Below is a list of Frequently asked questions for:
- Bankruptcy Law
- Family Law
- Criminal Law
- Estate Law
Bankruptcy Law FAQ's
Q: Will a bankruptcy ruin my credit for life?
A: No. In fact, for most people, bankruptcy can be the fastest way to restore your good credit. By filing a bankruptcy petition, a bankruptcy attorney can erase all of your unsecured debt. Your credit score consists of your Debt to Earnings ratio and the number of monthly payments you miss. By erasing your debt, a bankruptcy lawyer immediately improves both areas of your credit score. If you could not get yourself debt free in six to twelve months without filing, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help restore your credit as quickly as possible.
Q: Will I be able to get another credit card if I file a bankruptcy?
A: Yes. After your bankruptcy is discharged, your unsecured debt is erased and you cannot file another bankruptcy in the near future. Bankruptcy, by erasing your debt, makes you a better credit risk in the long run.
Q: Will I have to give up my house, car or personal belongings if I file a bankruptcy?
A: No. In most cases, a bankruptcy lawyer can save your home, your car and all of your personal belongings. While there are certain restrictions, a bankruptcy filed with our law firm will allow you to keep all of your belongings. At our free consultation, our bankruptcy attorney will determine if there are any issues with keeping any of the items that you own.
Q: How much does it cost to file a bankruptcy with your firm?
A: Every bankruptcy case is unique. While most bankruptcy filings cost within a specific range, our bankruptcy attorney will be able to offer you a fee during the free initial consultation. Call or e-mail us today, we can see you immediately. All of our consultations are with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Q: If I file for bankruptcy, does my husband/wife have to file also?
A: No. A bankruptcy filing is a voluntary choice. If you are married you may file only in your name, however, there are some advantages to filing a joint case. During your free initial consultation, a bankruptcy attorney will be able to advise as to whether a joint filing would be beneficial, but the choice is yours.
Q: If I file for bankruptcy, will my name be published in the paper?
A: No. Bankruptcy filings are Federal court cases. As with all Federal cases, they are a matter of public record. They are not published in the papers as a matter of course.
Q: How quickly can my bankruptcy be filed?
A: Your case can be filed today, if necessary. Bankruptcy cases involve some investigation by the bankruptcy law firm and the bankruptcy attorney. Once the information is provided and the full retainer fee is received, it usually takes our office a week to prepare. If there is a need for an immediate filing, your case can be filed on the same day our office is retained.
Q: Can I stop a sheriff sale if I file a bankruptcy?
A: Yes. Bankruptcy filings stop sheriff sales. Call us for a free consultation today so a bankruptcy attorney can explain how the filing of your case affects the sheriff sale. You must file the bankruptcy case before the sheriff sale if you wish to save your property.
Q: How can I stop my creditors from calling me?
A: Filing a bankruptcy case stops creditor phone calls immediately. Under the bankruptcy code, the automatic stay comes into effect as soon as your case is filed. Your creditors must stop calling you and they will have to deal with your bankruptcy attorney directly.
Q: What happens if I already have a judgement against me?
A: Filing a bankruptcy case erase the debt that that the judgment is based on. Every civil suit is unique and there may be some additional work in your case to protect your interests. At your free consultation the bankruptcy lawyer will explain what should be done in your case.
Q: Do I have to go to court if I file bankruptcy.
A: If a bankruptcy case is filed, a trustee must hold a hearing and ask the debtor questions. These hearings are usually held in a Federal Courthouse; however, a judge is not present. Our office will send an attorney who will sit beside you through the entire proceeding. We have helped hundreds of clients from Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Bucks and Monroe Counties through their bankruptcy case and we will be there for your case as well.
Family Law FAQ's
Q: If I file for divorce, who would get the house?
A: You can remain in your home during a divorce; however, if staying together in the home is not an option, then you may go to court to obtain exclusive possession of the home. Our family law attorney will meet with you to determine whether exclusive possession is right in your case. If you do not want to stay in the home, our divorce attorney can force your spouse to refinance to remove your name from the mortgage or sell the property so you can get your share of the home equity. During our free consultation, a divorce attorney will meet with you to help determine what the next step should be.
Q: Can I get spousal support or alimony if I file for divorce?
A: Yes. You are entitled to spousal support, alimony or alimony pendent lite during your divorce and after. A Family lawyer can advise you as what family law in Pennsylvania entitles you to. During our free consultation, a family law attorney will be able to advise you as to how much you may be entitled to.
