Disability and Bankruptcy

For those with a disability resulting in costly medical bills, opting for bankruptcy may be a solution for relief from these bills. However, many are unfamiliar with the bankruptcy process and with the impacts the process has (and doesn’t have) on their financial assets.

It is no surprise that individuals are concerned about the bankruptcy process. After all, a sound financial situation allows those with disabilities to take care of their medical needs both in the present and future. For these reasons, I decided to compile some information about going through the bankruptcy process as a disabled person. Keep reading below! It may end up helping you or a loved one in the future! 

The Impact on Disability Benefits

Disabled Americans are entitled to compensation from the federal government through Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. Additionally, disabled individuals may receive benefits from state or private programs. 

Usually, the disability benefits received are protected from being seized during the bankruptcy process. However, there are some exceptions. These exceptions may depend on a variety of factors, including: 

  • The type of bankruptcy that you file
  • Where your benefits are coming from 
  • If you receive ongoing benefit payments or a lump sum payment for past benefits
  • Exemption rules in your state

Regarding the last point, it is important that you learn about the specific exemption rules in your state because they may impact what you are able to keep during your bankruptcy experience. 

SSDI Benefits and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

Most people file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which means the court sells your assets not protected by an exemption and spreads out the profits from your creditors. Point number three in the above list becomes extremely relevant here. If you routinely receive monthly benefits for your disability, you will usually be allowed to keep them as the bankruptcy judge will understand that debtors use this money to sustain themselves as they are unable to work. However, if you receive a lump-sum payment for past disability benefits you are entitled to, you must prove that this was an SSDI benefit. You do this by tracing the deposit. Though most jurisdictions will exempt a lump sum payment, in other jurisdictions the trustee will be able to take a portion of your lump-sum payment. 

Contacting An Attorney

If you are disabled and are thinking about initiating the bankruptcy process, one of the best things you can do is reach out to a bankruptcy attorney. An attorney will be able to answer all of your questions, especially questions about whether your disability benefits will be protected during the process. As the rules vary depending on the jurisdiction, it is important to reach out to a bankruptcy attorney in your particular area for the most accurate and reliable information. 

Getting Married on the Water?

So much more goes into planning a wedding than initially meets the eye. Aside from setting a date and picking out a dress, there are roughly six thousand things that the happy couple has to plan for before they can have their happily ever after.

They have to send invitations, pick the right color scheme, and let’s not forget the most important part: they have to pick the right location. The wrong location could mean disaster on the married couple’s special night. Too small a venue and their guests may start to feel cramped. Too big and they will be paying it off for years to come.

Of course, playing it safe could result in the guests not enjoying it as much as they could, and nothing kills a party faster than bored guests.

A lot of couples choose to keep it small and simple, getting married in a local church, which also helps with keeping in line with their family’s traditions. Alternatively, other couples choose to skip a wedding ceremony altogether, and just sign the marriage certificate in the closest courthouse. Or, a proud few go the extravagant route and have destination weddings in Rome!

Of course, the last option would be incredibly expensive and many of their guests would likely not be able to come. Many happy couples choose a middle ground and have a large wedding in a mid-cost location. Hotels have recently become popular for weddings, and many couples decide to recite their vows at a park or garden.

But what about getting married while on the go?

Sometimes, it’s not always a destination wedding versus a nearby venue. A venue that moves with you offers both convenience and style! Getting married on a cruise ship could be the way to go for someone who wants to make a statement while also being considerate of their friends and family.

And lakefront weddings truly are the best of both worlds when it comes to practicality and elegance. Anita Dee Yacht Charter offers yacht rentals on Lake Michigan for those in the Chicago area looking for a unique way to start their marriages. Yacht rentals have come into popularity in the last few years as a fun way to host events.

From a classy twist on your traditional architectural tour to a sprawling family reunion, a cruise around the lake-line is a surefire way to make sure all your guests have an enjoyable time! In addition to being a one-of-a-kind location, cruise ships are also great for weddings because they are already conveniently divided into sections.

The kids can go play on the deck while the adults hit up the open bar. Whether it’s a wedding, graduation, or business event you’re hosting, consider renting a yacht and having the event there! Every guest will be able to look back at the event and smile at the magic that was in the air that night.

Joint Custody Is the Best Option, But It’s Hard Work

There’s a lot that’s been written about how the best case for children is for a family to stay together, and this may in some circumstances be true. I don’t see enough written, though, about the best option when the parents can’t get along, and that is joint custody.

Joint custody involves parents getting divorced but both parents remaining a constant presence in their children’s lives. How families split up time and major life decisions depends on each individual family, but the main point is that this is the best option out there when the parents simply can’t stay together.

