The Ins and Outs of Military Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has the ability to affect everyone of any background, and military members are no exception. Keep reading to find out how military personnel go through the bankruptcy process, and how the process differs for them compared to civilians.

What Is Bankruptcy?

First, it is important to discuss exactly what bankruptcy is. We hear the term tossed around so often in the media, but many of us don’t know what it actually is. Bankruptcy is the process by which individuals or companies overwhelmed with debt can seek relief from their financial obligations. There are many types of bankruptcy offered in the United States, but the most common are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Most individuals elect to go through the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy process. Through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, assets are liquidated, though the individual is allowed to hold on to certain assets. This is the simplest and fastest route, so those looking to rebuild their financial security quick might want to go through with this option.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy differs from Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this Chapter, those who owe money are allowed to hold onto their assets but must agree to a plan to a debt repayment plan. This method of bankruptcy takes longer and is a bit more complicated than Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but is ideal for those who want to hold onto their assets and want to avoid the liquidation process.

Military Bankruptcy and the Means Requirement

Those who served in our military are able to file for bankruptcy just like anyone else. There are benefits military members can take advantage of during the bankruptcy process:

  • Exemption from the Means Test. Disabled military service members are exempt from the Means test required under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The Means test was designed to check that those who had enough income to pay off their debts were taking advantage of the system, but disabled military veterans who incurred debt on active duty are not subject to this test.
  • Reserve and National Guard Exemption. Those in the reserves or the National Guard who are called to active duty and exempt from the means test for 540 days after their service ends. The veteran in question has to have served for at least 90 days after September 11th, 2001.

Bankruptcy and Your Security Clearance

Bankruptcy, however, may affect your security clearance. While filing for bankruptcy does not automatically affect it, the reason for bankruptcy, your performance, and relationships with co-workers may change your security clearance. Make sure to check that your security clearance will not be hurt before making the choice to file for bankruptcy.

Going through the Bankruptcy Process

Fortunately, there are a variety of attorneys like the Central Texas Bankruptcy Attorney that can help you navigate the bankruptcy process as an active military member or a veteran. An attorney can answer any questions you have regarding initiating the process, any possible changes to your security clearance, and means test exemptions.

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What is Product Liability?

When we make a purchase, we do so in the hopes that the product we are paying for will live up to its expectations. There’s a certain amount of trust between a buyer and a seller built upon the functionality of the product. Every store has its own refund and/or exchange policy in place to make amends in case of a disappointed customer. Sometimes clothes do not fit right, or the books are the wrong edition. In either of these cases, most stores have a way to help the consumer out. But, the customer is not in any danger when it comes to one of these mistakes. When a product malfunctions or is not up to code, it can have dire consequences on the person who made the purchase. A faulty toy can pose a choking hazard for a small child, and faulty airbags can deploy and eject shrapnel out into a car if there is an accident. When this happens, does the customer have any way of seeking damages after the purchase was made?

Sometimes, the item will have a warranty. Most cars or other major purchases have a system where the company that created the product will replace or fix certain issues within a given window of time. Depending on the issue, though, the company is obligated to fix the problem regardless of when it occurred. If enough issues arise, the product may be recalled and the customer can receive a refund for the product. Unfortunately, a lot of these recalls happen when it’s too late.

Defective products do a lot more than cause an inconvenience. In fact, inconvenience is sort of the best-case scenario when a product malfunctions. Other times, faulty products lead to injuries, or worse, death. If death or injury does occur, one may sue on behalf of themselves or their loved one. Some products come with inherent dangers. No one is going to argue that a knife can cut someone. But, if the knife has a shoddy handle or is designed in such a way that one is has a higher risk of getting cut, the manufacturer is liable for any damages that occur. As long as the consumer was using the product for its intended purpose, they are potentially the victim of a product defect.

Many companies attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility by warning the general population of obvious dangers. The real danger occurs when they choose not to warn about dangers that are not quite as obvious to the consumer. A failure-to-warn can create massive problems for an unsuspecting population. Hammack Law Firm is an example of a firm that defends consumers against faulty products. When a product does cause grievous injury to a consumer that the consumer did not receive an adequate warning for, law firms can sue on behalf of the consumer to seek damages for medical expenses and other lost wages.

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How I get my kids to the dentist

When my first child was in elementary school, I dreaded dentist visits just as much as she did. That’s because she would always through a fit whenever we had to go for her checkup. I would get so embarrassed when she didn’t cooperate with the dentist too. As most confused parents do nowadays, I turned to the internet for some advice on how to get my kids to like the dentist, or at least tolerate it. While looking for some tips I stumbled across the website of Babylon Dental Care in Patchogue. Their website has lots of helpful information on proper dental hygiene practices at home as well as a complete list of the services they offer.

The first big thing you can do to help your child enjoy the dentist is to start young and find a home for them. Children are too young to understand why they need to see a dentist. They’re naturally going to be uncomfortable with sitting in an unfamiliar place, having a stranger poke around in their mouth. The best way to make the dentist more comfortable is to make it familiar. Find a dentist that you will be able to visit for the years to come, and start taking them as early as you can. Some dentists recommend visiting the office at the age of one when the first tooth becomes visible.

The next tip is to always keep things as simple as possible. When you are talking to your child about a checkup at the dentist, try to leave out any details that may cause anxiety or stress. It is important to also not give your child false hope. If you say things like “everything will be fine” or “it’s just this once” and then your child ends up needing to undergo treatment, your child may lose trust in the dentist and you as well.

