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As a parent, the decision to file bankruptcy doesn't only affect you. You also have to weigh the potential impacts of your filing on your children. Your bankruptcy lawyer can provide you with advice about how the specific details of your case could affect your children, but there are some general guidelines you can keep in mind. Here is what you need to know.

Household Property

Things in your household are considered to be your property, even if your child uses them. Furniture in kids' rooms, kids' clothing, and kids' toys are all counted as your belongings in your bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will not be required to give up any of your property, so you don't have to worry about the things in your household that are used by your children. During a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, although your property could be sold to pay for your debt, in most cases, your children's items will not be taken, as they are seen as having little resale value.

Educational Funds

During bankruptcy, 529 funds may be protected, depending on the beneficiaries and when you make the deposits. If you make deposits into a 529 fund within the 365 days prior to filing, that money is not exempt. For deposits made between 365 and 720 days, up to $6,225 per account beneficiary is exempt. Money deposited before 720 days prior to filing is fully exempt, except in states that override this federal law. A bankruptcy filing will not interfere with your child's ability to apply for need-based student loans, but you may not be allowed to pay private school tuition under your bankruptcy agreement.

Children's Financial Accounts

Money in children's bank accounts is not touchable during a bankruptcy. However, if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your trustee will look for the deposit history of these accounts to see if you made suspicious transfers before filing to protect assets. If you did, these deposits may be taken.

At Cutler & Associates, Ltd., our bankruptcy attorneys in Schaumburg and across the Chicago area will help you protect your children from financial fallout from your bankruptcy by choosing the right filing type for your needs. Schedule a free case evaluation with a bankruptcy lawyer by calling (847) 961-4572.

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At Cutler & Associates, Ltd., our experienced team of bankruptcy attorneys is dedicated to helping each client find the right solution for his or her financial problems and to recover from the stress of facing overwhelming debt. With more than 30 years of combined legal experience, our team has the expertise to deliver results.

When you choose our legal team to confront your debt, you will be treated with respect and compassion at every stage of the process. We will help you consider all of your options and find the one that will allow you to rebuild your life and look towards a brighter future. Our legal counseling is customized and confidential. We also offer free case evaluations to help you determine if bankruptcy is the right answer for your financial issues.

Discover the freedom of facing your financial problems head-on by scheduling a case consultation at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. Our bankruptcy attorneys in Aurora are ready to take your call at (847) 961-4572.

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After your bankruptcy attorney has helped you find a solution for your current financial problems, designing a budget is a necessary step towards avoiding these issues in the future. With the Mint: Budget, Bills, Finance Android app, taking control of your money is easier than ever before.

This app allows you to track all of your spending in one place, so you can see where your money is going and how you can save. It also helps you manage your bills, so that late payments don't interfere with your efforts to rebuild your credit score.

At Cutler & Associates, Ltd., our bankruptcy attorneys in Aurora and Schaumburg are here to help you get a fresh start financially. Find out how we can help you overcome your debt and reclaim your future by calling (847) 961-4572.

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After bankruptcy, focusing on your budget and changing your spending habits can help to ensure that you enjoy better financial health for life. One major expense that many people can easily trim is the cost of groceries. With a few relatively painless tweaks to your shopping habits, you can cut your grocery bill dramatically so you can maintain the financial recovery that your bankruptcy attorney helped you achieve. Get your grocery spending under control with this advice.

Make Meal Planning a Habit

Planning your meals in advance helps you to shop for only the things you need and avoid spending money on things that you won't actually use. Build your shopping list around the things that you need to make your meals and stick to it, instead of going for spontaneous purchases. When you plan for your meals, not only will you save money on groceries, but you will also overcome the stress of deciding what is for dinner every night.

Shop for Sales

Coupons are obviously a good way of saving money on groceries, but you don't have to devote time to clipping to save money. Instead, shop for items that are on sale and stock up when you can take advantage of the discount. Don't limit yourself to sales on nonperishable items. If meat that you usually buy is on sale, buy in bulk and freeze what you don't eat for later use. Avoid buying items that you might not use simply because they are on sale, however. This habit could lead to wasted money.

Take Fewer Trips to the Store

The more often you go to the grocery store, the more likely you are to overspend on impulse purchases and things you won't use. Limit yourself to as few trips as possible. Meal planning will help to cut the number of trips you make. Once you get into the habit of going to the store less, your visit will become more efficient.

Don't live with the strain of overwhelming debt. The bankruptcy attorneys in Aurora at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. can help you get the fresh start you need. Schedule an appointment with a lawyer today by calling (847) 961-4572.

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Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the preferred type for individuals with lots of debt, but if you make more money than the median for your state, you may be required to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. One way to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to deduct allowed expenses from your income. Your bankruptcy lawyer may ask if you make ABLE contributions (under the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act). ABLE accounts are tax-free savings accounts specifically intended to support children or adults who are disabled.

The bankruptcy code was modified to allow ABLE contributions up to a certain amount ($14,000, as of 2015), to be deducted from one's income on the means test for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, the bankruptcy filer must be making the contributions in support of his or her child, stepchild, grandchild, or step-grandchild.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. will scour your financial records to ensure you get every deduction the law allows. Call us at (847) 961-4572 to set up a consult in Aurora or Oak Brook.

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Millennials have long struggled under the burden of negative stereotypes regarding their work ethic, motives, and world view. And as a result, many millennials have gone the extra mile to prove these stereotypes wrong. If this describes you, you might view bankruptcy as something that only older adults do when they are out of options, but this is really just another stereotype. There's nothing inherently wrong with filing for bankruptcy at a younger age—it just means you're committed to building a better financial future for yourself.

