October 21, 2019

History of Labor Day

Labor Day 2019

On September 2, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor celebrates and honors the greatest worker in the world – the American worker. Labor Day 2019 is the 125th anniversary of Labor Day being celebrated as a national holiday.

Labor Day: What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During 1887, four more states – Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founder of Labor Day

More than a century after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.

A Nationwide Holiday

Women's Auxiliary Typographical Union

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has changed in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics, and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor

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Budget Is Not A Four Letter Word

Guest Post: Budget Is Not A Four Letter Word by Jeremy Edmonds of Strength In Numbers

Ewww.  That word just stirs up images of restriction, control, and a lack of any fun at all.  Contrary to popular belief budget is not a four letter word.  That four letter word I mean? DIET.  Now diet itself has gotten a bad rap anyway as its literal meaning is “the kinds of food that a person eats”.  A budget is the same thing.  It’s just a plan for what your money is consuming.  Even if you want to say it’s restriction there is a key word to note… “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself”.  Again the same is true with a budget.  It can merely be a certain restriction you put on yourself.

Jeremy Edmonds of Strength In Numbers: Financial Coaching

Jeremy Edmonds of
Strength In Numbers: Financial Coaching

Before we go any further I wanted to break down this false perception.  You need to realize one thing:  A budget is merely a fence.  You made it.  You control it.  You can even disregard it and bust it down if you want… at your own risk.  Without one you will wander all over and even off your property.  Make no mistake you are in control.  The real rub comes when you try to live inside that fence.  That is the true challenge.  More on that at the end.

But right now let’s talk some practical steps for how to build that fence.

1. Know thy income

My buddy, Zig Ziglar, always said “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.”  Oh how right he is.  You need to know your income.  What day do you get paid?  How often?  Etc.  Here’s some basic guidelines:

  • Don’t budget overtime or bonuses. You can’t depend on them no matter how long you’ve been doing OT. Use this income as extra toward your goals not your monthly budget.
  • Know the dates of each pay day.
  • Know your pay frequency and don’t incorporate irregular pay.
  • Weekly? Budget on 4 checks a month. Use those 5 check months to throw the “extra” check at your larger goals.
  • Every 2 weeks? Budget on 2 checks a month. Use the 3 check months to throw the “extra” check at your larger goals.
  • Twice a month or monthly? You have the smoothest options. Count yourself blessed. You are in the minority.

2. Give every dollar a name.

Have $4K/mth in income?  Give every penny a name.  No cheating.  No rounding.  That “extra” in your account is a license to subconsciously spend it.  GIVE IT A NAME.  Some tips:

  • Don’t depend on the past. Past spending can be helpful to make an educated decision about the future but it is not a budget. It’s an expense report.
  • Be proactive not reactive. If you drive your car looking in the rear view the whole time you are going to crash. Think long term.
  • Brainstorm the random and irregular stuff. Get a property tax bill every year for your house and car? Split those numbers in 12 and budget monthly for them. Never know when you’re going to need a car repair? Better set aside some money regularly for it and stop depending on your credit card.
  • Be rigid. If you set the number (ex. $600/mth for Groceries) LIVE BY IT. Don’t try to work the numbers. Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul. This is 20% math and 80% behavior. Discipline is also not a four letter word.
  • Be flexible. Budgeting is a living organism. It’s going to take at least 3-4 months to get it working smoothly. You need time to see trends and even if you are the best budgeter in the whole wide world… gas prices will change! Roll with the punches.

3. Assign those dollars to your pay

So you’ve defined your income and your expenses.  Now you need to line them up.  Here’s some rules:

Give each pay day its date. Make sure you account for holidays.

