Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Recently in Bankruptcy Category

For many people, handling money is a breeze. They work, earn money, live within their means, and die a humble death. For others, money is the eternal, literally existential, problem. When people go so far into debt that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a freight train barreling towards them, threatening financial ruin, bankruptcy might be a viable alternative to financial destitution.

Bankruptcy is the process by which a person throws up their hands and says: “Court, please save me from these creditors.” Depending on the type of assets a person holds and their level of income, there are different forms of bankruptcy that may be available.

It is not uncommon for individuals, or couples, going through a legal separation, or divorce, to be struggling with finances as well. Legal separation can wreak havoc on an individual's already distressed financial situation such that filing for bankruptcy can be a compelling option. However, there may be some legal issues with filing for bankruptcy before a divorce is finalized or while separated from a spouse.

As an initial matter, filing for bankruptcy can be done individually, even while still married. However, it may be to both your, and your (soon-to-be-former) spouse's, benefit to file jointly. It may not be. How any given bankruptcy will work out is highly dependent on the facts of any given case. Generally, the main considerations are whether the debts you are trying to escape are joint marital debts or individual debts, and whether the marriage owns property a bankruptcy trustee can sell off.

Not only are more and more college students graduating with student loan debt, they are owing more and more each year. Rising tuition costs coupled with graduate school means you could be entering the workforce with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in school loan debt. And unless you're making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, paying down that debt may seem unlikely or even impossible.

Never fear -- although the repayment process can be complicated, especially if you're behind or can't afford your payments, we've got answers to your most common student loan debt questions. Here they are, from our archives:

Nobody really wants to file for bankruptcy -- we'd all rather have the financial means to pay our debts. But for those who've suffered unemployment, a medical emergency, or other financial hardship, bankruptcy can keep your debt from spiraling out of control.

Bankruptcy is not a Get Out of Debt Free Card, and it's not exactly a bailout, either. So what is bankruptcy, how does it work, and should you file? Here are seven things to know first:

Sallie Mae, a company that has faced numerous lawsuits for predatory and discriminatory lending practices to students, has found a new target for school loan debt: students' parents. It's a smart ploy from the lender/debt-collector -- why saddle young, unproven, and possibly unemployed kids with debt when you can put it on older and employed versions that are more likely to pay it back?

So if you just got done paying off your student loans, and are feeling that empty nest melancholy double whammy of no kids in the house and no loans on the books, fear not. Sallie Mae has a way for you to continue paying off student debt for maybe your whole life.

Trending Questions From FindLaw Answers

You've got legal questions, we've got answers! If you have not yet asked or answered a legal question in FindLaw's popular Answers community, what are you waiting for? This amazing free resource supports a dynamic community of attorneys and consumers healing each other out -- simple as that!

Here's a look at some of the more popular legal questions posted to our boards lately:

On Avoiding Bankruptcy: 5 Financial Tips

When times get tough, the tough sometimes want to indulge in a little shopping. But retail therapy and reactive spending can be big contributors to a personal credit crunch.

There are things you can do to remain financially healthy if you're not now in trouble and to avoid bankruptcy if you're on the brink. If you start thinking carefully about expenses, you can bring yourself back from the edge of financial disaster without too much pain and a lot of gain.

While getting a school loan is fairly simple, paying off that loan is another matter entirely. And discharging the loan through bankruptcy? That's rarer than a unicorn.

Or so we thought. While the prevailing wisdom has been that you are stuck with federal student loans until you pay them off, some new cases might be indicating there are ways out for debtors that can't afford their student loans. One such exit is the often overlooked "borrower defense" provision. Does it apply to you?

Being in debt can be a scary place -- especially when a creditor starts taking a piece of your paycheck. In some cases, creditors could be taking so much you can no longer afford to pay other bills, sending you deeper into debt.

It turns out you may have some options if you need to end or alter wage garnishment, including filing for an exemption or getting the debt vacated entirely.

For many couples, unfortunately, bankruptcy and divorce go hand in hand.

The statistics are quite discouraging and telling. Nearly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Of those, 22 percent of divorces are caused by money issues or disagreements about how to spend money.

If you and your spouse are contemplating bankruptcy and divorce, should you file for one before the other? Does it matter?