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Northern Virginia Law Blog

How divorce can affect Social Security

When Virginia couples decide to divorce, there are some effects on Social Security that they may benefit from learning about. Since 96% of American workers are part of the Social Security system, these issues can affect a large number of people. There are some specific provisions of the system that are designed to protect spouses, including those who have been out of the workforce or served as homemakers. People with low earnings or no history of income can collect up to half of their spouse's full benefits under Social Security.

In some cases, people may lose access to that program after a divorce but not if they were married for a longer period. Even more, accessing these benefits does not affect the other spouse's benefits. People who were married for at least 10 years can claim benefits from their former spouse, even if the latter has married again. In order to do so, there are a few criteria that people must meet; they must themselves be currently unmarried and aged older than 62. In addition, their benefits under the former spouse's Social Security must be greater than their own. For people who start collecting benefits before full retirement age, they will see the same reduction as someone collecting their own benefits.

The downsides of a traffic violation not always readily apparent

Getting cited for a traffic violation is arguably akin to something like a bee sting for most people. That is, it’s irritating and even temporarily painful, but not deadly.

Ergo, most motorists simply view that ticket in hand as an annoying inconvenience in life. They might wince at its cost, but they don’t know what to do other than just pay up and move on.

Virginia schools under fire for use of restraints, seclusion

If you are the parent of a child enrolled in special education classes here in Virginia, you likely already have your own horror stories of teachers, principals and other school personnel who disregard your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) when it is expedient for them.

Advocating for your child begins early and typically is required through all phases of their educational journey to ensure that their rights to a quality education are upheld. This is something that was recently brought home to parents of children enrolled in the special ed programs at Fairfax County Public Schools just a few miles northeast of Manassas.

Bankruptcy in retirement: Protect your future

Retirement is not always the easy time of your life that people expect it to be. Costs are high, and if you don't have enough to make ends meet, you could end up facing bankruptcy during a relatively vulnerable time of your life. If you have to file for bankruptcy in retirement, there are some things that you should know.

To file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in retirement, you'll need to pass a means test. A means test shows if you have an ability to repay your debts based on the amount you currently owe. It takes into consideration your annual income and monthly expenses. The good thing about the means test is that your Social Security benefits won't be considered income for the purposes of the test, so you may qualify for bankruptcy even if you're getting a decent amount of money each month.

The truth about credit reports: What you need to know

There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding which activities adversely affect a consumer's credit rating. For instance, some erroneously believe that checking their own credit reports will lower their score.

While there are numerous actions (and inactions) which can lead to a lowered credit rating, auto-checking your credit score is not one of them. In fact, routinely checking one's credit rating can help consumers detect and report any unauthorized charges on their credit card accounts.

Remember these things before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

With so many benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many consumers dive right into the process without first learning more about the potential impact on their life. Rather than make this mistake, it's important to compare the pros and cons to ensure that you know exactly what you're getting.

On the positive side, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate some or all of your debt. Furthermore, it's a fast and efficient process, with a discharge likely taking place within three to six months.

3 ways to protect your finances in a divorce

No matter the specific circumstances surrounding your divorce, calling it quits will take a toll. Ending a marriage is not as easy as simply saying this is my stuff, this is your stuff and signing the divorce papers. You will have to make decisions regarding how to value your assets to divide them fairly. Also, you will have to split any debt the two of you have accumulated during your marriage. If you have children, custody will be another issue you must address.

Sometimes people make some serious missteps during the divorce process and end up with their finances in shambles. To keep your divorce from ending in bankruptcy, follow these tips.

Can my auto loan company repossess my vehicle?

If you took out a loan to purchase your vehicle, your car is at risk of repossession if you default on the loan. Whether it's a car you use for business or personal reasons, the creditor that loaned you the money to buy your car has various rights over your vehicle. These rights were established via the contract you signed when securing the loan.

Here is more information about auto repossession in Virginia:

Tips to help you get through property division during divorce

Divorce is usually a difficult and drawn out process. For some people, it could take months to work out all the details. This is especially true when you own extensive assets and other property. For example, you may have a long argument ahead of you concerning who gets the dog or which one of you will keep the house in Manassas. You might spend a significant amount of time working out how to divide retirement accounts and your stock portfolio.

Many people look for ways to make their divorce process smoother, but, unfortunately, there are no quick fixes when it comes to divorce. However, the following property division tips might help make your divorce a little easier.

Determine if you need a qualified domestic relations order

There's no reason that most people will ever hear of a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) unless they are getting a divorce and have a pension plan to split. So it can become an afterthought that needs to be addressed after the divorce has already been finalized.

That can add unnecessary charges to one's legal bills, so it's better to decide ahead of time whether or not you will need a QDRO drafted, filed and signed in your Manassas divorce.

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Manassas, VA 20110

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