Joint custody, however, is hard work. To make it work, you may need some advice to navigate the trickier elements of the process. So, here are a few tips to keep in mind while you prepare for your new life as joint custody parents.

Agree to put the kids first

You probably intend to do this anyway, but don’t leave it as an assumption. Verbalize this intention and get both parties to agree. Saying it out loud can help clarify the most important part of your divorce process.

Consider a lawyer for your divorce

As the Law Offices of Baden V. Mansfield point out, divorce is an emotional process, even when both parties are in general agreement about it. When it comes to custody, you really don’t want your emotions to take over (as we’ll see below). A lawyer can remove you and your emotional hurt from the equation and help settle the process more quickly and painlessly.

Try to find the schedule that works best for all parties

This is one of the reasons you don’t want emotions involved in this process. It can be very annoying to have to continue to accommodate your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s schedule and needs, but it’s crucial if you want to keep your kids comfortable and make sure they grow up in the best environment.

Don’t punish your spouse with custody

Again, emotions come into play here. It’s normal to want to hurt those who have hurt you, but you simply can’t let that emotion become dominant when trying to organize joint custody. You have to think of your children’s needs first, or else, get a lawyer that can do that for you.

Make the most of your time

Once a custody schedule is organized and the divorce goes through, you’ll need to make some major adjustments in life. One of those will be to make the most of the time you have with your kids. When you are all living together, it’s easy to let this focus slip by. Once you only have certain days or blocks of time with your kids, you have to make sure they always come first so they get the most from their time with you.

If you can stick to these steps, you’ll be able to provide a loving and positive family environment with both parents taking active roles in how the children grow up. When keeping the family together isn’t a good option anymore, joint custody is the best option out there, if you can make it work.

The world of workplace injuries

You may not know it, but workplace injuries are common. Not only are they common, but they can encompass a large number of possible injuries.

What do you think of when you read “workplace injury”? I bet it’s an image of something extreme, like a massive stack of newspapers falling on someone, with them lying on the ground moaning. That is, of course, one form of workplace injury, but it’s by no means the only one, nor is it necessarily the most common.

And sure, serious injuries like broken bones and even things like limb amputation do happen, particularly in some more dangerous industries, but far more common, and far more overlooked are the less dramatic types of injuries that we either shrug off or don’t see coming.

Did you know spraining your ankle can be a workplace injury? If you sprained it while fulfilling your duties at work, it could count. Let’s say you were required to lift a new printer and install it for your offer, and you pulled your back a bit, that’s also a workplace injury.

Other smaller injuries still worth of being called workplace injuries include bruises and cuts. Again, if you were required to install that printer and you cut yourself with the box cutter, that’s a workplace injury. A bruise when you dropped the old printer on your foot while taking it to the trash: that’s also a workplace injury.

Slow and long-term injuries like carpal tunnel are also workplace injuries, particularly if they were sustained mostly from the activities you did at work.

It’s important that we begin to recognize such accidents as deserving to be called workplace injuries because every day many people shrug off such incidents and don’t get the compensation or rest they are entitled to. If you’ve bruised your foot badly after dropping that printer, you are entitled to getting it looked at and taking the time off your doctor says is necessary. Don’t just shrug off such incidents. Don’t return to work and blame yourself. The law is set up to protect you, even if the accident is relatively minor.

A great deal of pain is struggled through by those who don’t realize their rights. A burn when walking past the deep fryer deserves to be looked at by a doctor and treated properly. If you ignore it, you may suffer from pain and end up with a scar. Don’t just laugh this off and assume no one will help ease your suffering.

Once you recognize your rights, you’ll be able to not only watch out for yourself better, but watch out for your fellow employees who may also suffer similar problems.

There are a few important notes to add at the end here: there has to be some negligence on the employers’ part to entitle compensation (not necessarily time off or a doctor’s visit, but further compensation). Also, don’t go looking for injuries to earn time off, the results can often be more devastating than you intended.

What Makes a Social Event Awesome?

When it comes to social events, all you want is a great time, preferably one you can remember. Whether it is a wedding, an after-graduation celebration, or just a party with your friends and colleagues, this is true.

But what makes a social event awesome? Well, that may depend on what kind of event it is, but all social events have some general factors in common that influence success.

Cool venue and theme

We’ve seen them all – house parties, garden weddings, and product launches in hotel function rooms. There is nothing wrong about these venues, as there are many factors at play here, such as convenience, preference, and client’s wishes. But for a truly memorable experience, you can consider opting for unique venues and themes.

