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Things to know about creating a living will

As you create an estate plan, you should turn a good portion of your attention to planning for the end of your life. This is difficult to do, but once you have everything in order, you'll feel better about anything the future could throw at you.

A living will is a detailed statement that provides health care professionals with information on the type of life-prolonging treatment you want to receive if faced with a life-threatening illness or injury. This only comes into play if you're unable to communicate your treatment preference to your doctor.

Avoid these financial mistakes during divorce

As a whole, divorce has declined throughout the United States. However, there are some areas where it is still a prevalent part of life for many people. In Arizona, 19.8 percent of the population of Florence has gone through a divorce, which is the highest in the state.

When a divorce is on the horizon, you need to prepare accordingly, especially when it comes to your finances. Here are some of the most common financial mistakes people make in divorce and what you can do to avoid them.  

Are there any drawbacks of Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

As you learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it's natural to focus your attention on the benefits. For instance, you're able to reduce or eliminate many forms of debt, giving you a fresh start.

While there's no denying the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you shouldn't proceed until you're familiar with the primary drawbacks. Here's what you need to know:

  • It impacts your credit score and report: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing remains on your credit report for 10 years, making it difficult to secure a loan for a home or car.
  • You could lose property: Any property that is not exempt is at risk of being sold by the bankruptcy trustee. There's a good chance you'll lose some of your luxury possessions.
  • It doesn't relieve you of all your debts and obligations: For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy rarely has an impact on student loan debt. Also, it doesn't do anything for you in regard to spousal support and child support payments.
  • You'll lose your credit cards: This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it can help you avoid the same trouble but losing your credit cards will definitely alter your financial approach.

These are among the best ways to stop foreclosure

Even when you're in good financial shape, you may have concerns about the future. Many people come to find that an emergency, such as a job loss or medical illness, would make it next to impossible to stay current with their bills.

If you find yourself facing foreclosure, you shouldn't hesitate to take action. It's better to stay in touch with your lender than to hide and hope that you can quickly work things out.

Don’t believe any of these common divorce myths

As you work through the divorce process, there's no stopping the many thoughts racing through your mind. For this reason, it's common to believe a variety of divorce myths, all of which will complicate your situation.

Here are five of the most common divorce myths:

  • Mothers always receive physical custody of the children: This may have been the case many years ago, but things have changed in today's day and age. As a father, you can fight for physical custody.
  • You don't have to pay child support: If the court issues a child support order, you are required by law to keep up with payments. You can request a modification if the payment results in financial hardship, but there is no guarantee it will be approved.
  • Children choose who they live with: Although the court takes into consideration the preference of each child, the court will always do what's in their best interest.
  • Divorce always results in a court battle: Even though you may not agree on every issue, there's nothing saying that you have to end up battling each other in court.
  • Mediation doesn't work: Don't assume that litigation is your only option. Mediation is one of the best ways to resolve all matters associated with your divorce, including those pertaining to property division and child custody.

Don’t overlook the advantages of Chapter 13 bankruptcy

When considering bankruptcy, many people turn their immediate attention to Chapter 7. They do so for many reasons, including the ability to eliminate their debt in a timely manner (typically within six months).

While Chapter 7 may be your preference, there's a chance you won't qualify. Fortunately, there's another option: Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

3 myths to dispel about bankruptcy

For many people who have fallen into immense debt, bankruptcy may be the only way out. Unfortunately, many delay in filing for bankruptcy due to the various myths that surround the practice. 

There are some things you should expect after filing. For example, your credit score will take a hit. Most find their scores will drop by at least 200 points. However, there are plenty of things you think will happen that actually will not. 

You could easily make 1 of these prenuptial agreement mistakes

Asking for a prenuptial agreement sounds like a great idea -- until it actually comes out of your mouth. At that point, you realize that your partner is confused and may question your intentions.

Although asking for a prenuptial agreement is easier said than done, it's something you should bring to light as far in advance of your wedding day as possible. Once you clear the air with your partner, you can then work together on the next steps.

Questions to ask when choosing a guardian for your children

When creating an estate plan, focus your time and energy on more than what happens to your assets upon your passing. For example, you should have a clear idea of who will care for any children under the age of 18.

Choosing a guardian for your children is easier said than done, especially if you and your spouse have differing opinions. Fortunately, there are several questions you can ask and answer to ensure you are making the right decision:

  • Does the person have the same parenting values and style as you?
  • How old is the person and are they physically capable of raising your children until they reach the age of 18?
  • What type of financial situation is the person in?
  • Does the person have a stable personal life?
  • Does the person already have their own family, including children?

Include these details in your parenting agreement

The divorce process is full of many details, and creating a parenting agreement is likely the most important. When you're satisfied with the agreement that's in place, it helps you to be more confident of your ability to provide your child with the life they deserve.

The details you include in your parenting agreement may not be the same as those of another divorcing couple. However, there are some things that almost all co-parents include:

  • Where the child will live. This is known as physical custody and it's typically granted to one parent.
  • A visitation schedule for the other parent. The non-custodial parent has a legal right to spend time with their child, and this time needs to be outlined in the visitation schedule.
  • Legal custody. One parent may have legal custody, or it could be shared between both of them. When a parent has legal custody, they have the right to make important decisions regarding their child's education, religion and other aspects of life.
  • Holiday schedule. In addition to legal holidays, the parenting plan should detail the custody schedule for birthdays, vacations and other special events scheduled throughout the year.
  • MCBA | Maricopa County Bar Association
  • State Bar of Arizona
  • ABA | American bar Association | Defending Liberty Pursuing Justice
  • Oregon State bar
  • NACBA | National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NACA | National Association of Consumer Advocates
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