New Jersey Bankruptcy, Real Estate and Business Law Blog

Understanding the Brunner Test for Student Loan Bankruptcies

Picture of bankruptcy (the dictionary project, macro shots, shallow D.O.F.)

According to Federal Reserve data, student loan debt has reached more than $1.5 trillion in the United States, with more than 44 million loan borrowers. Among those with student loan debt, 19 percent are behind on payments, up 5 percent since 2014. Now, student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt category behind mortgage debt. Even so, student loan debt continues to be one of the most difficult debts to get discharged in bankruptcy. Under the United States Bankruptcy Code, student loans are an exception to discharge. This means student loans are usually not exempt from personal liability when undergoing bankruptcy. However, if the debtor can prove that the loan repayment will cause “undue hardship” on the debtor and/or the debtor’s dependents, the student loans could be discharged without legal obligation to repay them. Because “undue hardship” is a subjective term and is undefined within the law, many courts…
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Fear of Losing Your Home? Bankruptcy Can Help Stop Foreclosure

Picture of foreclosure sign

Owning a home and managing your mortgage can be a difficult task that takes a large amount of financial planning and preparation. If you’ve fallen behind more than three months, your property may be threatened by foreclosure. Foreclosure means that the creditors repossess any property and sell the house at an auction. The profits go to repaying the mortgage, taxes, and any legal fees associated with your foreclosure. Why Bankruptcy? When you file for bankruptcy, the court will issue an Order of Relief to create an automatic stay. This informs any creditors that they must cease collection attempts until the bankruptcy is completed The two options for a consumer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it may be more difficult to keep your home due to New Jersey exemption rules. On the other hand, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be the right choice…
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How to Know If Your Termination Was Illegal

Picture of ripping contract

Though most employers have an “at-will” clause in their employment agreements, you can still take legal action if you believe you were wrongfully terminated. “At will” employees can be terminated from job positions at any time, but there are exceptions to the “at-will” rule that can assist you in taking legal action. Exception #1: Written Contracts If there is a written contract that states the duration of employment or other clauses such as firing being dependent on good cause, then you may have a strong case for wrongful termination in court. Exception #2: Implied Contracts This exception to the “at-will” rule is not as strong of an argument as a written contract. However, it may be used in court for your wrongful termination claim. The courts may consider the length of employment, promotions and performance reviews. Exception #3: Infringement on Public Policy Employers cannot terminate a position for participating in…
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What If I Cannot Make My Student Loan Payments?

Our blog explains how to resolve issues with student loan payments.

Student loans are one of the most widely held types of debt in the US. An estimated 44 million Americans owe more than $1.4 trillion in higher education debt. For some people with student loans, payments are problematic. The Brookings Institute estimates that 40 percent of student loan debtors will default by 2024. If you are experiencing difficulty paying back your student loans, there may be measures you can take to avoid default. However, your options will vary depending on whether you have private or federal loans. Federal loans. You may be able to lower your payments on federal student loans by enrolling in an income-driven repayment program. These programs limit monthly payments to a percentage of your income. Income-driven programs include the Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As Your Earn (PAYE), Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) programs. Eligibility for these programs can vary depending on…
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What are Common Rental Scam Red Flags?

We explain common rental scam red flags.

Scammers are constantly on the lookout for targets who are looking to rent residential properties or who are in the process of moving. In New Jersey and elsewhere, scammers could walk away with thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money if you are not careful. Fortunately, many rental scams have common factors that can make them easy to identify. Rental scam red flags may include: The scammer says they cannot meet with you. Scammers may claim they are out of the country or cannot meet for some other reason. Never rent a property without meeting the landlord first. The property listing is vague. Be on the lookout for real estate ads with vague descriptions of the property. This could signal that the person has not seen or been to the apartment or house. You are asked to pay without having met someone or seeing the property. The scammer may demand…
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