  • Start assigning bills first. Ex. Get paid on the 1st and 15th and the cable bill is due on the 10th? Make sure to use your pay day on the 1st to cover that bill. Bill due dates lumpy? Call each company and see if you can get the due date adjusted to even them out through the month.
  • Make sure to give yourself a 2-3 day buffer with paying bills. Sometimes the difference between when you pay it and when it clears their system can be what causes you to overdraft.
  • Assign the rest of your income across each payday to the remaining budget categories that are not bills (ex. Car Gas).
  • DON’T BUDGET MORE INCOME THAN YOU HAVE. Remember, if your outgo exceeds your income your upkeep will be your downfall. If you have more expenses than you do income follow the tips in the next step…

4. Irregular income

So maybe you feel none of the above applies to you because you don’t have a steady paycheck.  Maybe you are 100% commission based or self-employed.  The above still applies to you with some tweaks.  Here’s some tips:

  • After step 2 rearrange the order of your budget (not the amounts) and prioritize it. Your top 4 should be what I call the 4 walls of your household: Food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. These are essentials. Shelter includes utilities but not non-essential ones (ex. cable). Food isn’t eating out, clothing isn’t Gucci, transportation has 4 wheels and an engine. Again, it’s priorities.
  • Draw a line where the income stops and everything below does not get funded or paid. Don’t pay your credit card and not your mortgage. If they don’t get paid this month so be it. You need to provide for your family first. Don’t give into their pressure and know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  • Save for the lean times. Having a budget allows you to know what your regular expenses are (including those irregular things you need to be putting aside for that we discussed in step 2). If those expenses are $4K/mth and you get a $6K income month save the other $2K for the month you only get $2K!
  1. Get help.

Now you’ve got some better clarity on how to construct a solid budget (the fence) but there’s still the most important part of the picture; doing it (learning to live inside the fence).  That is a whole other newsletter.   Here are a couple options to help you going forward:

  • www.mymoneywellness.com is a self-directed, self-paced program to help you build the fence and learn to live inside it. It’s $99/yr but you can get 10% off if you sign up with the code: JECTPP10.
  • Live in CT or know someone who does that could use help? Attend one of my 90 minute workshops being facilitated this fall for Adult Education in the following towns: Cheshire, Meriden, Wallingford, Hamden, and Milford.
  • I’m available for one-on-one coaching (or one-on-two if you are a married couple) and I give a free Skype consultation to everyone. Call me at 860-880-0232 or write me at info@strengthinnumberscoaching.com and I’ll be happy to serve you!

I hope you came away today with a new perspective on budgeting and some solid tips you can use to shore up your financial foundation.  Now go do something.  Take control.  You can do it!

GOOD NEWS: Updated Census Bureau Median Family Income Data

March 14, 2019

The Census Bureau’s Median Family Income Data accessible through the “Means Testing Information” page has been updated. The U.S. Trustee Program will apply the updated data to all cases filed on or after April 1, 2019.

SOURCE: https://www.justice.gov/ust

Alimony in Divorce & Bankruptcy


In Divorce:
“In determining whether alimony shall be awarded, and the duration and amount of the award, the court shall consider the evidence presented by each party and shall consider the length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, earning capacity, vocational skills, education, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties and the award, if any, which the court may make pursuant to section 46b-81, and, in the case of a parent to whom the custody of minor children has been awarded, the desirability and feasibility of such parent’s securing employment.” -Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-82

In Bankruptcy:
Alimony is treated as ordinary income or a necessary expense (depending if you are receiving it or paying it) in Bankruptcy. Back-owed alimony is not discharge-able in Bankruptcy.

If you have questions about Divorce or Bankruptcy, please contact me here for a free consultation.

Questions Frequently Asked About the [Connecticut] Lemon Law Program

My vehicle meets the definition of a “Lemon” and my case has been accepted for arbitration.  Do I automatically get a refund or replacement vehicle?

