Category Archives: General Legal Issues

October Newsletter: Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy, Domestic Violence, and Credit Report Skeletons

These articles were featured in our October Newsletter. To sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, please sign up here.

In this month’s newsletter, our attorneys tackle the topics of rebuilding credit after filing bankruptcy, protection orders in New Jersey, and old judgments and debts coming back to haunt you.
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The Basics: Can Bankruptcy Cover My Student Loans?

There are chapters in the federal bankruptcy code to deal with a variety of situations and financial circumstances. For consumers, the chapter they file under to seek protection depends largely on the type of debt they’re carrying, and in what amount. One question our lawyers get all the time about debt pertains to student loans. “Can bankruptcy erase my education debt?” our clients ask. Like many things involving the law, it depends on your own individual case. Let’s get into the details.

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The Basics: Will Bankruptcy Stop my Foreclosure?

Losing your home to foreclosure is a traumatic experience, and not just because of the damage to your credit rating. Removed from your residence under the watchful eye of local law enforcement, it’s easy to feel humiliated in a community you once called your own. The damage may take years to recover from emotionally. What many homeowners fail to take advantage of are the legal options available to them when their financial situation takes a dramatic turn for the worse. Our attorneys explain what bankruptcy can do for them when foreclosure looms in the near future.

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What Does the 2013 Government Shutdown Mean for Your Bankruptcy Case?

On October 1st, 2013, the United States Federal Government entered a period known as “shutdown.” The most recent shutdown occurred during the Clinton administration and lasted for nearly a month. In the 1980s, on the other hand, there were several shutdowns during Ronald Reagan’s presidency that lasted as little as two or three days. Even these small pieces of information can serve as a sort of microcosm for what to expect (or not) during Federal shutdowns: it’s always different, and there’s always a degree of uncertainty. Continue reading

How Enforceable are Do-not-Compete Agreements in Pennsylvania?

Do-not-compete agreements (NCAs) are often a source of consternation for those looking to make a career move. In the current economy, even if you aren’t looking to change jobs, being asked to sign a non-compete may cause you to be curious how it could impact your future professional pursuits. Therefore, it is not surprising that many people who work in Pennsylvania wonder how enforceable do-not-compete agreements are in practice. Continue reading

July Newsletter: Shopping for Legal Services, Credit Cares, and Estate Woes

The Pitfalls of Bargain Shopping for Legal Services

Consumers comparison shop before making purchases all the time. Buying from the lowest cost retailer works great for many consumer goods. After all, a pair of Levi’s Jeans is a pair of Levi’s Jeans. So why not buy them from the online retailer that offers free overnight shipping and a 20% off coupon.

While it’s important to do your homework before hiring a professional, such as an attorney, the decision shouldn’t be based upon price alone.

A recent Forbes article explored the costs of hiring cheap legal counsel. The moral of the story is not to hire an attorney based upon price alone. Law can be very complex, so it’s important to do your homework before selecting the attorney who’s right for you. While Attorney X may have a steeper hourly rate than Attorney Y, Attorney X’s specialized experience and keen negotiating skills could enable her to get speedier results costing you less in the long run. Or Attorney A’s attention to detail could provide you with a more ironclad contract than Attorney B, who would charge you $1,000 less for the same document. Attorney’s D concierge approach to customer service may make the process less stressful than the factory atmosphere of Attorney E’s office.

At Maselli Warren, P.C. our attorneys evaluate your case one-on-one and take the time to develop a relationship with each of our clients. If you need something or someone we can’t provide, we have an extensive referral network to make sure you end up in the right hands.

credit card payments explained

Who Cares About Your Credit?

Employers, Banks, Credit Card Companies, Landlords, Insurance Agents, Utility Companies…Lots of people!

Most importantly you should care about your credit!

Haven’t checked your credit report in a while? Don’t even know your credit score? Or where to find it?

Remember, you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies each year.

You can get a copy of your credit report for free by clicking here.

Tired of getting pre-approved credit offers in the mail? Call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT to remove yourself from lenders’ pre-approved lists. You might even save yourself a few points on your credit score!

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Will Your Estate Have Money Woes?

Federal estate taxes impact few with the federal estate tax exemption permanently set to $5 million ($5,250,000 for 2013 accounting for inflation).

However, New Jersey residents are subject to the state’s estate and inheritance taxes.

In New Jersey, the current 2013 estate tax exemption is a mere fraction of the federal at $675,000 and estates exceeding that are subject to estate tax burdens up to 16%.

Leaving a gift to a niece, nephew, significant other or friend? New Jersey also collects inheritance taxes of up to 16% for such gifts.

Have concerns about the health of your estate plan? Give one of our friendly attorneys a call!

