Roanoke Legal Issues Blog

Mobile apps may trap Virginians in revolving door of debt

Payday loans were once a popular option for individuals in Virginia looking to bridge the financial gap between a difficult financial situation and their next paycheck. On its face, the intent behind these loans seemed fair. After all, businesses providing these loans claimed that they were short-term in nature and were meant to address challenging financial situations such as unexpected car repairs or medical expenses. The problem, of course, is that many people who turn to these loans end up facing triple-digit interest rates, and many of these borrowers find themselves in a revolving door where they constantly need to take out these high-interest loans.

Now that a light has been shone on the issues with payday loans, some are looking for new business opportunities to help people in financial need. One of those businesses in mobile app Earnin. The program allows individuals to borrow up to $1,000 against money they have already earned. Then, when their paycheck is deposited into their account, Earnin withdraws the borrowed amount with no interest. But there is a catch that may wind up leaving consumers facing even more challenging financial circumstances.

Forensic accountants may help during property division

The initial impact divorce is usually emotional in nature. Oftentimes the parties feel hurt and sad that they no longer care for each other as much as they once did. As tough as it can be to deal with these emotions, Virginians who are going through the divorce process must think about more than just their heartache. They also must consider how their divorce will affect their financial well-being, and plan accordingly.

One's post-divorce financial standing is typically dictated by the outcome of the property division process. Here, marital assets and debts are divided in a way that is fair, which can either be negotiated or litigated. However, to obtain a truly fair outcome, the parties have to be open and honest about their assets and debts. In some instances, though, one party to a divorce may try to hide assets to avoid losing them during the property division process.

Stepparent adoption in Virginia

Virginia families are as varied as the individuals who occupy the commonwealth. As a result, there are a wide array of family law issues that can arise. Oftentimes problems arise when families are breaking apart through divorce. Other times, though, legal issues present themselves when families attempt to expand through adoption. The following is some basic information on stepparent adoption that may be beneficial to some of our readers.

Before a stepparent adoption can be completed, an adoption petition signed by both the stepparent and the child's biological parent must be filed. The law will only allow an individual to have two legal parents, so stepparents can face an uphill battle if the child's biological parent is still in the picture.

Is summer daycare breaking your budget?

While the winter holidays can take a bite out of your budget, you may find creative ways to keep your expenses down without depriving your family of the joys of the season. If you still find yourself struggling in January to catch up from holiday bills, you are not alone.

However, when it comes to your summer expenses, you may feel very much alone. Once school dismisses for summer break, you may be among the many parents who must make painful choices that can leave you financially devastated for the rest of the year and beyond. One of the overwhelming expenses you face over the summer is child care.

Chapter 13 and the meeting of creditors

Filing for bankruptcy is a very real way for Virginians to obtain debt relief. There are two types of bankruptcy available to qualified debtors: Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Unlike a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which a debtor's assets are liquidated, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individuals to retain their assets so long as they adhere to a court-ordered repayment plan that can span three to five years. At the end of that process, certain debts may be discharged. But the process can be complicated, and fully understanding it can be critical to one's successful utilization of the system.

One important aspect of the Chapter 13 process is the meeting of creditors. Shortly after filing the bankruptcy petition, the bankruptcy trustee must schedule a meeting between the debtor and his or her creditors. At the meeting, the debtor is placed under oath and creditors and the trustee can direct questions at him or her pertaining to his or her financial affairs. Depending on the information disclosed during this process, modifications may be made to the repayment plan.

How to handle a business during property division in a divorce

The property division process that must be undertaken when divorce is sought can be cumbersome and hotly contested. The parties to a marriage can find themselves vying over bank accounts, retirement portfolios, pensions, personal property and even the family home. Yet, many Virginians have another asset that must be dealt with during the property division process: a business.

Figuring out what to do with a business during divorce can be a challenging feat, and there can be a lot at stake. A business can have significant value, so deciding how to divide it can have serious financial ramifications for one's long-term financial well-being. On the other hand, some businesses struggle, meaning that some individuals would rather rid themselves of the business.

What is the financial value of a stay-at-home mom in divorce?

When a couple makes the decision to have one person stay home and raise their children, they often aren't considering the ramifications that this situation could have in the event of a divorce. While about 7 percent of men stay home to raise their children, nearly 25 percent of women decide to leave the workforce and invest their time and energy into child-rearing. 

According to an article published in Forbes, women who become stay-at-home moms often do not get equal distribution of assets during the divorce process. This can be due to the fact that there is minimal legal value placed on the choice to stay at home, and because the man has acquired significantly more wealth during the time period of the marriage.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the means test

A lot of Virginians find themselves financially struggling at one point or another. While many of these individuals are able to climb out of debt or easily manage it, others find themselves completely overwhelmed. While many people in the latter category make an ambitious attempt to claw their way back to financial stability, this isn't always possible. These individuals may want to consider their debt relief options rather than wasting time and money on an effort that likely won't resolve favorably.

One of those debt relief options is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, this process allows an individual to eliminate debt by selling off assets to repay creditors. Not everyone qualifies for this type of bankruptcy, though. In fact, before an individual can proceed with a Chapter 7 filing, he or she must pass what is referred to as a "means test."

Virginia's legally recognized grounds for divorce

A marriage that sours can cause emotional and financial strain for everyone involved, including children. Therefore, divorce is sometimes the best option. There are, of course, several considerations that must be taken into account before pursuing marriage dissolution, including property division, child custody, child support and spousal support. Yet, before those issues are addressed in a legal sense, one must be able to meet Virginia's requirements for divorce.

There are certain legally recognized grounds for divorce in Virginia. Adultery is one reason that is recognized by the law, and it is one that is utilized by many. Yet it is not the only legal justification for divorce. A couple can also seek divorce if a felony conviction leads to at least a year's worth of incarceration and no cohabitation occurs during that period. Divorce will also be granted by the court if one party is cruel, harms or abandons the other party, but only after one year has passed.

Credit card debt at highest level in more than a decade

If you listen to the news, then it sounds like the economy is clipping along at a considerable pace. Yet, despite this news, many Roanoke-area residents find themselves struggling to get by. Oftentimes they live paycheck-to-paycheck and are only one unexpected expense away from financial ruin. Others have already turned to credit cards to help makes ends meet.

Economy experts are seeing an increase in credit card debt, too. In fact, it is at its highest level since 2008, with the average household carrying more than $9,000 in credit card balances. To make matters worse, those who are unable to meet their monthly obligations on these debts can see enormous penalties and skyrocketing interest rates. These factors can quickly lead to debt that is out of hand and insurmountable.

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