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Richmond Virginia Family Law Blog

When divorce is better for the children

Virginia parents who are concerned about how separation will affect their children might wonder if they should postpone a divorce. In some cases, it might be better for the children if the parents stay together. In other cases, however, divorce is still the best choice.

Parents may decide to postpone the divorce if they feel that they need to spend more time in counseling trying to repair the relationship. They might also look at the divorce drawbacks and decide that they are greater than the advantages. According to some studies, divorce can increase the likelihood that a child will later get a divorce as well. It can also lead to emotional problems for children and reduce the likelihood that the child will attend college. These may all be reasons for the parents to stay together.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy and 401(k) deductions

Virginia residents who are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can exclude 401(k) deductions when they are calculating their disposable income for their bankruptcy payment plan, even if the contributions were not made during the six months preceding the bankruptcy. This is according to an Oct. 30 ruling by an Illinois bankruptcy court.

In its decision, the court said that it was guided by the decisions made by most of the courts that had to rule on a similar case. It found that unless there was demonstrable bad intent, the bankruptcy filers could include their retirement plan deductions as one of their expenses.

How immigration status impacts abuse victims

Domestic abuse victims may feel like they are unable to speak out about their experiences. For victims in Virginia or elsewhere who are immigrants, they may feel even more apprehensive about reporting their abuse. This is because they may not understand how the legal system works or have any family in the country. They may also come from countries where cultural attitudes about abuse cause them to stay quiet.

However, the Violence Against Women Act offers protection for abuse victims. One of the key parts of that act is protection from immigration laws for those who may be undocumented. This is crucial because abusers may threaten to report their victims in an effort to keep them from talking. The law also provides incentives for victims to work with law enforcement to hold their abusers accountable for what they have done.

Age, education and employment all factors in divorce risk

Virginia couples who have a 10-year age gap may be more vulnerable to divorce than spouses who are closer in age. This is one of many findings of studies that examine the likelihood of divorce. Couples who marry as teenagers or after the age of 32 are also more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late 20s.

People who dropped out of high school have an increased divorce rate than those who have more education, and this could be related to a lower income and the stress it creates in a marriage. However, husbands who only work part-time have a slightly higher divorce rate even if the wife is in a higher income bracket.

Getting married in one's 20s may result in divorce

Some Virginian residents choose to marry while they are young. People who get married when they are in their 20s may end up getting divorced before they reach age 30. People who are young might want to take time to make certain that they are ready for marriage before doing so.

Zippia, a career guidance website, recently looked at data from the American Community Survey about divorce rates for people in their 20s. The company found that the divorce rates for this age group varied across the states just like other characteristics, such as obesity rates. Zippia found that states in the northeastern part of the U.S. had the lowest divorce rates among people who were younger than 30 while those in the Deep South had the highest rates of divorce in this age group.

The cycles of bankruptcy

The patterns of people filing for bankruptcy in Virginia and around the country often correlate with economic trends. An expanding economy and lowered unemployment rate may lead to fewer bankruptcies while downturns or higher interest rates may force more debtors to seek relief through the courts.

Recent reports indicate that bankruptcy filings in the U.S. have been on a downturn. In fact, the number of people filing for bankruptcy in 2017 has been the lowest since 2007. For many analysts, this is good news, indicating that people are less stressed economically and are better able to manage their finances.

Elements that may increase the likelihood of divorce

Virginia couples that married in their late 20s or early 30s might be more likely to have marriages that last than those that married at earlier or younger ages. Studies have found that the age at which one marries and several other factors might predict a couple's likelihood of getting a divorce. Education level is another determinant of divorce. People who have earned at least a bachelor's degree are less likely to divorce than those who did not complete college.

Couples who have a child within seven months of the wedding have a higher divorce rate than those who wait. If the firstborn child is a girl, the marriage also is more likely to fail. Individuals who have been married before or have divorced parents also are more likely to have failed marriages.

Credit card debt increases worringly in August

Consumer borrowing in Virginia and around the country slowed in August according to a report released by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Oct. 6. The central bank says the nation's consumer debt load rose by $13.1 billion in August after surging by $17.7 billion in July, but the increase is far lower than the $16 billion predicted by experts. The figures pegged the annual rate of credit growth back to 4.2 percent. The annual rate stood at 5.7 percent at the end of July.

The overall debt picture suggests that consumers are becoming more reluctant to borrow, but a closer scrutiny of the data reveals some trends that have industry analysts worried. The slower credit growth in August was largely the result of Americans taking out fewer car and student loans, but credit card debt is soaring. The annual growth rate of student and automobile debt fell from 6.9 percent in July to 3.2 percent in August, but revolving debt is now on pace to increase by 7 percent for the year. This figure had stood at just 2.5 percent at the end of July.

Making a decision about divorce

Some married Virginia residents might struggle with a decision over whether they should get a divorce. In some cases, it may be easier for people outside of the marriage to assess the situation than for the spouses themselves. However, there are some situations that could mean divorce is the only solution.

For example, a spouse might be abusive. This can include abuse that is verbal and emotional. Often, a person does not realize how bad such a situation is until the spouse turns this abuse toward their children. Even if a marriage is not abusive, witnessing a bad marriage can set a bad example for a child. Parents might want to protect their children from the upheaval of divorce, but they may be unsuccessful at hiding conflict, and this can be stressful for children as well. If tension in the household has reached a point that children notice and comment on it, it might be time to consider divorce.

Child support: a common reason for wage garnishments

Wage garnishments are a growing problem for many workers in Virginia and across the United States. Wage garnishments may be imposed to collect debts after a judgment has been entered against a debtor. Creditors may also seize bank accounts and other property in some cases until the debt is satisfied if a judge has authorized it.

A new study conducted by the ADP Research Institute found that 7 percent of U.S. workers have their paychecks garnished. The study found that child support arrearages were the most common reason for wage garnishment, followed by student loan debt. About 71 percent of wage garnishments involved men, and the leading cause was child support. The most common reason for wage garnishments for women involved consumer debt or student loans.

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