Watch your words when you’re talking about the dentist. Avoid using the words shot, pain, or hurt. Instead, let the dentist introduce uncomfortable experiences on their own terms. You can make it fun by telling your child that the dentist is looking for sugar bugs.

Never try to relate your experience at the dentist to that of your kids. Children are more emotionally aware than we realize sometimes. They can sense your own anxieties about visiting the dentist, and they’ll have the same anxieties during their visit. Telling stories of your root canals and extractions will also trigger lots of unnecessary fear, as they likely won’t need to have those procedures done at their age. Additionally, the sterile environment of an adult  dentist’s office is much different than many pediatric offices. Some offices have video games, bright decor, and healthy snacks available. This creates an enjoyable atmosphere, and exposing your child to an adult office will only foster unpleasant feelings towards the dentist.

The last tip is to avoid bribing. If you offer rewards for good behavior at the dentist, this tends to increase their apprehension about the place. It causes many children to think “what’s so bad about the dentist that I would cry or act up?”

 

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Making New Friends from Foreign Countries

Having been all over the continental United States, I can assure you that there is just no place like Texas. Everything’s bigger in Texas, right? It’s true. The people are friendlier, happier, and it’s easy to feel welcome amongst total strangers. You have to be careful where you eat though; the meal portions are also bigger in Texas than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

I met someone while I was out last night, and they were from Northern Ireland, of all places. I had so many questions to ask, but I will admit, I was mostly inspired to hear them speak because of their foreign accent. They said they were spending a week in Texas, and that they came here for a friend’s wedding. I wish I had friends getting married overseas! Maybe one day, but for now, I’ll enjoy the opportunity to save some cash.

We started talking about life in Northern Ireland, and how it tends to be mostly cloudy. Even though they were visiting in the middle of winter, it was a beautiful, warm evening. It’s hard to believe we were both speaking English at times, but for the most part, I could understand everything they were saying. We shared stories of what it was like growing up in our own countries, and overall it was an enjoyable discussion. I can put on a southern drawl if I want to, but I would trade my Texas slang in a heartbeat to be able to speak with an Irish accent like the one they had. I didn’t realize how slowly Texans speak until it was mentioned in our conversation. I couldn’t help but laugh after that.

It was their first time in the state of Texas. As a native born Texan, I was eager to share what I could about the culture and recommend the best places to visit. If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know that the barbeque and the hospitality are two of our most celebrated features. Since they already had tried the barbeque, I decided to share a little generosity. I bought the next round of drinks and asked them what they thought was the craziest part about Texas.

I should have expected it, but I was caught off guard. Apparently, my new friend came to Texas expecting to see lots of wild west saloons, horseback riders with lassos, and guns on everyone’s hips. There’s plenty of that stuff around the state, but it’s not something you see in the middle of the city. It sounded like they were prepared to visit a state full of outlaws with criminal defense lawyers on speed-dial. Thankfully, there were no shootouts or rattlesnakes, and we were able to enjoy the evening in peace.

I’ll have to visit Northern Ireland sometime soon. If the people there are anything like my new friend, I’m sure it would be a lot of fun. Besides, I heard that the pubs across the pond are a great place to hang out, enjoy some food, and make new friends. All I need now is a passport and a plane ticket.

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Protecting Yourself From Lawsuits

It may sound absurd, but a scraped knee really can lead to a lawsuit. Americans are notoriously touchy about issues of private property and personal responsibility. They also have a quick trigger finger when it comes to lawsuits. All that can mean that the littlest incident can lead to a massive suit.

Consider the famous example of the woman who spilled coffee on herself an blamed McDonald’s. The law was set up in such a way that she was able to successfully claim McDonald’s was a fault because the coffee was hotter than it should have been, and she had not been properly warned about that fact.

The fact that she had acted foolishly in keeping coffee between her legs was not an important enough fact to save McDonald’s.

Similarly, a neighborhood child who falls off his or her bike and skins their knee on your property could, in fact, cry to Mommy and Daddy and get them to sue you. And you would be at fault as well if you had not taken care to keep the sidewalks clear of items that might lead to that fall.

While a skinned knee would probably get dismissed from court, more serious accidents (say if the kid required surgery for some injury) may not be.

This all goes to say, everyone needs to be careful and know exactly where the law leaves them exposed. How many of us have left objects out on the sidewalk without thinking? A garden hose, perhaps a lawn gnome we intend to move, it could be anything. How many of us leave the bumper of our cars trailing out in the sidewalk area? How many of us are slow to clear the snow after it falls, even after our neighbors got up early and did so?

All those situations could leave us exposed to lawsuits if someone hurt themselves on our patch of cement.

While that may seem unlikely, the fact is it happens every day. Should our neighbors be as touchy and trigger-happy about lawsuits as some people in this country, we could be in for massive legal bills and perhaps an equally massive settlement.

The only way to avoid these issues is to be particularly quick to take care of these issues. Don’t sleep in, go clear the snow. Don’t leave the lawn gnome out there. Repark your car. Otherwise, go live out in the country where you have no neighbors or in the city where the sidewalks are maintained by the city.

There are just no other options. And this is by no means the limit of where you may be liable for accidents others have. There is any number of ways you could find yourself in legal trouble, even when you weren’t present.

It’s important to read up on the potential personal injuries others can sustain so as to protect yourself from any future potential lawsuits. That’s just the country we live in these days.

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