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Scura, Wigfield, Heyer & Stevens Blog

Should My Spouse and I File a Joint Bankruptcy Petition?

If you are married and mired in debt, bankruptcy can stop creditor actions and give you a fresh financial start. A common question is whether to file jointly or file only under one spouse's name. Depending on the facts of your case, it can make a difference for your finances and the impact on your credit.

Will Bankruptcy Stop an Eviction?

As with many legal questions, the answer is not always simple. The filing of a bankruptcy triggers what is known as the Automatic Stay. The Automatic Stay is the equivalent of an injunction: a court order prohibiting or commanding some action.

Does a Mortgage Modification Trial Period Establish a Valid Contract?

U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson recently ruled in favor of a homeowner’s claim for breach of contract after the mortgage company failed to honor a permanent modification after the homeowner completed all of the requirements of the trial modification.

Tax Returns Must Be Filed by Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Debtors

A requirement of The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention & Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) requires that a Chapter 13 debtor must file all returns for tax periods ending within the 4 years prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case. The trustee, however, may extend this deadline. Section 1228(a) of BAPCPA provides that in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases that a debtor is not entitled to a discharge in the case of an individual who is a debtor unless requested tax documents have been provided to the court. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a plan cannot be confirmed unless all tax returns have been filed. The tax return requirement is a strict one in bankruptcy and the court will not overlook it. Under prior bankruptcy law prior to the changes in 2005 under BAPCPA, tax returns did not have to be filed.

Can Secured Creditors Constitute an Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors?

At first one would think this question is simply no. However, legal questions are rarely so easily answered. Lawyers are a crafty bunch. 

Official unsecured creditor committees are provided for by 11 U.S.C. § 1102(a)(1). In general, the purpose of such committees is to represent the interests of unsecured creditors and to strive to maximize the dividend paid to that class of creditors. The concept is that a single unsecured creditor (who in most cases will be paid pennies on the dollar through the bankruptcy) cannot shoulder the expense of playing a significant role in a bankruptcy proceeding. Together, as a group of interested creditors, a committee can hire one attorney to look out for its collective interest. A committee one formed can then apply to have the bankruptcy estate pay for the committee’s legal fees.

The Role of the Bankruptcy Trustee in Chapter 7 & Chapter 13

After a person files a bankruptcy petition, they will be assigned a date for their "Meeting of Creditors," also dubbed the "341 hearing." Although bankruptcy debtors will not actually meet with their creditors face to face, they will certainly sit down with a bankruptcy trustee. This article will explain the trustee's role in the bankruptcy process and explain some of the questions debtors will be asked during their meeting.

Joint Financial Obligations in Marriage and Divorce

Few people enter marriage with a firm grasp on all the financial implications that come along with merging their lives. New Jersey spouses can easily put themselves in the position to be held liable for each other's debts, whether they realize it or not.

Confronting False Bankruptcy Myths

The decision to file for bankruptcy should not be taken lightly. But bankruptcy is not just a last resort for those who need a life preserver. Some people choose to drown in debt when they should actually file for bankruptcy, because they have been led to believe certain false myths about bankruptcy. Don't let the following myths hold you back from getting your financial footing:

Safety Tips to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents

All of us are pedestrian at some time or another. When we’re at a crosswalk or traffic light, its often second nature to follow the flow of other pedestrian traffic or simply walk when the light tells us to do so. But did you know that nearly 3 out of 4 pedestrian deaths occur in urban environments (73%), at non-intersections (70%)? Education is the best way to protect yourself from a pedestrian accident. Check out the safety tips for drivers, pedestrians, parents, and youth groups below.

What the Law Says About Pedestrian Accident and Injury in New Jersey

The statistics on pedestrian accidents and resulting injuries provide insight into the times and environments they’re more likely to occur.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, the majority of weekday pedestrian deaths occur between 4 p.m. and midnight, but most weekend pedestrian fatalities occur between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.

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