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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cost 2021

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cost 2021

If you’re attempting to get out from under a mountain of debt, you’re undoubtedly thinking if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help. Your next queries are likely to be how much Chapter 13 will cost and whether it will work for you once you’ve decided it’s the best option for your financial position. We polled readers throughout the country about their recent bankruptcy experiences in order to acquire some real-life answers to these issues. What we gathered from people who filed for Chapter 13 is as follows.

What Are the Fees for Chapter 13 Lawyers?

The law of bankruptcy is complicated and perplexing. Cases involving Chapter 13 can be very complicated, and mistakes might lead to major financial troubles down the road. So it’s no surprise that almost all of our readers (97%) hired a lawyer to assist them with the Chapter 13 bankruptcy procedure. Their legal fees often ranged between $2,500 and $5,000. However, the majority of readers (63 percent) paid $3,000 or less. Nonetheless, the average cost of $3,000 was more than double what other readers spent their lawyers to handle Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. Because Chapter 13 cases take longer and need more labor, attorneys charge more for them. However, Chapter 13 has a benefit in terms of how attorneys’ fees are normally calculated: While the great majority of bankruptcy lawyers charge a flat fee for their basic services, they usually only require a down payment before filing the Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. (You’ll also have to pay the filing cost, which is $313 as of December 2020.) The remainder of the attorney’s fee is then included in your Chapter 13 monthly payments, which means it comes out of the money that would otherwise go to your creditors.

When a Chapter 13 Lawyer Might Cost You More or Less

The fees charged by bankruptcy lawyers are determined by numerous factors, including their level of experience and location of practice. Attorneys’ fees, like other expenses, tend to be higher in large urban centers on the coasts. However, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy situations, there is another crucial issue to consider: The amount you pay your attorney must be approved by the court. Many courts set fee standards that they will automatically consider reasonable in order to make the approval process easier (known as “presumptive” or “no look” fees). The rules may also include a list of fundamental services that should be covered, as well as additional costs for business cases and additional services that may be required (such as filing plan modifications or motions). These assumed costs differ from one state to the next, as well as between districts within bigger ones. In a few populated states, examples of the range of presumed costs for essential services include:

  • $3,300 to $5,000 in California
  • $3,000 to $3,825 in Texas
  • $3,500 to $4,500 in Florida
  • $2,600 to $3,650 in Michigan
  • $4,000 to $5,100 in Virginia

Our findings backed up the conventional assumption that most lawyers will charge that amount or less for basic services in regions where the courts have set guidelines. However, if your case necessitates additional labor, such as when:

  • You own a firm as a solo owner.
  • Your home is worth less than what you owe, and you want to get rid of your mortgage obligation (or “discharge” it).
  • you wish to get rid of your college loans, or
  • When you declare for bankruptcy, you become a defendant in a lawsuit.

Source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/chapter-13-bankruptcy-what-will-it-cost-and-will-it-work.html

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Do Bankruptcy Exemptions Work

How Do Bankruptcy Exemptions Work

If you’re one among the millions of people who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, bankruptcy can help you clear your debts while keeping your retirement assets intact. You won’t lose your stimulus cash, though, because the new bankruptcy “recovery rebate” law preserves stimulus checks, tax credits, and child credits.

Exemptions from bankruptcy play an important role in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions are used in Chapter 7 bankruptcy to determine how much of your property you get to keep. Exemptions in Chapter 13 bankruptcy help you keep your plan payments modest. Learn more about bankruptcy exemptions and how they work by reading on.

What Are the Different Types of Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Exemptions allow you to keep a specific amount of assets, such as a cheap car, professional tools, clothing, and a retirement account, safe in bankruptcy. You don’t have to worry about the bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case taking an asset and selling it for the benefit of your creditors if you can exclude it.

Many exclusions cover specific property kinds up to a certain dollar value, such as a car or furnishings. An exemption can sometimes protect the asset’s total worth. Some exemptions, known as “wildcard exemptions,” can be used on any of your properties.