The law provides basic guidelines for remedies, but there is no fixed rule.  Each case is treated individually by the arbitration panel when determining an award.  If their decision is in your favor, the award will generally be:
  • A replacement with a comparable new car.
  • A refund of the contract price.  The arbitrator may or may not award a mileage deduction for the use that you have had of the vehicle.  The statutory mileage deduction is computed by multiplying the present mileage of the vehicle times the contract price and dividing that figure by 120,000. Refund or replacement awards may also include reimbursement for other damages or costs.  We advise you to have receipts.
  • If the arbitrator finds the defects in question do not substantially impair the use, safety or value of the vehicle, a “no action” decision is rendered.  Therefore, no further action to remedy the problem shall be required of the manufacturer.  Your recourse at this point would be to seek legal counsel for private litigation against the manufacturer.  You could only reapply for Lemon Law arbitration for a different defect, which meets the eligibility requirements.
 When can I expect an arbitration decision?
The Department tries to resolve disputes within 60 days from the date the completed form is received to the date a decision is reached.  Once the arbitrator renders the decision, it cannot be changed or modified by the arbitrator or the Department.
What if I’m dissatisfied with the arbitration decision?
In most cases, the decision of the arbitrator will be final.  You will not be able to appeal the decision to the court except under very limited circumstances.  Therefore, if you are considering taking legal action against the manufacturer of your automobile, you should consult with a private attorney before signing the Agreement to Arbitrate. The best way to find out how to appeal a decision is to consult with an attorney.
When can I expect the manufacturer to comply with an arbitration award?
The written decision will state the exact date for performance.  The arbitrator will make every effort to see that the problem is resolved at the earliest possible date.  The Department will contact you within ten (10) days after the performance date to determine if the manufacturer has complied with the arbitrator’s decision.  If the manufacturer has not complied with the award, the case is referred to the Office of the Attorney General.
What if I request arbitration, but the manufacturer and I resolve the problem on our own?
You are free to reach a settlement through your own efforts at any time before the arbitrator renders the decision.  If this happens, you must contact the Department with the specific terms of the decision settlement.  The information should include the following:
   1.   The date on which you accepted the manufacturer’s offer of a pre-hearing settlement.
   2.   The specific terms of the pre-hearing settlement:
–   Was there a Refund or Replacement or Repair or Other Remedy?
–   Who will pay for the difference in model/year upgrade?  How much?
–   Will there be a deduction for mileage?
–   Who is responsible for registering the new vehicle, including cost?
–   Who is responsible for the difference in sales tax?
–   If the settlement is a repair, what happens if the repair does not work?
–   What type of warranty will be given with the replacement or repair?
–   What monies is the consumer responsible for?
–   What monies is the manufacturer responsible for?
   3.   The date by which the terms of the decision settlement will occur.
Before you accept an agreement from the manufacturer make sure all costs are in writing. This will avoid any problems or “hidden costs” when the exchange takes place. The Department has no jurisdiction over a pre-decision settlement.
If we reach an agreement on our own but the manufacturer then does not meet the terms, what should I do?
Notify the Department of Consumer Protection, Lemon Law Office in writing, if the terms of your settlement are not met within a specified time frame.  At that point, the State arbitration process may resume and a new hearing date scheduled.  Keep in mind, the Lemon Law legislation does not cover settlements made between a consumer and manufacturer prior to a decision by the arbitrator.
Certified manufacturer’s programs
If your manufacturer has an arbitration program that has been certified by the Office of the Attorney General, you will be required to use that program before you can be eligible for the Lemon Law arbitration program.  As of this printing no third party dispute resolution program has been certified by the Office of the Attorney General.
If you are injured by a procedure of a certified Manufacturer’s program, you may file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General.  You may appeal to the state arbitrator for a new hearing.  The fees and procedures are the same as outlined earlier for arbitration hearings.
Your Right To Know:  posted notices in dealerships
If any manufacturer does not have an arbitration program certified by the Attorney General, then a conspicuous notice of the state-operated arbitration program must be prominently displayed in all car dealerships. Keep in mind, the Lemon Law Arbitration Program is designed for consumers and manufacturers, not dealerships.
REPOSTED FROM: http://www.ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=1646&Q=276158&PM=1

Nonadversarial Divorce (“Non ad”)

Nonadversarial Divorce is a simplified process by which eligible parties can obtain a divorce within 35 days without having to come to court and appear before a judge.

What are the benefits of a Nonadversarial Divorce?

