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When spouses separate, the world does not stop moving forward, despite the emotional turmoil. Everyday expenses still pile up. A joint debt, or obligation, remains a joint debt, for which the creditor can pursue either of you individually or jointly. The same way that a creditor can go after a co-signor of a loan, joint debts are payable and enforceable against both spouses even after the marriage ends, unless the debts are settled as part of the divorce or renegotiated with the creditor.

All too often, in the time between separating and divorcing, spouses will ruin each other’s credit because joint debts fall by the wayside. When parties cannot agree on how to divide their property and assets, a court will need to get involved, which can make the process take significantly longer. When a home mortgage or debts relating to children are involved, the shared finances and joint obligations become something that the separated parties need to discuss as early as possible.

We all have our retirement dreams. Some couples dream about retiring early, rich, and in a tropical location, while others just want an RV and a ticket to ride. When couples start planning for retirement, the big question is always whether their goal is actually achievable? This isn't just a financial question, but also a question of pragmatism.

After you have settled on the basic idea, you need to figure out the who, what, when, where, and most importantly, the how.

The short answer to this question is a resounding: Maybe? Most states allow a party paying or receiving spousal support (or alimony) to ask the court for a modification based upon changed circumstances. Going back to school is certainly a changed circumstance. But whether or not spousal support will be changed is addressed on a case by case basis, with the court relying on whether it would be reasonable to do so.

The purpose of spousal support is to allow a spouse to maintain the same standard of living they became accustomed to during the marriage for a reasonable period of time and/or until the spouse can become self-sufficient. That reasonable period of time, in California, for example, is half the duration of the marriage, give or take a few units of measurement depending on individualized considerations such as education, earning capacity and child custody.

Am I Responsible for My Elderly Parents' Medical Bills?

As you get older, the roles reverse and you become responsible for your parents. Just as they cared for you when you were vulnerable, now you too must fend for them, especially if they are sick.

You understand this as a moral imperative, but you can't help wondering if there is a limit to this directive. Does it extend to paying parental debts when they are unable to cover their own costs, most notably medical bills?

As long as zombies remain a fictional trope of movies and television, they're pretty fun. But a real-life zombie would be horrifying. It's pretty much the same with zombie debt: not so threatening in theory, but when put into practice it can have catastrophic consequences on your life.

So what kind of debt can rise from the grave and try to feast on your brains wallet? Here's a breakdown of zombie debt, and whether the companies trying to collect on it are doing it legally.

Payday lenders prey on those in financial need, offering quick money with interest rates as high as 300 or even 1,000 percent. But it's about to get a bit harder for those lenders to find their next victim. Google announced this week that it is banning advertisements for payday loans and related products from its AdWords system.

The search (and everything else on the Internet) company positioned the new rule as protecting users from fake or harmful products and misleading advertising, and civil rights advocates have supported the move.

What Is Welfare Fraud?

When you think about crime, you probably think violence -- murders, robberies, that kind of thing. However, a lot of crime is committed by people you would never consider criminals, and who don't see themselves that way.

Every day, regular folk at all socioeconomic levels commit fraud on the government by misreporting information to avoid making payments or to receive benefits. Welfare fraud is among these crimes, and the consequences when caught can be severe. Let's look at a recent Connecticut case that illustrates welfare fraud.

Do Car Loan Companies Discriminate Based on Race?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Justice have been fighting for our right to fair financing, and you might be surprised by an area of recent focus. Since 2013, the agencies have been investigating indirect lenders associated with car companies and dealers, and they found their financing policies have a discriminatory impact on non-white borrowers.

The most recent target of investigation, reports JD Supra, is Toyota Motor Credit. The company this year entered into an enforcement order with the agencies -- a sort of plea deal -- to address the issue. It should be noted that the agencies did not find discriminatory lending was deliberate, yet it ended up having a discriminatory impact.

Almost all of us have had a disagreement with our credit card company. Whether it's a disputed charge, a surprise annual fee, or a shift in the interest rate, disputes are bound to happen. And when they did, most user agreements meant that consumers were obliged to resolve those disputes via arbitration, rather than lawsuits.

But those days may be over. A new proposed rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) would allow aggrieved consumers to bring class action lawsuits against financial institutions like credit card companies. So what does this mean for you and your credit card dispute?

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.