Is it okay if I keep my baseball cards? Jewelry? Pets?

The goal of bankruptcy is to give you a fresh start, not to take away all of your possessions. You’ll probably be able to protect other items as well, such as religious literature, a seat in a building of worship, or a burial plot, in addition to the fundamentals. Chickens and feed are even exempt in some states. However, you should not make the mistake of assuming that everything will be well.

  • Items of high value. There are no exemptions for boats, collections, pricey artwork, or holiday homes. Instead of filing for bankruptcy, owners with such valuable assets often sell the property and pay off their debts.
  • Jewelry. Many states provide protection for wedding rings up to a certain value. Don’t expect to preserve your Rolex, diamond necklace, or antique broach collection, though.
  • Pets. The dog or cat you rescued from the shelter is unlikely to fall into the trustee’s hands. Why? It’s not that you’ll have a specific exemption to protect it; rather, the trustee would have to pay more to sell it than it’s worth in most circumstances. However, if you own a valuable show dog or a racehorse with high breeding costs, you may be forced to sell it or pay for it in bankruptcy.

Exemptions: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Whether you’re filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, exemptions play a significant role.

Bankruptcy under Chapter 7

A liquidation bankruptcy is one in which the appointed trustee sells your nonexempt assets to satisfy your creditors. Because the bankruptcy trustee cannot sell exempt property, exemptions assist you protect your assets in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your state offers a $5,000 motor vehicle exemption and you only own one automobile worth $4,000, for example, you can keep it. See Exemptions in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for more details.

Bankruptcy under Chapter 13

You can keep all of your property and rearrange your debts with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy (which can mean paying less on some of them). The amount you must pay specific creditors, however, is still determined by how much property you can exclude. Unsecured creditors who are not priority (such as credit card companies) must be paid an amount equal to your nonexempt assets. Exemptions assist keep your Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan payments modest by lowering the amount you must pay creditors. See Exemptions in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for more details.

Bankruptcy Exemptions at the State and Federal Level

There are bankruptcy exemptions in each state. A series of exemptions is also provided by federal law. (See The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions for further information.) Some states force you to use their exemptions, while others allow you to choose between their exemptions and the federal system (you cannot mix and match the two).

The state exemption rules you’ll be able to use will be determined by where you lived in the previous two years (called the “domicile requirements.”). Read Which Exemptions Can You Use In Bankruptcy? for more information on the distinctions between state and federal exemptions and domicile requirements.

Nonbankruptcy Exemptions in the United States

In addition to state and federal bankruptcy exemptions, there are a number of federal nonbankruptcy exemptions. These exemptions work in a similar way to bankruptcy exemptions in terms of preserving your assets. Nonbankruptcy exemptions from the federal government are only available if you use your state’s exemptions (you cannot combine the federal bankruptcy and nonbankruptcy exemptions). You can use nonbankruptcy exemptions in addition to state exemptions if you are using state exemptions. See The Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions for further details.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

5 Logical Ways to Grow Your Money

Saving and growing your money is, oftentimes, easier than you think. There are a number of rudimentary saving habits that you can start today that could positively impact your money. Top bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale recommends adhering to the following five tips in order to double your money this year.

Automation

It’s important to automate your financial life. This means transferring your funds directly from your checking account to an interest-bearing savings account. Think about it: when you automate your financial life (putting money into a retirement or savings account), you won’t feel inclined to cut back on savings.

Track Expenses

It’s absolutely critical to have an in-depth understanding of where your money is going. You must look closely at your spending habits in order to figure out where you can cut back.

Monitor

Another important component to growing your money is making sure you monitor and measure your progress. Consider evaluating your net worth on a daily basis; you will find this both motivating and rewarding.

Alter Your Mindset

It’s never too late to start saving. Thus, you need to commit to saving money right here, right now.