  • You can obtain a divorce in days, as compared to the regular process, which takes at least 3 months
  • You don’t have to come to court
  • You can move on with your life more quickly

Are you eligible?

If you and your spouse meet the following criteria, you may be eligible:

  • We have been married 8 (eight) years or less
  • Neither of us is pregnant
  • No children were born to us or adopted by us before or during the marriage
  • Neither of us has any interest or title in any real property
  • The total value of all property owned by us is less than $35,000
  • Neither of us has a defined benefit pension plan
  • Neither of us has a pending bankruptcy
  • Neither of us is applying for or receiving Medicaid benefits
  • There is no other action for dissolution of our marriage pending
  • There are no restraining or protective orders between us

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

Administration and Operation of the [Connecticut] Courts

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the head of the Judicial Branch. Its administrative director is called the Chief Court Administrator.

Judicial Functions
The judicial functions of the Branch are concerned with the just disposition of cases at the trial and appellate levels. All judges have the independent, decision-making power to preside over matters in their courtrooms and to determine the outcome of each case before them.

Administrative Operations
The Chief Court Administrator is responsible for the administrative operations of the Judicial Branch. In order to provide the diverse services necessary to effectively carry out the Judicial Branch’s mission, the following administrative divisions have been created: Administrative Services Division | Court Support Services Division | External Affairs Division | Information Technology | Superior Court Operations


Administrative Services Division – Provides a wide array of centrally conducted, statewide services for the benefit of all divisions within the Judicial Branch, such as data processing, financial services, personnel matters and facilities management.

Court Support Services Division

  • Office of Adult Probation – Conducts presentence investigations ordered by the Superior Court and supervises probationers in all cases except juvenile matters.
  • Office of Alternative Sanctions – Creates and sustains a full range of alternatives to incarceration for both pre- and post-conviction adult and juvenile populations.
  • Bail Commission – Interviews and investigates individuals accused of crimes to assist the Superior Court in determining terms and conditions of pretrial release.
  • Family Services Division – Assists the Superior Court in the resolution of problems and the adjudication of cases involving family relationships, family support, child protection and juvenile delinquency. Among the services provided by the Family Division are: mediation of domestic disputes, evaluation of child custody and visitation conflicts, juvenile probation services, divorce counseling, residential placement, restitution and community services.
  • Division of Juvenile Detention Services – Provides pretrial secure detention and programming services to juveniles accused of delinquent acts.

External Affairs DivisionCoordinates a variety of legislative, educational and informational activities designed to inform and educate the public and private sectors about the mission, activities and goals of the Judicial Branch.

Information Technology Division –
The Information Technology (IT) Division consists of:

  • The Commission on Official Legal Publications (COLP) – COLP prints and distributes all Judicial publications including such things as the Connecticut Law Journal, Connecticut Reports, the Connecticut Practice Book and official court forms.
  • Judicial Information Systems (JIS) – JIS is responsible for Applications Development and Support, Network and Systems Support, Architecture & Standards as well as Service & Delivery Support.

Superior Court Operations – The Superior Court Operations Division includes the following:

  • Administration – Provides support services and guidance to all segments of the Division by directing the administrative, strategic planning, staff training and business activities, and provides for court transcript services, interpreter services, and the preservation and disposition of seized property; and, the maintenance, retrieval and destruction of records.
  • Court Operations – Ensures that the Superior Court Clerk’s offices process all matters in accordance with Statutory, Practice Book and Judicial Branch policy provisions in an efficient and professional manner through the provision of technical assistance and support services including the Centralized Infractions Bureau and Jury Administration.
  • Judge Support Services – Ensures the prompt delivery of services and programs to Superior Court judges and Family Support Magistrates pertaining to law libraries, legal research, judicial performance evaluations, continuing education and support for technology; and manages grants program.
  • Legal Services – Determines legal issues and provides support services in the areas of attorney ethics, discipline and bar admission.
  • Support Enforcement Division – Enforces, reviews and adjusts family support orders in accordance with federal and state regulation, rules and statutes.
  • Office of Victim Services – Advocates for victims of crime, arranges services, provides assistance and financial compensation.

