical injuries would be covered automatically. Psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), might be a little more difficult to claim, depending on the laws in your state. Some state laws require a physical injury to “back up” the mental diagnosis, while others don’t. That makes it important to have a rape kit done, if applicable, and photos taken of any bruises, no matter how slight, you may have suffered in connection with your claim. That can make it easier to convince an insurer to cover your mental health damages and therapy bills down the line.

Workers compensation may not be your exclusive remedy.

Workers comp is designed to keep claims out of courts, so it is often the exclusive remedy for an on-the-job injury—unless you can prove gross negligence on the part of your employer or that the action of an employee was intentional and personal in nature. That means that you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, which often pays more and can award things like punitive damages or fines against your attacker.

Taking extra security measures can prevent future attacks.

Because of the nature of the work, too many hotel employees—which are largely staffed by women, although some males also work in the industry and can also end up victims—are put in the position of being alone in the rooms with their aggressors. Being asked to deliver extra towels, sheets, or a tray of food can be a set-up for an assault. Similarly, cleaning staff members are often alone while they work, making them easy targets for co-workers to sexually assault them.

Many hotels are aware of the problem but don’t put protective measures in place that could prevent the incidents:

  • having staff members always work in twos
  • having a security guard whose job is to look after hotel staff and prevent such assaults
  • making sure that the alleged victim doesn’t have to come in contact with the alleged assailant again 
  • banning any known sexual predators from renting

In addition, your employer owes you a certain responsibility to look into the background of the employees he or she hires. If he or she hired an employee who had previous charges filed against him or her or knew that other employees had reported sexual harassment or assault problems with the same employee in the past, your employer may be guilty of negligent hiring practices. This could also give you a way around the limitations imposed by workers comp.

If you were sexually assaulted by a hotel guest or co-worker, take steps to preserve any evidence that you can, and talk to an attorney like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S. to discuss whether or not your case is likely to be limited to workers comp or if you can file a civil injury claim as well.

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