Invest

The only way to build significant wealth is to have your money go to work for you through investments. Rather than having your money idle in a savings account (which is still good), throw those funds right into the market. Ultimately, the compound interest you earn will provide great returns.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Five Must-Know Money-Saving and Success Tips

As you know, people rarely find success by accident. It’s important to set yourself up for financial gains by adhering to some of the best advice out there. Let’s take a look at five indispensable money-saving and success tips for your personal benefit.

Be Passionate

For most individuals, finding exactly what they love and monetizing it is one of life’s biggest challenges. Those tips are exactly what tycoon Warren Buffet says drove him to success in investing and finding great deals. Ultimately, being successful in almost anything means having a passion for it. If you see someone with even fair intelligence and a burning passion for what they do, they will almost undoubtedly find success.

Write Everything Down

Some of the most successful people make lists of all kinds. These can vary from lists of people to call, ideas, and/or companies to set up. Furthermore, you can create lists of topics to blog about, tweets to send, and even about upcoming plans. It’s important to write down every single idea you have, no matter how big or small, and then to challenge yourself to follow through. In doing so, you’ll be able to set financial priorities and reach your goals.

It’s Not All Luck

It’s easy to chalk up your success to being in the right place at the right time, but at the end of the day, no legitimate achievement can come without hard work. At times, success can be a lousy teacher; it seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. Don’t ever stop hustling or learning. As logic tells us, past success doesn’t ensure future success. Even the smartest and most talented people can lose.

Be Disciplined

The first step to getting rich requires a tremendous amount of discipline. Bankruptcy lawyers in Scottsdale note that if you really want to be rich, you need to find that discipline. If you’re looking to make money, you always need cash available. You aren’t saving for retirement. You are saving for the moment you need cash. Buy and hold is a relic. Ultimately, the first step to becoming rich is being a smart shopper and following through on that.

Find Online Resources

It is wise to check for discounts before you make a purchase. Websites like couponcabin.com and apps like Pic2Shop can help save you a lot of money. Furthermore, don’t forget to always check sites that give you cash back for your purchases, like ebates.com.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Why Waiting to File for Bankruptcy Can Hurt You

Filing for bankruptcy is generally viewed as an admission of personal and financial failure. While many individuals try hard to avoid it, they end up paying the price for waiting.

Ultimately, the longer people wait to file bankruptcy, the more they struggle. By the time these people declare bankruptcy, their well-being and financial life are negatively impacted, undermining the fresh start the bankruptcy legal tool provides them.

Bankruptcy lawyers in Scottsdale explain the following reasons as to why waiting to file bankruptcy can be so damaging in addition to precisely when you should consider filing.

Why waiting is draining

The time frame prior to a person filing for bankruptcy is sometimes referred to as the financial “sweatbox.” This is the period when people are facing legitimate asset depletion, debt collection lawsuits, and avoiding necessities like food to avoid filing bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, most people sweat it out for years before truly coming to terms with their debt. The misery of the sweatbox is an increasingly common American experience.

“Long strugglers” are denoted as those who endure the sweatbox for two years or longer. Shockingly, around 30% of people wait five years or longer to file for bankruptcy.

It’s imperative to know that the longer people linger in the sweatbox, the worst their overall financial situation becomes. For example:

  • Long strugglers have 50% of the median assets compared with other debtors, or those who didn’t wait two or more years to file bankruptcy.
  • The median debt-to-income ratio of long strugglers is over 40% higher than other debtors.
  • Around half of long strugglers face debt collection lawsuits.

The stigma against filing and dedication to paying debts are part of what keep people from filing bankruptcy. Having said that, bankruptcy law gives the honest but unfortunate debtor a fresh and new start. This is important to understand.

When to consider bankruptcy

Many people who are in danger of filing for bankruptcy note that they wish they had reached out for help sooner. You should reach out to a credit counseling agency as soon as you begin to feel stress.