How to Find a Great Lawyer

You might be accustomed to taking a DIY approach to life to save money—from learning how to cook instead of eating out to doing your own oil changes. But law is one thing that isn't compatible with a DIY approach. Do look for a good lawyer to handle the paperwork, represent you in court, and give you personalized legal guidance. Lawyers usually handle multiple types of cases. Look for a law firm that exclusively handles bankruptcy cases. During your initial consult, the lawyer should review your financial information before offering any predictions or advice. He or she should also be willing to answer your questions and offer information about the bankruptcy process.

Why Your Residency Doesn't Matter

There's no rule that says you have to have your own apartment, house, or condo in order to be eligible for bankruptcy. In other words, your bankruptcy petition won't be rejected just because you live with your parents, grandparents, or roommates. After all, if you're trying to discharge your debts, it's because you've been having problems paying your bills. It's perfectly understandable for bankruptcy filers to live with others to share expenses.

What to Know About Dischargeable Debts

Bankruptcy isn't a "get out of jail free card" for your finances. Some debts are dischargeable, while others aren't. Talk to your lawyer about whether most or all of your debts will be discharged. Non-dischargeable debts typically include student loans and past due taxes, and dischargeable debts include credit card balances and medical bills.

At Cutler & Associates, Ltd., we understand that filing for bankruptcy isn't something you'd planned on doing in your 20s or 30s. But if bankruptcy can brighten your financial horizons, there's no reason why you should wait until you're older. Call us at (847) 961-4572, and set up an appointment to talk to one of our gifted bankruptcy lawyers in Schaumburg.

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It's not easy to get out from under a mountain of credit card debt. You might be tempted by an offer to transfer your credit card balance to a new card with a very low rate, but make sure you read the fine print before doing so. For many people, filing for bankruptcy can be a better option, as the low rate of the new credit card won't last long.

You can hear more about credit card balance transfers when you watch this interview with a finance expert. You'll learn that balance transfers can sometimes require high fees. Plus, many people who transfer balances to avoid high interest rates aren't able to pay off the balance before the introductory period expires. Once it is expired, the interest rate soars.

Credit card balance transfers: What you need to know - YouTube

Personalized bankruptcy guidance is available from the dedicated lawyers at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. Call our law firm in Schaumburg or Aurora at (847) 961-4572.

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Chapter 13 bankruptcy, often called wage earner's bankruptcy, requires a repayment plan. The repayment plan will last for three or five years, depending on your level of income. During this time, you'll pay a set amount to your creditors. If you complete the terms of your bankruptcy repayment plan, the remaining, unsecured debts will be discharged once it expires. Your attorney can help you understand the typical requirements of the Chapter 13 repayment plan, including how much you can expect to pay.

Bankruptcy-Related Costs

The costs related to filing for bankruptcy are not dischargeable. You'll be responsible for paying 100% of the court filing fees, attorney fees, and trustee commissions. Court filing fees are subject to change. As of 2016, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois charges a filing fee of $310 for Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

Priority Debts

Certain debts are considered priority debts, and they must be paid in full during your repayment plan. If you owe back child support or spousal support, these are priority debts. Nearly all tax debts are also priority debts, depending on the date on which they were accrued. You're also responsible for paying any contributions you owe to an employee benefit fund, and, up to a certain threshold, any salaries, wages, or commissions owed to employees.

Secured Debts

Secured debts are those with collateral attached, such as a mortgage or car loan. Assuming you wish to retain ownership of the property, you must pay 100% of the amount of arrears on the loan. If you have any debt secured by a tax lien, you must pay that in full.

Unsecured Debts

Unsecured debts include credit card balances and past due medical bills. The amount you might pay depends on your specific situation—it may be anywhere from zero to 100%. Your lawyer will evaluate your finances to determine how much you might pay.

Your stable financial future is our mission here at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. We are a bankruptcy law firm with offices in Schaumburg, Homewood, and Skokie. Contact us at (847) 961-4572 to find out if Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be the solution you've been looking for.

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Debt is one of the worst things we can experience. Millions of Americans are in debt, and many don't know how to get out of it. Luckily bankruptcy could be the answer to your financial burden. Once you do file bankruptcy, you'll need to overcome it to re-establish your credit. The following infographic courtesy of Cutler & Associates can show you how to overcome bankruptcy in the 21st century.

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Filing for bankruptcy requires careful planning. Since every client's situation is a little different, your bankruptcy lawyer will need all available information and documentation about your finances, including documents pertaining to your checking, savings, and money market accounts. You may need to take certain steps to protect the money in your accounts before filing for bankruptcy.

Exemption Amounts

During a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee gains control over all nonexempt assets. These assets are liquidated to pay back the creditors. Any nonexempt funds in any of your bank accounts must be turned over to the trustee. However, since you're filing for Chapter 7 because you don't earn enough money to pay your debts, it's quite possible that all of your funds will be exempt. Exemption amounts vary from state to state—talk to your lawyer about what's allowed in your situation.

Bank Set Offs

Hypothetically, you might have a checking and savings account with Acme National Bank. You may also owe money to the bank, in the form of a car loan, personal loan, or credit card balance. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay goes into effect, and Acme National Bank cannot demand payments from you for these obligations. However, it can use a set off to claim the funds in your account as of the date of the bankruptcy filing. Those funds can be applied to your balance. If you need that money to pay court costs or living expenses during your bankruptcy, consider transferring the funds to a different financial institution.

Automatic Debits

Automatic debits are one of the many conveniences of modern life. In fact, people often sign up for automatic payments after bankruptcy to rebuild their credit scores by avoiding late payments. But before you file for bankruptcy, you'll need to cancel all of these automatic debits.

The law firm of Cutler & Associates, Ltd. in Aurora exclusively handles bankruptcy cases. We've made it our life's work to help Chicagoland residents get their finances back on track. Call us today for a consult at (847) 961-4572, and bring your questions with you.

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