divorce disclosuresIn a divorce or family law case, people are often concerned that their former spouse or significant other will not be entirely straightforward with their financial information. Through a procedure called mandatory disclosure , the state of Florida mandates that each party is fully informed about the other party’s financial situation.

In simple terms, a mandatory disclosure means that the financial information of both parties in a divorce or other family law case are required to be disclosed. It specifically requires that financial affidavits be exchanged, and this requirement is not able to be waived. Mandatory disclosures must be filed within 45 days of the case being served. They must also be continually updated whenever there is a substantial change in one of the party’s financial circumstances.

On top of the financial affidavit, there are additional documents required which help demonstrate the debts and assets of each party. These documents are furnished as a way to support the numerical figures on the affidavit. Some of these documents may not always be necessary and can potentially be waived if agreed upon by both parties.

refuses to pay child supportDealing with a former spouse who is not paying their court-ordered share of child support can be an unfortunate hassle. Left with this financial and emotional burden, you may feel like you’ve made every attempt to collect but just aren’t getting anywhere. You may even be at the point where you’re asking yourself, “is withholding visitation an option?”

The answer to that question is no. You cannot refuse visitation if your ex is not paying child support. While you may be able to have your ex-spouse’s visitation rights modified in court, withholding visitation rights is considered custodial interference. Child support and visitation rights are two separate issues that should not be confused.

  • Child support is determined in court, and must follow the guidelines of the Child Support Enforcement Act. These guidelines vary from state to state. The factors that are looked at include the child’s needs (health care, education, child care, etc.), the income and needs of the custodial parent, the paying parent’s income and the child’s standard of living before the divorce or separation.

student loan bankruptcyIf the debt from your student loans is overwhelming you, you’re not alone. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, an independent non-profit organization, 68% of students who graduated from both private and public colleges in 2015 had student loan debt. The debt average had risen 4% since 2014 to a whopping $30,100 per borrower in 2015.

While it can be challenging, it is not impossible to have student loan debt discharged in bankruptcy. In order for your student loan to be discharged, you must be able to prove that it is causing undue hardship. Courts use certain tests to make this determination. The most common is called the Brunner Test, in which courts will look for you to meet the following three criteria:

  1. You are unable to maintain a minimal standard of living for you and your dependents if you are required to continue paying your student loans.

When you fhow to stop creditors from callingace the unfortunate situation of falling behind on your credit card, mortgage, auto loan or other bills, you may also find you’ve become the victim of debt collection harassment. The goal of this type of harassment is to annoy, intimidate or bully a consumer into paying off a debt.

Debt collection harassment can come in different forms—email, direct mail or texts—but it is most often done by constant, repetitive phone calls. These phone calls are often designed to annoy and belittle not only the person who holds the debt, but also whoever happens to answer the phone. At worst they may contain profane language and threats. They might even contact your friends and neighbors about your debt, seeking to humiliate you.

Fortunately, you have rights. While debt collection agencies are legally permitted to collect the debt that is owed to a creditor, they are not legally permitted to use abusive tactics to collect this debt from you. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces something called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This act prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unreasonable and/or deceptive practices to collect a debt.

florida supreme courtCase Law Update: Florida Supreme Court Issues Decision in Bartram v. U.S. Bank

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in an important decision November 3 that will impact current and future mortgage foreclosure cases. The ruling in Bartram v. U.S. Bank (SC14-1265) directly affects Florida’s five-year statute of limitation in mortgage foreclosure cases. The ruling holds that the statue of limitations does NOT prevent a mortgage service from multiple, successive foreclosure lawsuits against a borrower.

This means that even if a prior foreclosure case was dismissed or the mortgage service lost at trial the mortgage service can commence another foreclosure against the borrower if the borrower defaults again within five years simply by setting a new default date.  Therefore homeowners are still obligated to pay their mortgage obligations even if a lender unsuccessfully attempted foreclosure in the past. A past dismissal will not prevent a future filing.

Attorney Chip Parker spoke on First Coast Connect Tuesday morning – the topic centered around an article written by Neal Gabler published in The Atlantic. Gabler disclosed in the article that “just like nearly half of Americans, he would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency.” Parker says that he does not believe Gabler should feel resigned to this lifestyle, and that there are ways to turn it around – including bankruptcy. 

Chip Parker believes that bankruptcy is a viable option to repair financial fragility and help individuals to save for retirement. 

For more information and to listen to the segment, click here.

Bankruptcy is an excellent retirement strategy, especially if you are behind in saving for retirement because your credit card debt is robbing you of your ability to save.

Just look at the math:

Let’s say you’re about 10 years away from retirement, and you owe $25,000 in credit card debt at a typical 18.9% interest. Based upon your budget, you can pay no more than $500 per month toward this debt while maintaining your monthly expenses.

In JACKSONVILLE, foreclosures filings continue to decrease, however there are still thousands of homeowners still struggling with their mortgage companies.

http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2015-08-07/story/federal-judge-rules-bank-america-hurt-jacksonville-couple-must-pay 

Florida courts, specifically Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Nassau counties, areas that affect First Coast Families continue to fast pace foreclosures through the court system, in many cases ignoring homeowner’s due process rights. 

Our recent win against Bank of America was featured in an article in the Bloomberg BNA’s Bankruptcy Law Report. Our client was awarded over $200k in damages after being falsely accused for more than two years of being in default on their mortgage.

Judge Timothy Corrigan said that the plaintiffs “might as well have been talking to a brick wall” as their repeated attempts to inform Bank of America of its error went ignored.

“We are all cattle when it comes to mortgage servicing in this country,” our own, Chip Parker who represented the plaintiffs, told Bloomberg BNA. “Our home loans are frequently shuffled from servicer to servicer with no incentive to treat customers like people.”

Last August Bank of America agreed to a record $16.7 billion settlement with the Justice Department over their past mortgage practices. Part of the settlement also requires Bank of America to provide $7 billion in consumer relief over the next four years.

As this landmark settlement has faded from headlines questions regarding the payout of consumer relief have surfaced. Bank of America has told a number of borrowers that it intends to ‘forgive’ some loans that have been discharged in borrowers’ bankruptcies. But that debt has already been forgiven.

Our own Chip Parker, has been interviewed by The New York Times and had this to say on the issue: “Releasing a debt that has already been discharged is not in the spirit of the settlement. My concern is that the bank will use these cases to avoid having to give true principal reductions to people who need it.”