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Bon-Ton seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Bon-Ton Stores recently decided that its dire financial situation required making a drastic move. For this reason, the business, which is the parent company of multiple department store chains, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Any company in Massachusetts that is struggling to stay afloat financially may likewise be able to take advantage of this type of bankruptcy protection.

Bon-Ton has several brands, including Younkers, Elder-Beerman, Boston Store and Carson's. Prior to the bankruptcy filing, the company announced that it was planning to shut down nearly 50 of its whopping 260 stores, so the bankruptcy filing may come as no surprise. The company is a victim of the digital age -- which has snuffed out the lives of many retail companies -- as well as heavy debt.

Prenuptial agreements may especially help small business owners

Aside from having a baby, getting married is among the most exciting events two people can experience. However, before walking down the aisle, couples may benefit from creating and signing prenuptial agreements. This is particularly true for those who are small business owners in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

A business that is developed during the course of a marriage is legally considered marital property. In other words, both spouses own the business. In the same way, if a spouse had his or her own business before the marriage but developed this business during the marital union, any appreciation that takes place in the business's value is deemed marital property.

Gathering info early on may make divorce less stressful

Dissolving a marriage can be overwhelming, often taking a financial and an emotional toll on those going through the process. Part of the reason for this is that divorce is not predictable. However, information gathering may help with lessening the stress that accompanies the divorce process in Massachusetts.

The most critical move to make when embarking on the divorce process is to gain a detailed understanding of one's finances. This means obtaining specific information prior to initiating a divorce filing. Information on all assets owned and debts owed by both spouses, for example, is critical. Documents that may come in handy include those related to bank accounts, real estate, motor vehicles, bonds, stocks, brokerage accounts and retirement accounts.

Sears may be drawing closer to filing for business bankruptcy

Many consumers in Massachusetts have likely shopped at Sears stores at least once over the years. However, industry experts say that this may soon come to an end. Sears may have no choice but to file for business bankruptcy in the near future.

Sears was recently downgraded by Fitch, a major credit rating agency, after the retailer announced that it was planning to exchange some tranches of its debt. S&P Global also downgraded the company, considering its debt restructuring announcement to be distressed since lenders may end up receiving less than what they were originally promised. This is a stark contrast from Sears's position years ago after being founded back in 1886.

Spousal support, property division major divorce considerations

Being served divorce papers in Massachusetts can spark feelings of shock followed by panic. Then, one may feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to sort out issues such as spousal support and property division with a future ex-spouse. However, a couple of tips may help with navigating the divorce process in Massachusetts.

First, if both spouses are working and earn similar incomes, or if the amount in liquid assets is substantial, they may not necessarily be stressed about covering their monthly bills. However, in many situations, one spouse earns a lot less than the other one does. In fact, one of the spouses may not be earning anything if he or she decided to stay home with the children.

Oil refinery owner files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

An energy solutions company in another state recently decided that its monetary situation required it to take aggressive action. As a result, the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The oil refinery it owns supplies over 25 percent of the crude oil refining capacity on the East Coast of the United States, which includes the state of Massachusetts.

According to company officials, the bankruptcy-related restructuring would allow the company to become a brand-new company but with its same stakeholders. The company said a sale should erase between $300 million and $350 million worth of compliance costs, with chief lenders already providing support for the company's plan. One such cost is the renewable identification numbers that the company had to purchase according to the federal government.

Dividing artwork can be tricky during divorce process

During the dissolution of a marriage in Massachusetts, emotions can run high even in cases that start out relatively amicable. This is especially the case when a couple has high-value assets they need to divide. One type of asset that can cause conflict during the divorce process due to its high value is artwork. The values of artwork have particularly skyrocketed recently, and in some cases, the works of art are more highly valued than the houses holding them.

When it comes to dividing artwork worth millions or billions, the process is similar to dividing kitchen appliances, from a legal standpoint. The two spouses have the option of trying to figure out on their own how to divide the artwork in a manner that pleases them both. They can do this through a process such as informal negotiations or mediation.

Commercial real estate zoning impacts leasing decisions

Finding a new property to lease in Massachusetts may be a business owner's top goal in 2018. However, choosing commercial real estate properties can be a challenge due to the many factors that are important to consider. One of these factors involves checking zoning ordinances to see what types of activities are permitted at certain properties.

Being aware of prior non-conforming uses at properties is paramount. If non-conformance happens as a result of a brand-new zoning law, the current tenant may continue the property's previous use. But once he or she leaves the premises, a new tenant cannot continue with the non-conformance.

Hobbico files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, plans to lay off workers

A hobby product distributor, Hobbico, recently claimed that it has been struggling financially. As a result, it decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on a recent Wednesday. The move may lead to more than 330 layoffs at its facility in another state beginning in the month of April. However, filing for bankruptcy can be a helpful way for companies in Massachusetts and elsewhere to deal effectively with their financial issues.

In Hobbico's case, officials said they intend to sell the business. However, the company will remain in operation during the bankruptcy process. The distributor said it took on an exorbitant amount of debt and, unfortunately, has been unable to restructure successfully. On top of that, the company's industry has become increasingly competitive.

Use of Bitcoin to hide money may increase during divorce

Navigating the dissolution of a marriage in Massachusetts can be tricky no matter how much or little money or other assets a couple has. After all, the act of untangling two financially intertwined lives can be equally painful from one couple to the next. In light of this, in some divorce situations, one of the spouses may consider using Bitcoin or other digital currencies to hide his or her money.

Bitcoin is known to offer privacy when compared with traditional currencies. For this reason, some spouses going through divorce may consider using it to conceal their assets from their future exes. This is especially true in divorce situations where high-value assets are at stake.

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