For example, according to the website of the Anita Dee Yacht Charters, yachts are already being used as unique venues for events like the ones mentioned earlier. Being in a moving vessel in water, even just as an idea, is already cool in itself. There are many other awesome locations out there, ranging from the adventurous private islands to the rebellious abandoned subway stations.

Smooth flow

Momentum is an important factor in a social event. Once you get things rolling, there is no turning back, because even minor bumps along the way can result into awkward pauses, guests not knowing what to do, and guests losing interest and engagement.

You should ensure that the events run smoothly, even on the transitions. You should also ensure the smoothness of everything in between, like the consistency of the DJ, the flow of food and drinks, and the engagement to arriving guests.

Free of accidents and injuries

An accident or injury in the social event is not awesome. In fact, the occurrence of such can break the mood of the social event, warrant an early dismissal, and make the event memorable in the wrong ways.

As a host, you are partially responsible for the safety of your guests. Make sure to take away possible hazards even before the event starts. Regulate alcohol consumption to avoid fights, accidents from poor body control, and automobile collisions that may occur from drunk driving.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

According to the Bradford Law Offices, PLLC, “If you are facing overwhelming financial difficulties and don’t know where to turn for help, you may need the assistance of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney. Chapter 7 is one of the most commonly sought forms of bankruptcy because it provides individuals with a way to discharge, or completely eliminate, many of their existing debts. If you are suffering under the weight of unmanageable debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be able to provide you with much-needed relief. However, pursuing this debt relief option can be complicated, so it is important that you secure professional assistance if you think that Chapter 7 may be right for you.”

Bankruptcy is one legal solution available to individuals and businesses with overwhelming debts. Besides helping them regain control of their finances, the bankruptcy law also ensures the immediate cessation of whatever form of harassment law firms and debt collectors use to force debtors to make payments – this starts as soon as a declaration of bankruptcy is filed in court. (Forms of harassment employed by law firms and debt collectors include e-mails, phone calls, letters, text messages, lawsuits and others).

Specifically, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy method that is best for people who have properties, but whose salary or income does not go above the limit stipulated by the chapter. As the definition suggests, this law will require the liquidation of a few of your properties (you can choose specific properties that should not be sold, though). The selling or the liquidation of your properties is to be done by a court-appointed trustee who will also distribute the amount earned to your creditors. Debts to be paid are only those categorized as non-dischargeable, such as court fines, alimony and student loans. Medical bills, business and personal loans, and debts due to use of credit cards are called dischargeable debts, meaning, the court may free you from the obligation of still paying these.

To determine eligibility under Chapter 7, an applicant will have to take and pass the means test. This test is a way to determine if your income is low enough to qualify you to seek protection under this chapter.

Long Term Effects of DUI Convictions

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has the obvious consequence of fines and jail times. But there are other consequences that are not as obvious, and some of them can even linger for years or even a lifetime.

License Revocations
Getting convicted of DUI can get your license revoked for up to 10 years, depending on the gravity of the offense and the consecutive times you have committed it. Having no license greatly affects your mobility and quality of life. If you have no license, you will have a harder time going to work or school, accomplishing errands such as getting groceries, and other tasks that may be more convenient if you have the privilege of driving.

This is not just an issue about convenience. It can also be an issue of responsibility. Without a license, you won’t be able to take the kids to school, and you won’t be very reliable on emergency situations. These may result into significant compromising and arguing within the family.

Employment Issues
If you have a job, your schedule may be compromised because of wasted times in court, jail times, and community service hours. You are at risk of losing your job because of your inability to show up at work and deliver your service. Some companies also fire those who have convictions. This is especially true if you are working on a company that involves driving, such as trucking and delivering companies.

If you do not have a job, you may have a hard time finding one because of the inherent bias against those with convictions.
Because of employment issues that can result from DUI convictions, you may have financial problems. They will affect the quality of your life and may even warrant significant lifestyle changes.

It is important to note that not because you have been arrested for DUI it already means that you are convicted. You can defend yourself, and there are lawyers out there who specialize on DUI defense, such as those from Truslow & Truslow.

But at the end of the day, prevention is always better than defense. Avoid driving under the influence by controlling yourself and knowing your limits.

Serious Water Accidents due to Reckless Operation of Water Vessels

After a 14-year-old Thai boy, who was declared world jet ski championship in 2015, fell into the water while training in a lake in Muang district in Thailand, another jet ski that was operated by a 9-year-old boy hit him on the head, causing in him a deep cut to the left side of his face. This head injury killed the jet ski champion: he was pronounced dead in the hospital where he was rushed.

Three years earlier (here in the U.S.), sometime in August or September of 2012, a fatal brain injury took the life of a 16-year old female after a vacationing 20-year old Australian male tourist rammed into the former’s jet ski.

