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Charleston Law Blog

How student loan may be divided in a divorce

A person who is considering divorce and whose spouse has student loan debt may be concerned about whether that student loan debt will be divided in a divorce. Most of the time, a person is responsible for the debts brought into the marriage, including student loan debt. However, if the debt is incurred after the marriage, a spouse could be responsible for a portion of it. In South Carolina, an equitable property state, several factors could influence a judge's decision about how to divide this debt.

A spouse who has cosigned on a student loan will generally share equal responsibility. A judge could still hold a spouse partly responsible for student loan debt even if it was only in one person's name if the couple used the loans to pay joint expenses, such as rent, and it was not solely used for education-related expenses.

Credit card delinquencies on the rise among millennials

Generally, millennials and members of Generation Z in South Carolina and other states have been more cautious about debt than earlier generations. Part of the reason for this is because many of them lived through the recession that took place around 2008-10. But this trend may be reversing as more individuals within the younger generation continue to accumulate credit card debt.

Among 18- to 29-year-olds, credit card delinquencies of 90 days or more passed the 8% mark for all balances within the first quarter of 2019, which represents a nearly 10-year high. Part of the reason for this trend may be the increase in appealing credit card signup bonuses and perks like travel credits. Interest rates are also on the rise after many years of being kept at very low levels, which further contributes to debt risk.

Tips for telling your toddler about your divorce

Your toddler may not even have the word "divorce" in his or her vocabulary, let alone understand what it means. But that does not mean the end of your marriage will not affect your child. This big change will certainly impact your toddler, but you can help with the right words and actions. 

It may sound impossible to explain divorce to your young child. You may even feel helpless or guilty about the situation. But there are plenty of ways to teach and support your toddler through this transition. 

Co-parenting mistakes some divorced couples make with teens

Parenting teenagers is sometimes difficult for South Carolina parents because adolescence brings with it physical and hormonal changes that could affect mood and behavior. Adding a divorce to this mix has the potential to make things even more volatile if parents no longer living together don't make an effort to avoid co-parenting mistakes.

One common co-parenting mistake with teens that divorcing parents sometimes make is failing to share information with each other. There's sometimes an assumption that a teen will tell each parent what's going on with them or exhibit the same behavior around each parent. Failing to communicate often leaves one or both parents in the dark. It's also not advised for co-parents to get into the habit of passing messages through their teen. Doing so sometimes results in messages either being delivered incorrectly or not at all.

Choosing an IRA beneficiary

While it may seem like a minor step, it can be important for those in South Carolina with an IRA to name a beneficiary. Failing to name a beneficiary could result in a lot of stress and lost money for surviving family members. The same could be true if a person fails to update the beneficiary designation. There are many questions that an account holder should ask prior to deciding who will be the beneficiary.

First, it is necessary to consider whether the money will go to a family member or a charity. Those who don't have family members will generally select a charity or some other organization to benefit from proceeds in an IRA. If a person is married, his or her spouse is the most likely person to be the account beneficiary. However, there is no obligation to do so.

Reasons to avoid liquidating savings accounts to pay off debt

Individuals in South Carolina and throughout the country may use their 401(k) balance to pay down debt instead of filing for bankruptcy. However, that may be a mistake as funds in a 401(k) are protected in a bankruptcy filing. The same is generally true of any money kept in an IRA. Furthermore, a person could run the risk of accumulating new debt and eventually having to seek protection from creditors anyway.

Ultimately, a person is not able to avoid the harm that bankruptcy can cause to a credit score and history. Additionally, that person typically has no savings to fall back on, and this can be especially problematic for older Americans. The number of Americans over the age of 65 who have filed for bankruptcy has tripled since 1991. The cost of medical care combined with a lack of wage growth have made them financially vulnerable.

Handling a high-asset divorce

The divorce of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos was a headline-grabbing event throughout South Carolina and around the nation. There were a number of salacious details that made their way onto the news, which added to the intrigue surrounding this divorce. However, the primary reason why this divorce garnered so much attention is because of the unbelievable wealth of Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos.

At the time of his divorce, Jeff Bezos was the wealthiest man in the world. This means that he had a large estate that needed to be divided during the divorce. Both Bezos and his wife made a number of smart decisions that should be a reference point for other individuals in high-profile and high-asset divorces.

Deciding what to do with a joint mortgage after divorce

For a couple in South Carolina going through the divorce process, one of the biggest challenges they may face is determining what they will do with the family home. It is likely that, along with their pension and maybe some larger investments, the family home is the largest asset they have. In many divorces, one spouse is given control over the family home. Then, they have to decide what they're going to do with this asset.

Some couples, especially those who have children still living in the family home, may decide to keep a joint mortgage on the home with each individual being responsible to cover their portion of the mortgage. Others may decide to refinance the family home in the name of the party who has been granted control of the home.

Questions to ask before agreeing to be a personal representative

Managing the financial and legal affairs of a loved one who has passed away requires plenty of free time, patience and organizational skills. Gathering assets, settling business matters, paying debts, filing tax returns and distributing assets are complex. It is vital for you to be ready for this role.

If a relative or friend asks you to serve as the personal representative, or executor, of an estate, you may feel a sense of urgency to agree. But it is important to understand the whole picture of this role and feel capable before you say yes. 

What everyone should know about chapter 13 bankruptcy

South Carolina residents who are dealing with large amounts of debt may consider bankruptcy as an option to bring relief to their situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is sometimes referred to as Wage Earners' bankruptcy. It could be an ideal solution for an individual who has a good income but is struggling to pay creditors.

This form of bankruptcy is best understood if it is looked at as a reorganization bankruptcy. It lasts for either three or five years. It gives an individual the opportunity to pay their creditors over a set amount of time. One benefit with this option is that a person will be able to hold onto their assets, like their vehicle or home.

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