Let’s take a look at some factors that can help you determine if bankruptcy is right for you:

  • Your debts are more than 40% of your income
  • You’re using debt to pay for other debts
  • Your debts are ones that could be wiped out in bankruptcy
  • You’re forgoing core life essentials

As you might know, the two most common forms of consumer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Which is best for you depends on your specific financial situation. Speak with a bankruptcy lawyer and nonprofit credit counselor if you are considering filing. If you do file for bankruptcy, however, it is certainly not the end of your financial life. To the contrary, it’s a way to generate a fresh start.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

10 Well-Known Causes of Bankruptcy

While there are a variety of reasons as to why people end up filing for bankruptcy, there are certainly some leading causes. Based on recent studies, bankruptcy lawyers in Scottsdale break down the top 10 leading reasons. As you’ll see, the percentages represent the proportionate weight as to why an individual ultimately files for bankruptcy. Let’s take a look at them.

Medical Expenses (42%)

According to research, 42% of all personal bankruptcies are a result of complicated medical expenses. Interestingly enough, the studies also show us that 78% of those who filed had health insurance.

Job Loss (22%)

There are millions upon millions of Americans that are unemployed. As a result, this makes them much more likely to file for bankruptcy. Those who are unemployed often pay for health insurance out-of-pocket.

Unmonitored Spending (15%)

Bankruptcy can often come as a result of credit card bills, hefty mortgages, and expensive car payments. Uncontrolled spending habits can put Americans on the unfortunate path to filing.

Divorce (8%)

Legal fees, child support, and alimony can result in heightened financial stress. Unfortunately, nearly one out of every two marriages fail in America.

Unexpected Disaster (7%)

Unanticipated disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes can be very hard to prepare for. Without insurance, this can possibly result in bankruptcy.

Avoiding Foreclosure (1.5%)

Someone can spend nearly a lifetime preparing to buy a home. In order to avoid foreclosure, some Americans will file for bankruptcy to reorganize debt in an effort to save their homes.

Poor Financial Planning (1.5%)

In the absence of a logical financial plan, bankruptcy can always occur. You should always build up your cash savings for out of the blue expenses that could lead to debt.

Preventing Loss of Utilities (1%)

With a foreclosure, you also run the risk of losing utilities. Keeping your lights and heat on too often can have severe financial consequences.

Student Loans (1%)

Fortunately, it may be possible to consolidate student loans with a bankruptcy.  Speak to your bankruptcy lawyer about your options, if any.

Preventing Repossession (1%)

If a creditor repossessed your car, bankruptcy may put you in a position to have your vehicle returned, in addition to any other personal property that may have been repossessed.

In order to avoid bankruptcy, consider steering clear of the aforementioned leading causes. Reading often and talking to people in order to education yourself will help you in the long run. Doing a few things right and maintaining those habits will put you a great place financially and will help you see through your monetary goals.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

When to File For Bankruptcy

When it comes to filing for bankruptcy, timing is everything. While everybody’s situation is different, divorce lawyers in Scottsdale suggest paying attention to the following four signs, which may mean that it’s the right time to file for bankruptcy.

Behind on Bills

Sure, life is certainly unpredictable and, generally speaking, you may not be prepared for a financial crisis. If you are in a tough position and know you won’t be able to pay your bills on time each month, (or have already fallen behind), filing for bankruptcy can really help you get back to where you need to be. For example, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is deemed a liquidation bankruptcy that is structured to immediately eliminate your debts. Throughout this process, your Trustee will sell your property and use the funds to compensate your creditors. Unless otherwise
specified by you, your automobile can also be included in the sale of your property.

You’re in Debt Through a Collection Agency

If you have debt that’s been building up, there is a chance you may end up being sued if you continue to ignore debt collectors. Filing for bankruptcy can really help if you think you may end up in this position. Filing for bankruptcy puts what’s known as an “automatic stay” against debt collectors and can put an end to any additional collection actions.