Thousands of dreadful jet ski accidents occur in the U.S. every year. Records from the United States Coast Guard say that at least four thousand jet ski accidents occur each year. These accidents result to about 600 deaths and more than 2,600 injuries.

A jet ski has the power of a real boat, despite its small size, and can now run up to 70 miles per hour. Designed to run at high speeds with its drivers and passengers not wearing any form of protection, no wonder they are vulnerable to many different kinds of serious and life-threatening injuries.

States vary with regard to rules and requirements for operating a jet ski. The most basic ones say though, that one needs to: prove that he or she is at least 16 years old (some states have 12 for base age limit); hear a safety lesson, which takes only some minutes; and pay $95 per hour rent fee.

Accidents on the open water can cause not only significant damage to your vessel, but these can also cause devastating and possibly life-altering injuries, even death, simply because someone has acted in a negligent or reckless manner. The laws governing accidents that take place on water, however, are different from the laws that govern accidents occurring on roads and highways, making seeking compensation more difficult as a result. Accidents involving jet skis or other types of recreational boats, therefore, can be better handled by legal professionals whose expertise include maritime law. It will definitely be in the best interest of a victim if he/she would consult with a maritime lawyer immediately after an accident occurs.

The DIY Homeowner’s Guide to Roofing Tools

There are plenty of people who find satisfaction in working on home improvement projects on their own. If you are among these do-it-yourself homeowners, even the most challenging repairs are jobs you won’t shy away from. One such job is roof repair. Minor issues like leaks and clogged gutters can be easily solved without the help of experts. All you need are the proper tools to ensure your safety and the quality of your work.

Repairing a damaged roof requires you to stay hunched over and on your knees for quite some time. Roofing experts make use of knee pads to protect their knees, ensuring they are comfortable and are able to keep their balance for the duration of time that they are working from great heights. In addition to knee pads, wearing a tool belt can also help ease the discomfort of roof repair and make the process a lot more efficient.

What you’ll need to consider next is what to put inside your tool belt. Some of the most essential tools to roof repair include pry bars and hammers for removing damaged shingles from the roof, hammer staplers and roofing nailers for installing shingles into place, utility knives and shingle saws for cutting pieces into size, as well as layout tools and brackets to ensure that the new shingles are symmetrical and in place throughout installation.

You can find these tools in hardware stores at a variety of price points. Finding the specific tool for the job will only be a matter of considering the quality and affordability of the item. Once you have these common roofing tools on hand, fixing leaks and replacing broken shingles can be an easy task to accomplish. Take note, however, that not every roofing issue can be addressed with DIY solutions. The more complicated problems will have to be solved by expert contractors, such as those from Ware Landscaping working in Naperville, Illinois.

Spousal Rape: A Criminal Offense in all U.S. States

Under the English common law, which is the source of many traditional laws in the U.S., it was not legally possible for a man to be accused of raping his wife. In support of this position, then jurist Sir Matthew Hale explained in 1736 how marriage implied permanent consent that could not be retracted.

The belief that a man could never be held guilty of raping his wife stood for centuries until in 1979, when legal attitudes about the concept changed due to a pair of separate cases. One of these cases, which may have been the first case that led to a spousal rape conviction, involved a bartender in Salem, Mass., who broke into the house that he used to share with his estranged wife and then forced himself on her. Since the incident involved invasion and sexual abuse while in the middle of a divorce, it was not hard to judge the case as one incidence of marital rape; regardless, this case was a precedent to so many other spousal rape convictions during the 1980s and the 1990s, and the major reason why today, spouses are no longer excluded in state criminal codes’ definition of “rape,” why saying “no” to one’s husband is no longer a ground for divorce, and why spousal rape is declared illegal in every state in the U.S.

According to a criminal defense lawyer from the firm Horst Law, married individuals may be charged with spousal rape if they engage in sexual penetration that is unlawful because it is alleged that the defendant was armed with a weapon, caused serious bodily harm, or the couple has been separated and at least one partner has filed for either divorce or separate maintenance. A charge of spousal rape can be elevated to aggravated sexual assault if the defendant was particularly vile, cruel, or otherwise inhumane and either caused serious bodily harm or was armed with a weapon.

To be accused of a crime can change your life forever. A conviction is so much worse for, besides the penalties, it will also affect your future personal, community and professional life. You should realize, however, that an accusation simply means that you still have the time and any means accessible for a strong defense that will enable you to protect your rights and future and which may even help you earn a verdict of “not guilty.” Being defended by a highly-competent criminal defense lawyer, who knows what evidences to gather and how to gather these, may just be what you need in a case as serious as spousal rape.

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