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

Organization of the Courts [In Connecticut]: Probate Court

In addition to the state-operated courts, Connecticut has probate courts, which have jurisdiction over the estates of deceased persons, testamentary trusts, adoptions, conservators, commitment of the mentally ill, guardians of the persons, and estates of minors.

Each Probate Court has one judge, who is elected to a four-year term by the electors of the probate district. There are 54 Probate Court districts and six Regional Children’s Probate Courts. State law requires that probate judges be attorneys, and they are paid through a statutory formula. Probate Courts are housed in municipal facilities, most often town and city halls.

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

Organization of the Courts [In Connecticut]: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the state’s highest court. It consists of the Chief Justice and six associate justices. In addition, justices who are eligible and who have not yet attained the age of 70 may elect to take senior status and remain as members of the court.

Supreme Court Courtroom

A panel of five justices hears and decides each case. On occasion, the Chief Justice summons the court to sit en banc as a full court of seven, instead of a panel of five, to hear particularly important cases.

The Supreme Court reviews decisions made in the Superior Court to determine if any errors of law have been committed. It also reviews selected decisions of the Appellate Court.

Generally, the Supreme Court does not hear witnesses or receive evidence. It decides each case on:

  • the record of lower court proceedings;
  • briefs, which are used by counsel to convey to the court the essential points of each party’s case; and,
  • oral argument based on the content of the briefs.

State law specifies which types of appeals may be brought directly to the Supreme Court from the Superior Court, thereby bypassing the Appellate Court. These cases include: decisions where the Superior Court has found a provision of the state constitution or a state statute invalid and convictions of capital felonies. All other appeals are brought to the Appellate Court.

The Supreme Court may transfer to itself any matter filed in the Appellate Court, and may agree to review decisions of the Appellate Court through a process called certification. Except for any matter brought under its original jurisdiction, as defined by the State Constitution, the Supreme Court may transfer any matter pending before it to the Appellate Court.

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

New Bankruptcy Form, Rules Take Effect

Individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 must use a new form that presents their payment plan in a more uniform and transparent manner, and creditors will have less time to submit a proof of claim, under new bankruptcy rules and form amendments that took effect Dec. 1.

By creating greater uniformity of where specific types of information must be entered, the new national Chapter 13 plan form will make it easier for creditors, lawyers and judges to ensure that all elements of a bankruptcy agreement reached under Chapter 13 comply with federal laws. Chapter 13, sometimes known as the wage earner’s plan, enables qualified individual filers to reschedule and make debt payments, allowing them to keep their homes and other property.

Bankruptcy courts previously had relied on local versions of Chapter 13 plans, which varied from district to district, in resolving Chapter 13 cases. They now must either use a new national Bankruptcy Form 113, or create a locally adapted form that contains key elements of the national form. In recent months, courts have been updating electronic filing systems and notifying local bankruptcy lawyers and filers of the pending changes.

The deadline for creditors to file a proof of claim was revised in an amendment to Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 3002.

The new deadline will affect bankruptcies filed under Chapter 7, in which debtors liquidate assets; Chapter 12, which enables family farmers and fishermen to restructure their finances; and Chapter 13. Previously creditors had 90 days after an initial meeting of creditors was held. Now, a proof of claim must be submitted within 70 days of the filing of a bankruptcy petition.

Federal rules amendments typically follow a three-year process, which includes multiple layers of review and extensive public comment.

In April, the Supreme Court transmitted the new rules regarding bankruptcy, as well as amendments to Appellate and Civil Rules of Procedure, and Rules of Evidence, to Congress. The new rules took effect Dec. 1 when Congress did not act to prevent their implementation.

Find a full list of the new rules and form amendments and the Current Rules of Practice and Procedure. Find additional information about the bankruptcy process.

(Re-posted from http://www.uscourts.gov/news/2017/12/01/new-bankruptcy-form-rules-take-effect)

This firm is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief amongst other things, under the Bankruptcy Code.