Your Wages Are Garnished

In order to pay down a debt, creditors often take extra action to ensure the amount owed is legitimately paid. In doing so, collection agencies obtain a court order to garnish your wages. As soon as this happens, your employer is bound by law to hold back a specified amount from each paycheck, which ultimately goes towards paying down the debt that you owe. Similar to being sued, the automatic stay after filing for bankruptcy can block a company from further garnishing your wages.

You Might Lose Your House or Car

Let’s say you’re behind on payments for your house or car. Bankruptcy might be an effective way to stop repossession or even foreclosure (even if it’s temporarily). Furthermore, this will give you enough time to catch up on payments. Nonetheless, you’ll always want to speak with your lender regarding various options before you take an initial step.

A great deal of thought should go into the decision to file for bankruptcy. As always, you should seek advice from an attorney if this is something you are considering. The sooner you consult a lawyer, the better, do not wait until the last minute when all of your money is gone and your debts are at their peak levels.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

4 Tips to Managing Your Money During a Divorce

It’s never fun, but sometimes (and unfortunately) it’s necessary.

Going through a divorce is as tough on your finances as it is on your heart. Having said that, while a divorce will certainly alter your marital status, it really doesn’t have to change who you are as a person.

Divorce lawyers in Scottsdale recommend the following four tips to managing your money during a divorce. These tips will help you push your emotions aside and grasp a stronger hold on your life.

Access Your Credit Reports

Once every year, you are able to pull a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The agencies will show each and every credit account that is in your name, regardless of whether it is individually or jointly owned. If your spouse (or ex-spouse) doesn’t pay his/her bills on time, it can negatively impact your credit score. By watching your credit, you are also watching your spouse in many ways.

Work With Your Ex

You should really continue to utilize your individual or jointly-owned accounts as normal. If you come to a point and realize that you don’t have the proper funds to hire a divorce attorney and handle any other relevant expenses, you should come to a mutual decision with your spouse about spending a conservative and equal amount to get what you want. In the case of a relationship that isn’t amicable, consider going through your attorney for legal separation. This would specify how you both should be using your money until the divorce is complete.

Remember Health Insurance

If you were on your spouse’s insurance policy, paying for an entirely new individual policy could cost you a significant amount of money. You really want to take time to examine your insurance policy before your divorce is finalized. Open enrollment for health insurance begins at the end of the year. A change in health insurance resulting from a divorce is considered to be a “qualifying life event.” Thus, you’ll likely be eligible for a plan under a Special Enrollment Period regardless of your offical divorce decree date.

Establish a Financial Plan

Living on less income is certainly no easy task. In order to be financially stable, you need to learn the art of budgeting. You’ll need to consider things like college tuition, sports and activities, child care, lessons, retirement, transportation, taxes, and rent/mortgage payments.

Here’s another thought: if your divorce settlement results in money from property sales, retirement account rollovers, or the sale of other assets, consider using a financial planner to help you create a budget and to properly navigate the taxable implications of such transactions.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What to Do When You are Being Sued for Arizona Credit Card Debt

If a credit card owner has incurred considerable amounts of unpaid bills, the bank or the card agency has the right to sue the cardholder also known as the ‘debtor’. If you are being sued for credit card debt in Arizona, you will first be served a “summons” for a state or federal court case. When you receive the initial notification for summons, the important thing is not to panic. Credit card debt lawsuits go through several phases and there are plenty of ways you can defend yourself effectively with the right attorney. Breathe deeply and relax.

Immediate Action Following Summons

When you have received a summons to court over a credit card debt lawsuit, don’t delay taking action. Most of all, do not ignore the summons. If you do, the suing party (the bank most likely) can obtain a judgment against you in your absence. By ignoring the case, you will not be able to argue your case in front of a judge. The judgment against you could allow the creditor to infiltrate your wages or savings to use as payment towards the credit card debt. Therefore, don’t wait to respond to the summons.  Even if you owe all of the money, you should respond in writing to the court.

If you were served the summons within the state of Arizona, you will be given 20 days to respond. If the summons were served when you were out of state, then you get 30 days to respond. Hire a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale during this time to file your case without missing the deadline.