Attorney Spotlight: The Money Lady

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Kimberly Pelkey Sdeo

Attorney, Kimberly Pelkey Sdeo, is passionate about financial literacy and she utilizes her skills in helping her clients achieve their goals every day.

She’s also active in our local community advocating about the importance of financial literacy and personal finance. Recently, Kimberly mentored high school students at the Junior Achievement Women’s Future Leadership Forum on the ins and outs of using credit wisely.

Kimberly has also partnered with a local non-profit organization where she teaches a monthly financial literacy course, covering topics from basic banking skills, developing good credit habits, and how to create a budget that works for you.

Are your money troubles getting in the way? Give Kimberly a call to set up an appointment today!  

What are the Differences Between an LLC and an LLP?

Organizing your business into an LLC or LLP can have significant advantages for you and your company. However, it is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of each before deciding if an LLC or LLP is appropriate. The entity known by the abbreviation LLC is also known as a limited liability company. An LLP is short for the entity knows as a limited liability partnership. Continue reading

Does Filing Bankruptcy Remove Liens Against You?

If you are in a period of financial hardship, there is no price that can be put on the ability to declare bankruptcy in order to have the ability to restore your financial credibility. Prior to declaring bankruptcy, people understandably want to know exactly what debts are able to be cleared. One common area of confusion is liens. This confusion is can be quite justified as the law treats each of the three types of liens differently. Continue reading

What Types of Debt will Bankruptcy Not Erase?

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Bankruptcy is a powerful tool that can be used to wipe away your debts and get a fresh start. While bankruptcy can be a good choice, it does have limitations. One limitation to bankruptcy is that certain types of debts are not discharged, or wiped away. These non-dischargeable debts include back taxes, student loans, alimony, child support, court ordered restitution, and illegally accrued debt. It is essential to speak with an attorney prior to declaring bankruptcy to ensure that your debts are not of these specific types. Continue reading

June Estate Planning Newsletter

Are You Drowning in Debt?

By Kimberly Pelkey Sdeo

Do your debts exceed your savings? You’re not alone, a recent article, cites that nearly 1/4 of Americans owe more than they have in savings. Getting out of debt doesn’t have to be a headache! Whether your credit cards have gotten the best of you, medical are piling, you recently got divorce, lost you job or your business is tanking, we’re here to help! We understand how hard it can be to tackle debt, especially when creditors start calling and hounding you for payments. If you’re wishing and hoping for a solution, bankruptcy may be the answer. Give us a call and we’ll set up a free consultation to evaluate your personal finances and determine if bankruptcy the solution.

FAST FACT: In 2012, the average American household had more than $15,000 in credit card debt alone.

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted. Vacation, Had to Get Away!

By Patricia Agoes

Summer is just around the corner. The Jersey Shore has officially reopened! Are your summer vacation plans in order? Now is the time to dust off your custody and parenting time agreements. Do you dread vacation season because of your ex? Do you know what vacation time you’re entitled to? Do you know what notice you must provide and when it must be provided? Are you planning a cruise or other trip out of the country? Do you have the proper documentation from the other parent to enable you to travel stress free? Need to fine tune your agreement? Now is the time to take a second look at things while plans are being made to reduce stress and uncertainty at the airport. With a little advanced planning, we can help your vacation be stress-free.

What Should You Do Before You Say “I Do”?

By Kimberly Pelkey Sdeo

Don’t know what to do before you say “I do”? Premarital agreements can be a cost effective tool to protect your future. Do you have a premarital home or business? Expect a large inheritance? Have children from a prior relationship? Have a fiancé with a mountain of student loans or other debts? Take your walk down the aisle and into this new chapter of your life knowing you’re protected. Have you thought about insuring your marriage? Life can be uncertain and we all hope our marriages are rock solid, but having a little extra insurance never hurts. Want to learn more? Click here to learn how having a premarital agreement would have helped Reese and Ryan, Nick and Jessica, and Kelsey and Camille.

As Pomp and Circumstance Fills the Air

By Patricia Agoes

Families are gathering to celebrate their recent high school and college graduates. It’s time to celebrate your children’s achievements. Now is also the time to revisit your support and custody agreements. What about college? Is your daughter going away to live at college in the Fall? If so, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines may no longer apply. Last Fall, the Courts in Jacoby v. Jacoby, created a new calculus in determining support for students residing away from home at college or other post secondary school. Has your son decided college isn’t for him and instead is going to pursue employment after high school? Now is the time to revisit your support and custody arrangements and it may be the appropriate time to discuss emancipation. Once your son or daughter has “moved beyond the sphere of influence,” with a presumption of emancipation at age 18, both parents support obligations terminate. We can help you enjoy this exciting time in your life and reduce stress surrounding child support and custody issues, give us a call today to set up a consultation.