I often get asked this very question by clients when they first come into my office for a consultation about filing Bankruptcy in Arkansas. It doesn’t seem logical to most people to keep and continue paying for a manufactured home that they still owe $50,000 on but is now only work $20,000 under the best of circumstances. Leaks occur in the bathrooms, flooring begins to buckle or rot, the ceiling needs work and the value of the home itself is depreciating faster than repairs can be made. So, if you are in this situation, what are you to do?
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The answer to this question depends widely on which chapter of Bankruptcy you are filing, how long you have been in your home, and how the financing was set up from the loan’s inception. In a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, your options are somewhat limited: You can reaffirm the debt on your manufactured home and keep making the payments; you can walk away from the home and surrender it to the creditor (there may be some implications here); or you can “redeem” the property by paying the creditor in full. Under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, however, you have another option. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to “cram down” the debt you owe on your manufactured home in some circumstances.
Under a Chapter 13 filing, if you have lived in your manufactured home for more than 910-days (roughly 2.5 years) and your mobile home is not cross-collateralized (you didn’t put your land up as security for repayment of the loan when you bought the house) then the law allows us to pay back the value of the house despite what you may still owe on it. So, from our quick example from above, you would receive the title to your home after you pay back the current value of $20,000 to the creditor. The rest of the $50,000 you owed ($30,000) now becomes an unsecured obligation (we call this “bifurcating” or “splitting” a claim) that can potentially be discharged along with your other unsecured obligations such as credit cards or medical bills. Obviously, it is easy to see what a huge potential savings of money a family could see using this technique.
By: David R. Horn
Q. What should I do to protect myself financially during a divorce?
A. Gather all of the financial information you are aware of so you can share that information with your attorney. Most of this information will be part of the discovery process. You will need to determine what property you own, when you acquired it, it’s value, and how it is titled. You should also know the physical whereabouts of all of your assets. If property is missing or you suspect that your spouse may have acquired property without your knowledge, be sure to share this information with your attorney.
Q. Should I close bank accounts?
A. This is a perfectly legitimate measure to protect yourself during a divorce, however, you must be prepared to account for the money withdrawn. If you cannot prove how the money was used it may delay settlement of your case and provoke your spouse to do the same.
Q. What should I do about property or money in a safe deposit box?
A. If the account is joint, conduct an inventory with a witness and document the contents. If you need to keep the contents safe until a restraining order can be obtained you can put the contents in another safe deposit box or another safe place. Again, you will need to conduct an inventory with a neutral third party witness and document the contents. A bank employee would serve this purpose better than someone you know.
Q. What will the Court do if I hide assets?
A. If either party takes an affirmative step to hide assets or knowingly fails to disclose assets you are committing fraud and could be held in contempt of court, even if it is discovered after the divorce is final.
Q. What is dissipation of assets?
A. Expenditure of assets for activities and items that do not favor common marital interests during the period of marital breakdown is presumed to be dissipation and subject to reimbursement by the spouse that dissipated the assets. If it is discovered that a spouse has dissipated assets the remedy is to pay all of that back into the estate and the non-offending spouse is awarded all of the amount, not just half.
Q. Should I close all my joint credit card accounts?
A. This depends on how much you trust your spouse and whether they have a history of financial irresponsibility. If you are afraid your spouse my run up the debt and cause you to get half of it you should closed the account; if not you can leave them in place and agree to pay for debt that you acquired on the card after the separation or otherwise equitably divide the debt.
Q. How can I find hidden assets?
A. This is a very meticulous process. You should check financial statements issued by your spouse, income tax returns, corporate returns, partnership returns, cancelled checks and check registers from all of the above, savings account passbook, securities and stock accounts, deferred bonuses or commissions, safe deposit box activity, cash transactions, children’s bank accounts, any other retirement of savings plans that you know about or suspect your spouse may have. It may be necessary to hire a professional for this service. It may be expensive, but it could pay you many times over in the end. Your lawyer should be able to provide you with a list to give you a head start on this.
Financial matters are extremely important during a divorce and should be carefully scrutinized to endure a fair and equitable settlement.
When searching for legal counsel in Arkansas, clients want to connect with a law firm that's up-to-date with cutting edge information technology. Speed, accuracy and accessibility make Apple's new iPad attorney-friendly like no other tablet on the market. The iPad 3 sports higher quality audio and image processing, a faster Internet connection and support for the latest apps that shrink an entire law office down to one, portable device.
Familiar Surface, Supercharged Under the Hood
The iPad 3 has many new performance-enhancing elements in the internal hardware but those familiar with previous generation tablets won't have any trouble jumping right into the interface. The more powerful hardware isn't any more demanding on battery life and also doesn't come with extra weight. The iPad 3 is only a fraction of an inch thicker than second-generation devices; so new iPads will fit perfectly in existing carrying cases.
The top-of-the-line iPad 3 comes with a full package of improvements over the iPad 2 and out-performs every other tablet on the market.
- · Multiple differentiators help the hardware deliver crisper, cleaner audio and visual content for crystal-clear calls, sharp video and perfect recording.
- · Resolution at 2048x1536, higher than any mobile device and even beyond many HD TVs and monitors.
- · 4G LTE support for super-fast Internet and network connections, even outside of Wi-Fi hotspots. The same connectivity whether you're in the heart of Little Rock, the parks of Bryant or a cafe in Benton.
- · The A5X optimized dual-core processing chip that closes the gap between portable information technology and the most powerful desktop computers.
- · 5 megapixel camera that shoots 1080p video with automatic image stabilization.
Working with Apps
There is a growing suite of exciting applications for today's new iPad attorney. The device runs software that makes jury selection more thorough without sacrificing efficiency. The iPad 3 is the first tablet to come with a built-in voice recording system and the improved recording clarity filtered by the differentiators ensures the most accurate digital dictation possible.
The e-reader technology in the iPad 3 provides access to an entire library of legal resources on the go, complete with bookmarking, highlighting and quick search features to guarantee fast, knowledgeable service to every client.
Creating and implementing presentations is easier than ever with high-definition graphics and all trial prep materials available in a simple electronic filing system.
Simple and Sustainable
The new iPad attorney applications and on-board features make paperless workflow a reality. This cuts operational costs over time, saves space and presents a clean, modern image to current and prospective clients. Electronic information is easier to share, easier to preserve and remarkably reduces research and fact-checking time, preserving more of every day for client service overall.
Integrating the iPad 3 into the daily operations of a legal practice can elevate a firm to among the most efficient in Arkansas. The initial cost is quickly offset by savings in time and materials while the hardware upgrades translate to a clear upgrade in a firm's service and reliability."