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Richmond Virginia Family Law Blog

Disagreements over Donald Trump leading to divorce

Arguments over politics are commonplace in a marriage. Virginia couples who are on different ends of the political spectrum will frequently debate certain issues and agree to disagree. However, some circumstances can send a dispute over the edge and lead to the end of a marriage. Research has shown this to be the case with the election of President Trump.

A study suggests that an increasing number of couples are ending their relationship because of President Trump. The study was formulated by a polling firm based in Virginia. It includes both married and unmarried couples. It says that one out of 10 couples are parting ways due to political disputes.

Some demographics more at risk for gray divorces

So-called gray divorces, or separations affecting people over the age of 50, have increased substantially in Virginia and across the country. While divorce isn't always predictable, researchers and analysts have found common associations for divorce and underlying reasons that couples over 50 should be aware of.

The occurrence of gray divorces has doubled in the last 30 years; although, they are still much lower compared to the divorce rates of younger couples. Some researchers have attributed to the rise to changing social attitudes about divorce and increasing independence among women. A person may no longer feel like they must remain in a relationship that is no longer working out and probably hasn't been working for many years.

The impact of discharged bankruptcies on credit ratings

Virginia residents sometimes struggle with overwhelming debts for years on end because they are convinced that filing for bankruptcy is ruinous to credit ratings and makes future borrowing extremely difficult, but data shows that this is rarely true. While bankruptcies remain visible to lenders for as long as 10 years, they are not usually a significant handicap to obtaining credit. There are also financial options, like secured credit cards, that are designed for consumers who are either establishing or rebuilding their credit profiles.

The impact that Chapter 7 bankruptcies have on credit ratings has been examined by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Researchers looked at the Equifax credit scores of individuals who made Chapter 7 filings in 2010, and they noticed that discharged Chapter 7 bankruptcies actually increased credit scores by an average of 82 points from 538 to 620.

Trustee not permitted to alter payments

Virginia homeowners who are in arrears and who are considering filing for bankruptcy may be interested in the outcome of a bankruptcy case in Texas. A judge from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that a trustee had no authority to retroactively adjust Chapter 13 payments.

The trustee had retroactively amended Chapter 13 payment plans after they were confirmed so that mortgage claims could be satisfied. There were 25 cases in the Brownsville, Corpus Christie and McAllen Divisions in which the trustee adjusted bankruptcy plan payments that had already been confirmed.

New debt collection methods

Virginia residents might like to know about creative methods being used by debt collectors to attempt to get more payments. Some techniques, like ringless voice mails, appear to skirt rules. Regulations limit how often collectors can call, but this software allows collection agencies to put voice mails into phones by sending messages to phone company servers.

Critics feel that ringless voice mails break the spirit of laws if not the letter as debtor consent is required and auto-dialed collection calls are regulated. A representative from VoApp argues that the technology actually helps consumers because they can answer messages when ready without feeling ambushed. He says that the silent voice mails work so well that debt collection call centers can become overwhelmed with a large volume of inbound calls.

How bankruptcy affects a credit report

Virginia consumers might wonder how long a bankruptcy remains on their credit report and if it is possible to get it removed. In general, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on a credit report for10 years while a Chapter 13 filing remains on a credit report for seven years.

However, there could be extenuating circumstances. In one case, a man decided to file for bankruptcy but then decided against it several months later. His credit reports still showed that the bankruptcy had been filed. It is difficult to stop the process of bankruptcy once it has begun, and as far as credit bureaus were concerned, the man had still filed.

Important consumer rights regarding creditor harassment

Virginia consumers who are struggling to make credit card payments might discover that their issuer has sold their debt to another company. For example, earlier in 2017, Credit Shop, Inc. purchased $1.6 billion in Barclaycard account balances. Often these purchases include subprime accounts and those that have become delinquent. To earn income from the acquired debts, credit companies start pressuring customers to make payments.

Usually, a person will be unaware of the transfer of debt ownership until a debt collector calls and demands payment. Legal protections contained in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the CARD Act provide consumers with rights that allow them to push back against aggressive practices. When a consumer requests documentation of the debt within 30 days after the first demand for payment, the company must comply. Until the written details of the debt are provided, collectors must cease telephone calls to the debtor. A person also has the right to ask that all communications take place in writing.

What happens to child support following emancipation

If a Virginia parent is required to pay child support, they are usually responsible for payments until their situation changes or the child becomes emancipated. A child usually becomes emancipated when they reach age of majority, which is 18 years of age in the state of Virginia.

Children may also become emancipated if they get married, join the military or gain financial independence prior to turning 18. Additionally, a child can seek emancipation by completely abandoning the parental home. If the child is still living with the parent or remains in their custody, they will not be emancipated before the age of majority. Furthermore, special needs children or children who have gone through a divorce but are still minors may still be entitled to child support.

How to keep children safe after a divorce

If Virginia custodial parents in Virginia feel as if their children are in danger when around their ex-spouse, it is an issue that should be raised. In any child custody matter, the law places a premium on meeting the best interest of the child. Typically, a judge will also investigate allegations of domestic violence or any other information that may be relevant before granting custody or visitation to a parent.

To investigate a parent's claim, it may be necessary for representatives of the court to talk to multiple individuals. These parties may include a child's neighbors, teachers or anyone else who may be able to verify the claims of a custodial parent. During the investigation, the other parent may be granted custody or visitation on a supervised basis and in a neutral location.

Credit reports and Chapter 13 payments

When Virginia residents seek relief from overwhelming debt, bankruptcy is often an option. In situations where the individual or couple filing for bankruptcy has a steady income as well as property that they would rather not lose, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may make sense. In this type of bankruptcy, the debtor enters into a court-approved repayment plan for a period of three to five years. Once the plan is completed, any unpaid debt is discharged.

In a recent case, a debtor entered into a Chapter 13 plan and made payments as arranged. When the debtor reviewed her credit reports, she found that plan payments were not always reflected within her credit history. Eventually, she decided to file suit against two banks and two credit reporting bureaus in hopes of forcing them to report her payments.

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