Q: If I file for divorce, you would get custody of our children?
A: While every custody situation is unique, you can expect to have at least shared custody of the children. For clients of our law firm, a family law attorney will represent you and help to determine whether primary custody or shared custody is what is in the best interest of you and your child.
Q: If I file for a divorce, would I also have to file custody and support paperwork?
A: Yes. Family law in Pennsylvania allows you to handle all of the issues with your divorce through the same case. Our family law attorney can advise you on the specific needs of your case and file the paperwork on your behalf.
Q: Can I move with my child outside of the Lehigh Valley?
A: Yes you can, but if the other parent does not agree to the move, you must go to court in Pennsylvania to move. A family lawyer can file the paperwork and represent you at the hearing. You must have either the other parent or the court's permission to move.
Q: Will I still have to pay child support even if I don't have enough money to pay my monthly bills?
A: It depends. Under Pennsylvania Family Law, you have an obligation to provide support for your children. However, the amount of the support depends on your particular circumstances. A good child support attorney can make sure you do not pay any more then is required under the law. During a free consultation our family lawyer will explore what situations the law considers when determine the support order.
Q: What happens if I am ordered to pay child support and I can't afford to pay it?
A: You always have a recourse under the law. Our Family law attorney can file a modification for you and represent you at the Domestic Relations conference to insure that all of your issues are addressed. Our firm has represented hundreds of Defendants in the Lehigh Valley in Domestic Relations and in court but you must take action before it is too late.
Q: My child's other parent is not paying their child support even though we have a child support order in place. What can be done?
A: A Family law attorney can help you make your child's other parent pay the support order or fight to have them put in jail if they do not. Our family lawyer be your advocate for your rights as well as your child rights.
Q: I am paying too much for child support. Can I get my child support order reduced?
A: Yes. If you are paying too much under the law, a family law lawyer can filed a petition for modification to insure that you do not pay any more than the law requires. During our free consultation, you will meet with a family law attorney who will help you determine what can be done to get you a correct order.
Q: I feel like I am not getting enough child support? How can I get my child support increased?
A: You are entitled to file a modification to review the other parent's income and any changes in health care, daycare, preschool and other child related expenses. A family law attorney can file a modification and make sure that you are receiving all of the support you are entitled to. Contact our office today for a free consultation with a child support lawyer.
Q: I'm paying child support and I feel that my child's parent is not using the money for our child. What can be done?
A: Under family law in Pennsylvania, the Court cannot direct what the money received for child support is spent on. However, if you feel that you child is not being properly provided for, then a family law attorney can explain what your options are. From custody modification to child support modification, call for a free consultation with our family law attorney today.
Criminal Law FAQ's
Q: I've been charged with a DUI. Will I go to jail?
A: It depends. Jail is a component of all DUI charges, whether a defendant will go to jail depends on many factors; is this a 1st offense, were there any accidents or injuries, were there any children in the car, what was the BAC level? In some cases there are defenses to the DUI charge and, depending on the facts of the case, DUI charges can get dismissed. If you qualify for a first offenders program you will not serve jail time. An experienced DUI attorney can help assure that you do not spend any time behind bars.
Q: I received a citation for a traffic violation. Should I plead guilty or not guilty?
A: Not guilty. In most cases, you do not gain anything by pleading guilty right away. Meet with an experience criminal lawyer to see if you have a good defense for your case or if there is an opportunity to have your violation changed to something that is less damaging to your driving record and you wallet. If you receive a traffic violation, meet with a criminal attorney with experience in traffic violations immediately.
Q: I hear people talk about getting ARD or ASP after getting charged with a crime? What are they and who qualifies?
A: ARD and ASP are first and second offender programs for DUI and certain criminal charges. If you are charged with a DUI or a crime you will at least want to consider your options which would include trying to gain entry into an ARD or ASP program. A criminal defense attorney can offer you counsel and examine all of your options. Meet with a criminal defense lawyer to see if ARD or ASP would help you.
Q: Can I get my record expunged?
A: In certain cases, yes. Expungement means the record of your charges is destroyed and if anyone searches your record, expungment removes it from the public eye. Many cases can be expunged and, in some cases, a pardon may be a viable option. Contact a criminal attorney to explore these options.
Q: If I am charged for a crime and go to jail, will I have to post bail?