How to Respond to Summons

Once you have an attorney, he or she will guide you through the process of responding to the summons appropriately. There’s a misunderstanding that responding to the summons means showing up in court on the given date. In fact, Arizona law requires defendants in debt cases to file a written response. You must write to the court before the deadline to avoid a default judgment as described above.

How Long will the Case Go On?

This depends on where the lawsuit is filed. In Arizona, there are two types of courts that handle debt-related lawsuits: the Justice Court and the Superior Court. Lawsuits for disputed amounts less than $10,000 go to the Justice Court while anything more than this will be taken to the Superior Court.

Justice Court is a small claims court where the lawsuits tend to move faster. Due to this reason, some creditors file lawsuits stating a limit of $10,000 but without including the interest and other costs. Lawsuits filed in the Superior Court can be complex so trials take longer to conclude. It’s worthwhile to check whether the creditor has filed the case in the right court as part of your defense strategy.

Formulating the Defense Strategy

There are several ways an experienced defense attorney can approach a debt collection lawsuit. Even if the case goes to trial, your lawyer can negotiate with the creditor for a debt settlement. The settlement may involve trying to reduce the total amount owed. If the debt is overwhelming, you might have to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which case a court may discharge credit card debt. This is not the ideal scenario for a creditor, so the settlement is always an option.

A skilled attorney would also consider more technical aspects of the lawsuit that may offer you relief. For example, an attorney may check whether the summons for the trial was properly served. Other aspects, such as double-checking documentation the creditor provides, will be part of the defense strategy aimed at getting you the best outcome.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Reasons for Bankruptcy and How to Avoid Them

When it comes to bankruptcy, there is both good news and bad news. In 2017, bankruptcy filings fell by 3%. Good news, right?

Having said that, there were still over 770,000 bankruptcy filings. This is something upon which we must improve.

In doing so, it’s important to examine the fundamental reasons why people end up in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy lawyers in Scottsdale have assembled the following five reasons in addition to how to avoid ending up in this dismal situation.

#1 – Job Loss

Although we are currently in a period of low unemployment, it was recently very high not too long ago. If you don’t plan correctly and fail to have a financial safe hold in place with sufficient funds, you can easily end up in bankruptcy. Things you’d have to consider in an emergency fund include food, rent, transportation, insurance, child-related expenses, and various asset expenses. Furthermore, you always want to prepare for medical expenses just to be safe.

In terms of your job, focus on being a productive employee with an amicable attitude. In addition, it’s always good to make yourself more marketable over time with additional certifications and skills.

#2 – Decreasing Income

Simply put, with less money and cash flow, the greater the chances are that you’ll end up bankrupt. While you may not be completely unemployed, a change in roles or a reduction in hours can really make it hard to stay afloat.

While this may be hard to avoid, you should prepare for this in the same way that you’d prepare for losing your job. Another option might be to pursue side gigs to augment your income.

#3 – Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt can really be a slippery slope, and if you let it get out of control, you’ll be in trouble quicker than you think. While it may be tempting to simply make the minimum monthly payments, you’ll actually just be dragging things out and losing money in interest over time.

There is a simple solution here – only purchase what you can afford and pay off your credit card every month.

#4 – Medical Expenses

It’s no surprise that one of the leading causes of bankruptcy is, in fact, medical expenses. We understand that medical treatment generally is not optional and also is quite expensive.

To avoid getting into debt because of medical expenses, focus on living a healthy life through clean eating, exercising regularly, and going for annual physician screenings.

#5 – Divorce

Divorce is one of the last major causes of bankruptcy. Outside of legal fees, which can be tremendously expensive, financial assets are not always allocated equally. If and when they are, you must consider the idea of living alone versus living with a spouse. A financial system that supported two people may not successfully support one person.

It’s important to work hard to keep your marriage healthy and strong. This can be achieved through active communication, romantic gestures, and honesty.

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