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Lehighton Legal Issues Blog

You must meet certain requirements before ending your marriage

Just as the state of Pennsylvania has laws for entering a marital union (for example, those dealing with age and consent), the state also regulates the process of getting divorced. For instance, you must meet certain residency requirements, and a variety of legal grounds are also available for a marital breakup (you can file either a fault-based or a no-fault divorce).

Navigating the divorce process can understandably be overwhelming due to the many details and moving parts involved. However, here is a glimpse at the divorce laws you must know before ending your marriage in Pennsylvania.

Seek manageable debt relief with Chapter 13 bankruptcy

One of the overwhelming fears that Pennsylvania debtors carry with them about bankruptcy is the concern that they will have nothing left when the process is over. Despite the debts, individuals may worry about losing the rooves that are over their heads or the cars that they drive to their jobs. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy does involve the selling off of property in order to pay creditors, Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers a different type of solution to burdensome debts.

As previously discussed on this blog, Chapter 13 bankruptcy uses the reorganization of a debtor's assets and income to create a repayment plan. It is through that plan that a debtor may begin the multi-year process of satisfying their debts to their creditors and achieving financial freedom. Debtors are often able to keep their homes, protect their cars and continue their lives so long as they are able to maintain their payments to their lenders.

Not everyone will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protections

Bankruptcy can help a Lehighton resident who is behind on their bills and who cannot find the extra income to get caught up. It can help individuals take control of their financial health and work down their debts so that they may have better control over the bills they do maintain. There are a variety of different forms of bankruptcy that debtors may choose to pursue and one of the most utilized of them all is Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation with is the selling of one's assets. Once a person sells off items of property then the proceeds of the sale are used to pay their creditors. Although Chapter 7 can be an effective tool to help some individuals get back on their feet it is important for readers to understand that not all will qualify for the process.

What is a field sobriety test?

When it comes to evaluating a person's level of intoxication, many Pennsylvanians think of the blood or breath-based tests that law enforcement officials may administer to learn of a person's blood alcohol concentration. A person's blood alcohol concentration, often shortened to BAC, is a number that indicates the amount of alcohol that is in a person's body. State laws are written with BAC in mind and with intoxicated driving charges generally applying when a driver's BAC reaches or exceeds .08.

However, there are other evaluative tools that law enforcement officials may use to determine if drivers are under the influence. Those tests do not use materials from the suspects' bodies, but rather the suspects' bodies themselves for evaluation. They are called field sobriety tests and they are used to check drivers' coordination, balance and capacity to follow instructions.

One killed by chain-reaction crash

Driving is not always an easy undertaking. Individuals who must operate their vehicles on Pennsylvania's many roads and highways are aware of the significant distractions and complications that can present themselves during the course of a trip. For example, a driver may have to contend with weather hazards, construction, and dangerous drivers all on top of the regular traffic that can clog throughways and cause delays to individuals who have places to go.

However, drivers are still responsible for maintaining control of their vehicles and following the rules of the road. Just recently a dangerous multi-vehicle accident occurred in the state that claimed the life of a 61-year-old woman. The accident happened when a 19-year-old woman collided with another vehicle that was stopped for pothole construction and that vehicle was pushed into several other vehicles in front of it.

Facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania because you were dizzy?

It's no secret that drunk driving takes the lives of thousands of innocent people in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation every year. You might be surprised to learn, however, how many people face DUI charges (and perhaps, convictions) who never touched a dropped of alcohol before getting behind their wheels. If a police officer plans to pull you over in a traffic stop, he or she has to have reasonable cause to do so.

To arrest you for possible DUI, an officer needs probable cause, meaning evidence of impairment by drugs or alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. Because police officers are human beings, they can make mistakes. Perhaps you were not feeling well at the time an officer stopped you. You may have been coming down with the flu or some other ailment that caused you to feel dizzy or otherwise in poor health. If such circumstances lead to criminal charges, you'll do well to secure experienced support before heading to court.

Should I fight for legal custody of my child?

Transitioning from a marriage with children to life after a divorce can be very hard on a Pennsylvanian parent. Especially when that parent is accustomed to undertaking many of the day-to-day responsibilities that parents perform with regard to their kids may they struggle with not having their children in their homes each day of their lives. Often when parents undergo divorces they have to split up their children's lives so that each parent may have some custodial control over the kids' physical bodies.

However, there is a second type of custody that is just as if not more important than physical custody. This second form of custody is legal custody, and the remainder of this post will generally discuss what it is. Readers who are working through their own custodial dilemmas should discuss their rights and options with their attorneys as this post does not offer legal advice.

Compensation for catastrophic injuries

In the early morning hours of Friday, March 9th, at approximately 1:30 a.m. a woman crashed her car into LaRose's Skating Rink in Franklin Township. She had failed to negotiate a curve along Route 209 causing her to run off the road and crash into the building. Franklin Township police are still investigating the accident for a possible cause.

The driver was injured and had to be extricated from the vehicle by firefighters. She was treated at the scene, then transported to the hospital. There were no parties inside the skating rink at the time of the accident. However, if there had of been, this could have been a catastrophic event causing major injuries or even death.

How are my monthly payments calculated in a Chapter 13 plan?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as a wage earner's plan, or debtor's court. This is because its purpose is to allow debtors to consolidate creditor payments over a three to five-year period. Those payments can include amounts on which a debtor has fallen behind, such as a home mortgage or car note, while allowing them to retain the collateral and catch up. Payment amounts are based on the debtor's current income.

There are three types of creditor claims which are calculated into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan payment. They are priority, secured, and unsecured. Priority claims include any debt that is generally non-dischargeable in a bankruptcy filing. They may include taxes, bankruptcy proceeding costs, attorney fees, domestic support obligations, or student loans. Unless a priority creditor agrees otherwise, these claims will be paid in full over the course of the Chapter 13 plan.

Mortgage modification in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy

When the 2008 economic recession hit, mortgage companies were forced to find a solution for homeowners who could no longer afford their house payments and had fallen behind. Otherwise, the number of foreclosures would have been far more astronomical than it already was. Mortgagers would have lost millions of dollars.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor has the option of reaffirming debt on assets which he or she would like to keep. This means that the debt would continue being paid by the debtor after bankruptcy discharge. However, in order for a debt to be reaffirmed, the payments must be completely current at the time the Reaffirmation Agreement is signed. Oftentimes, once they reach the point of filing bankruptcy, debtors are already far behind on mortgage payments and do not have the funds to bring them current.

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