A: If you do not wish to stay in prison while your case is pending, you will have to post bail. A criminal defense lawyer can represent you in arguing for a realistic bail and helping you remain free while preparing a defense for your case.
Q: If I am charged with a crime, when should I hire a defense attorney?
A: Immediately. There is no benefit in waiting to hire a criminal defense attorney. From the minute you encounter an officer of the law and forward, everything you do or say can be used against you, and it will be used against you. If you have been charged with a crime or believe you will be charged with a crime, consult with and retain a criminal lawyer immediately.
Q: I got a DUI, will I lose my driver's license? If so, when must I surrender it?
A: If you are charged with a DUI, there is most likely a driver's license suspension. Whether there is a suspension and how long the suspension is depends on a number of factors including your BAC, whether you qualify for a first offender program and the actions taken by your criminal defense attorney.
Estate Law FAQ's
Q: Does an estate need an attorney?
A: Yes. An estate attorney advises, counsels and guides the personal representative of the estate. A good estate attorney shields the personal representative and the estate from any of the various issues involved with the administration of the estate.
Q: How does the estate pay the taxes owed?
A: An estate attorney helps the personal representative open the estate and pay all of the state and federal taxes that may be owed on the estate. An estate lawyer will also advise you on how to limit the total amount that may be owed to the state.
Q: Do I need a will?
A: Yes. It is always better to write a will before you think you need one. Wills do not take a long time to prepare, are not very costly and can be changed at any time after they are executed. A Lehigh Valley estate lawyer can help you decided what is most important to you and how to take care of your loved ones. Contact a Lehigh Valley estate attorney today and put your mind at ease and your affairs in order.
Q: Do my parents need a will?
A: Yes. Often people think if they have fully grown children or no children that estate planning is not necessary. Ensuring that a proper executor or executrix is chosen, that your loved ones and friends are taken care of and that you have a proper power of attorney and/or living will are all areas where a Philadelphia estate attorney can help you or your parents.
Q: Are there time limits in an Estate Case?
A: Yes. There are several time limits associated with any estate case, a Lehigh Valley estate attorney can advise you on what needs to be filed, when it needs to be filed and prepare the proper paperwork for the State and Federal tax returns. A free consultation with an estate lawyer will help answer all of your questions.
Civil Litigation FAQ's
Q: How do I know if I have a right to sue?
A: If you believe that you have been wronged under a contract, with a neighbor, by a co-worker or employer, or have been injured in an accident or by medical malpractice, you may be entitled to sue. A civil litigation attorney can advise you as to any rights you may have during the first consultation. The Law Offices of Everett Cook, P.C. is an experienced litigation firm and if you need a civil litigation attorney in the Lehigh Valley or Philadelphia, we can help you.
Q: What does civil litigation cost?
A: Civil litigation attorneys in the Lehigh Valley usually charge by the hour and depending on the type of case and the complexity of the matter, the overall costs can vary widely. In some cases, civil litigation lawyer may charge a percentage of any final judgment. In many cases, there is a flat hourly rate and standard costs which can be estimated during the initial consultation.
Q: Is there a time limit for me to sue?
A: Yes. There are statute of limitations in Pennsylvania which controls when you can bring a lawsuit. If you wait too long to file a suit, you may lose your right to sue forever. A civil litigation attorney can offer you advice on when a suit must be filed.
Q: Must there be a long trial if I sue?
A: Not necessarily. Many cases can be resolved through mediation or arbitration. A Lehigh Valley civil litigation attorney can help you decide if your case can be settled with an alternative resolution that may get you your settlement more quickly.
Q: How does a civil suit help me?
A: A civil suit and a Lehigh Valley civil attorney fights for your rights in court. If your civil lawyer is successful in winning your lawsuit, a judgment will be entered in your favor. A civil judgment gives you the right to collect that money from the defendant. A civil attorney can also help you collect that judgment if the defendant is not willing to pay immediately.
Q: How do I know where to file my suit?
A: The proper venue (location) of a civil suit has several components, but the most important is the location of whatever is at issue in the case. If there is money owed to you or you have a personal injury suit and everything happened in Northampton County or Lehigh County, then the suit is proper in Northampton or Lehigh County. As a civil litigation firm we have represented clients in Northampton County, Lehigh County, Monroe County, Bucks County, Berks County, Philadelphia County and Carbon County as well as in Federal Court in the Eastern and Middle districts of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania's Superior Court. As a civil litigation attorney in the Lehigh Valley we will advise you on where your suit should be filed.
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