Beebe and O'Neil

Norwich Law Blog

How recent developments in real estate may affect investments

Investing in Connecticut real estate is a great way to make money as a landlord or through flipping houses. However, recent developments in the market may threaten this. As real estate prices continue to climb, buyers are stepping back from the market. High interest rates further put these homes out of a buyer’s reach. For people who may buy cash via a short sale, this may be a great time to beat the competition. For everyone else, the situation may be more unfavorable.

CNN reports that new home construction has slowed, which results in less new homes hitting the market. One of the reasons for this is the crackdown on immigration. Immigrant laborers often took on much of the residential construction work and with that labor pool potentially shrinking, less people are taking on the challenge of building a home from the ground up.

How can I secure a pardon in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, people with previous convictions may be eligible for a pardon. Also known as an expungement, this process removes crimes from your record, which is helpful when applying for jobs or professional licenses. The Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles explains what you should do when pursuing a pardon. 

People have two options in the state when it comes a pardon. While a Certificate of Employability does not actually expunge your record, it does provide an assurance that the holder is employable despite his or her criminal background. As a result, it's not lawful to withhold employment based on the applicant's criminal history alone. An Absolute Pardon erases a criminal record so that it's not discoverable via background checks. With a felony conviction, you must wait at least five years after your most recent conviction. With misdemeanors, you must wait at least three years before applying for a pardon. You must also not have any charges or cases pending when you apply. 

Take these steps as your divorce comes to a close

Even if you're confident that divorce is the answer to all your marital problems, it doesn't necessarily mean it will be easy. There are many challenges along the way, as well as an adjustment period after your marriage is in the past.

There are a variety of steps you can take to stabilize your situation after the divorce process comes to a close. Here are five things you'll want to do:

  • Lean on your support system: From friends and family to coworkers, there are people who care about your situation and want to see you feel better. Lean on these people during this adjustment period, as it can go a long way in helping you realize just how good you have it.
  • Don't hide your emotions: You don't want to dwell on the past, but at the same time you shouldn't hide your emotions. It's okay to cry. It's okay to feel sad. It's even okay to revisit your marriage and what went wrong.
  • Don't isolate yourself: This goes along with leaning on your support system. It's easy to feel so down on yourself that you don't want to see anyone. However, if you fall into this funk, you may find it difficult to break free in the future.
  • Be patient: It may take several weeks or months for you to feel good about where things stand. Take each day as it comes, and never feel that you're not recovering as quickly as you should.
  • Take on a new hobby: Think about all the things you were unable to do when you were stuck in your marriage. From traveling to taking up a new sport, look for ways to stay active.

Can social media have an impact on my marriage?

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are meant to bring people closer together. When it comes to infidelity, social media has a way of driving married couples further apart, and may even result in divorce. In fact, some divorce attorneys claim that social media is a factor for many of the people who walk through their door. 

Newsweek spoke to one attorney who stated that many of the couples he works with either cite online infidelity as a primary cause of divorce or in the very least as a factor in why a couple has grown further apart. In many cases, these people make numerous small choices that eventually lead to the demise of a marriage. And while sites like Facebook aren't necessarily the cause of marital demise, they do make easier than ever for a person to carry on an affair, right in the comfort of their own home. 

The difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved

When shopping for a home in Connecticut, some buyers may hear that they need to be pre-qualified or pre-approved and think they are the same thing. However, according to Realtor.com, this is not the case at all. Being pre-qualified is actually an initial step before seeking pre-approval for a mortgage loan. Completing both processes will leave you in a better position to buy your next home.

To get pre-qualified, you approach a mortgage lender with certain financial information that generally explains your income, your assets, your credit and your debt. However, the information you provide is pretty basic and does not need to include documents that back up your claims. After you have provided this information, the lender will give you an estimate of the loan you can possibly afford.

Is your home safe from creditors in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

There are many factors about bankruptcy that leave people reticent to seek its protection. For example, worries about the asset liquidation process involved in Chapter 7 bankruptcy could inspire some people to avoid bankruptcy when they would most certainly benefit from the discharge of their unsecured debts.

While it is true that those who qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy do face the liquidation of certain assets as part of the process, that doesn't inherently mean you will lose ownership of your home. In fact, you can exempt some of the equity in your home from liquidation in bankruptcy.

How can I prevent my heirs from fighting?

An estate plan ensures your family is cared for after you're gone. However, estate plans can also be the source of stress between heirs when one perceives he or she has been slighted or not received a fair share of the estate. While you can't always prevent your heirs from fighting, AARP recommends the following steps so you can mitigate as much stress as possible. 

If you're extremely concerned about conflicts arising, consider giving all of your heirs an equal portion of your estate. Estate squabbles are not always about money issues, although money is definitely a factor. In some cases, providing one child a greater share can exacerbate old resentments, some of which may have materialized in childhood. Giving each heir an equal share of your assets will prevent them from claiming favorites while also showing how much you care for your family.

Is it possible to erase my criminal record?

Having a criminal record can make life harder in a number of ways. Some apartment complexes may not allow you to become a tenant, and some jobs will not want to hire you. However, it is possible that you may be able to have your criminal record expunged or kept from public view. It will depend on a number of factors, but if successful, you will not have to worry about a Connecticut employer knowing that you were once arrested and charged with a crime.

The Papillon Foundation explains that the state of Connecticut allows for both adult and juvenile records to be sealed, provided certain conditions are met. It is much easier for someone to seek erasure of a juvenile record if the case was never adjudicated, meaning that a guilty conviction was deferred in favor of an alternative action like community service. If a juvenile case is dismissed, the record will be automatically erased thirteen months after prosecutorial inaction has been entered.

Is recreational marijuana legal in Connecticut?

As a Connecticut resident, you may know that the state approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes in 2012. However, Connecticut has not yet joined other states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Although non-medical marijuana use is not yet legal in Connecticut, there are some adjustments to state laws that minimize penalties for marijuana possession.

According to the Connecticut General Assembly, it is no longer a crime for you to possess a small amount of marijuana, even without medical authorization. The threshold is half an ounce. As long as you are over 21 years old, you may simply face a fine for possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana for personal use. If you are under 21 years old, you may get an additional penalty in the form of a short suspension of your driver's license. Although Connecticut has decriminalized possession in this way, federal law still considers marijuana a Schedule 1 controlled substance, so you may face federal charges in some cases.

Breaking down the Chapter 7 means test

Once you make the decision to pursue a personal bankruptcy, the next task is determining which case you should file under. Many come to us here at Beebe & O'Neil wanting to file under Chapter 7 due to the advantage it offers of having debts discharged. Indeed, Chapter 7 is by far the most popular form of personal bankruptcy (both in Norwich and throughout the rest of the U.S.). Yet you might be shocked to discover that are not eligible to file for Chapter 7. That is because the federal government does not want people to abuse the protection that bankruptcy offers. 

Thus, a means test has been created to determine if you qualify to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7. Per the website for the Federal Judiciary, the first step is determining your current monthly income. If yours falls below the median for your particular demographic in Connecticut, you qualify. If it is above the median, then the means test is applied. 

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