Bastarrika, Soto, Gonzalez & Somohano, L.L.P.

Woodland Park Legal Issues Blog

Family questions cause of fatal New Jersey car accident

Those who have recently experienced the death of family members -- understandably -- want answers, especially if that loss appears to have been the result of a preventable accident. Unfortunately, one family is left with many unanswered questions. Three family members were killed and one injured in a recent fatal car accident in New Jersey.

The accident happened on a Sunday afternoon on a day in July. According to reports, a 19-year-old woman was driving a vehicle that was struck by a tanker truck in an intersection. The car and the truck reportedly skidded off the road. The truck's cab pinned the car to the ground, trapping the car's occupants.

What drives Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings?

The vast majority of people in New Jersey and across the country are hard workers, dedicated to providing for themselves and their families and meeting their financial responsibilities. Unfortunately, even these people can become overwhelmed with debt, potentially prompting them to seek information regarding their options. For some, the best choice is to seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Reports indicate that between Oct. 2005 to Sept. 2017, approximately 12.8 millions consumers sought bankruptcy protection in federal court. There are a variety of different factors that could have led these petitioners to seek such action. One of the most commons reasons -- cited in over 66% of cases according to a study by the American Journal of Public Health -- is medical debt. An unexpected medical incident can result in thousands of dollars in bills. Additionally, those who are unable to work due to their condition may quickly use up their savings, causing them to sink further into debt.

The impact of an old bankruptcy versus a new one

When trying to figure out whether to file bankruptcy, most New Jersey consumers wonder what their credit will look like afterward and whether they will ever receive credit again. Most people assume that a bankruptcy will ruin their credit forever when, in many cases, the opposite is true.

If you have a substantial amount of debt you cannot pay right now, your credit score is likely dropping rapidly. When you file bankruptcy, that stops since successfully completing the process and receiving a discharge wipes the slate clean. Depending on the circumstances, your credit score could actually rise.

Situations in which bankruptcy is beneficial

Many people in New Jersey spend a great deal of time and energy planning for their financial future. Often, they will make sacrifices in the present to ensure a stable situation in the future. Unfortunately, these plans can come to a crashing halt, often due to situations beyond the person's control. In these situations, the best option to manage debt is to seek bankruptcy protection.

For example, one of the most common factors in a bankruptcy filing is medical debt. Not only does a serious medical condition result in medical bills, but some people may be unable to work while they recover or support a loved one during the recovery period. For many, it becomes necessary to travel for treatment, resulting in additional travel and lodging costs. The financial burden can quickly become overwhelming.

Study shows student loan debt increases chance of divorce

Most married couples in New Jersey would readily admit that there are many things that can create stress and conflict in a marriage. However, a recent study shows that one stressor could potentially increase the chances that a couple will divorce -- debt. Specifically, student loan debt could be a major factor for many couples.

Some claim that one of the biggest stressors married couples must face deals with finances. Approximately a third of respondents to a recent study indicated that debt played a role in their divorce as debt makes it difficult to save for a home or make other plans for the future. Just over 12% specifically claimed that student loan debt was a factor.

In New Jersey, fair, not equal, property division

When most people in New Jersey choose to marry, they do so with the intention of spending the rest of their lives together. However, as time passes, people change, often leaving a couple who were once perfectly happy together in a miserable situation. If they choose to divorce, the process of property division can be a contentious and confusing one.

Fortunately, the attorneys at Bastarrika, Soto, Gonzalez & Somohano, L.L.P. are ready to help. We understand that the decisions made as part of the property division process will potentially have a lasting impact on the person's future. As such, we take the time to fully understand the individual needs of our clients and help them seek a resolution that is in their best interests.

Court ponders what happens to embryos in divorce

In the past, a couple in New Jersey who were unable to conceive had limited options in their path to parenthood. Though relatively recent medical advances now allow in vitro fertilization, many family court cases raise questions regarding the ultimate fate of embryos should couples divorce and disagree on what should happen to them. In fact, the Supreme Court of another state is hearing arguments on a case in which a former husband and wife disagree about who should have custody of the embryos they created.

The couple reportedly created two embryos following their marriage in 2011. At the time, they signed a contract agreeing that the embryos would be discarded should the marriage end in divorce. They used one of the embryos, which resulted in the birth of a daughter before they divorced in 2016. Now the woman wants the original contract upheld while the man is asking that the court award him custody so that it can be adopted or used.

The benefits available to you through Chapter 7 bankruptcy

It's not easy to make the choice to file for bankruptcy. Even if you are struggling with overwhelming debt, you may wonder how taking this step could impact your future and your financial interests. This is a serious choice, and you would be wise to carefully consider all of your options before you move forward.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a popular choice for individuals who have a significant amount of unsecured debt. There are many advantages to this popular option for consumer bankruptcy, but it's smart to know exactly what to expect from this process and if there are any drawbacks for you before you file. For many applicants, Chapter 7 offers a way to a better financial future.

State's criminal law changes may affect immigration issues

Any number of issues can negatively affect a New Jersey immigrant's legal status. Visa expiration, lack of proper documentation and criminal convictions are several of the most common issues that prompt complications in an immigrant's ability to remain in the United States. A recent criminal law change in another state has come as good news for many immigrants; immigrant advocates say the change affects the automatic removal proceedings system in place under federal immigration law.

Immigrants convicted of a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of at least one year in jail are automatically placed in line for deportation proceedings under federal law. In this particular state the law was changed for Class A misdemeanors to specify a maximum sentence of just 364 days. The law is known as the "One Day Act," and it means that deportation proceedings are no longer automatically activated under such circumstances. While the proceedings could still take place, the automatic trigger has been removed as a result of the change in the law.

Seeking a low conflict divorce in New Jersey

If portrayals on television and movies were accurate, it would seem that all marriages that end must do so with a great deal of drama, contention and drawn-out legal proceedings. While some do, there are many couples in New Jersey who want a divorce with as little conflict and stress as possible. As such, many turn to Bastarrika, Soto, Gonzalez & Somohano, LLP for guidance.

There are several low conflict resolution options for those seeking to start the next stage of their lives. In fact, courts require that couples seek mediation before litigation. Through mediation, couples can come to agreements on a variety of different issues, including asset valuation and division, child custody and parenting schedules. By doing so, couples can often save both money and time.

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