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Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ

Can I file Bankruptcy to discharge debt and later purchase a home?

Yes, I normally recommend a client wait two (2) years after receiving the discharge before applying for a mortgage.

Is filing Bankruptcy worse than having bad debt?

No,  after obtaining a Bankruptcy discharge your credit score will increase unlike maintaining bad debts.

If I am married do I have to file Bankruptcy with my spouse?

No, if you and your spouse have separate debt.  Your non-filing spouse would not be affected by you filing Bankruptcy.

Can I obtain my drivers license after filing Bankruptcy if I have a civil judgment? 

Yes, upon avoiding the judicial lien and submitting the Order to the Prothonotary your license can be reinstated PENNDOT.

How often can I file Bankruptcy and receive a discharge of my debts?

You can file a Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy petition every eight (8) years and receive a discharge of your debts.

Should I talk to the police without an attorney present at the police station?

No, I recommend my clients always have any attorney present when the police are questioning you about a criminal matter.

Can I represent myself in a criminal case?

Yes, but I would not recommend it.   Remember, anyone who represents themselves has a fool for a client.

Can I have my criminal record expunged if the charges have been dismissed by the Court?

Yes, the criminal charges can be expunged in a full or partial expungement.  If you were convicted of a Summary Offense, you can have your conviction expunged after five (5) years.  If your conviction involves a misdemeanor or felony, a pardon petition would have to be filed.  If the criminal charges were included in the acceptance to the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (A.R.D.) your charges will be automatically expunged upon completing the program.

How long does the process take for a pardon?

A pardon from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can six (6) months to a year.  The application must be completed with all supporting documents to ensure you would have the best opportunity to receive the pardon.

Can I add my children's name to my deed without paying Real Estate Transfer taxes?

Yes, you can add any lineal heirs name to your deed and not pay any Real Estate Transfer taxes.

If I purchase property with a friend do I own the property if they should die before me?

No, the real estate would have to be titled as joint tenancy with a right of survivorship.  If the property is not titled as such, you would own an undivided half interest of the property with your friends estate.

How long does it take to transfer a deed?

The deed can be prepared within two (2) days after my office has been retained prior to your signature and filed with the County.

If I am injured in an accident should I talk to the adjuster without an attorney?

No, you should advise the adjuster that you would like to have your attorney present so that your version of the accident will not be mistaken by the insurance company.

If I am injured in an accident what should I do?

Make sure you obtain the name, address, insurance information, license plate and telephone numbers of the parties involved including witnesses.  Take a picture of the area or damaged vehicles in the accident.  Obtain a copy of the police report or report number at the responding law enforcement agency.

If I have been injured in the accident should I go to physical therapy?

Yes, your consistent attendance at your physical therapy and doctor appointments are necessary to obtain a favorable settlement or judgment.

The other parent of my child will not let me see my child.  What can I do?

File  a Shared or Partial Custody petition to obtain custody of your child.  The court will allow the parent to see his or her child if they are being prevented from establishing a loving and caring relationship with the child.

The mother of my child is requesting that I pay my child support court order in cash instead of a wage attachment.  Should I do that?

No, upon the entry of a child support order, you are required to have wage attachable income to provide for the proper collection of child support payments.  The failure to pay according to the court order could result in substantial child support arrears.

I have been separated from my spouse for over five (5) years and I do not know where they reside.  Can I still get a divorce?

Yes, we can conduct a diligent search for the spouse.  If we cannot find the spouse, we can file a Motion for Alternative Service by Publication.  

My husband and I have been married for over seven (7) years and we both have pensions.  Can I still get half of his pension?

Yes, pensions are divided by the court pursuant to Equitable Distribution and pension assets would be distributed to the parties by the court by a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

What is marital property in Pennsylvania?

Marital property is all property acquired during the marriage from the date of marriage until the date of separation.

What is non-marital property?

Any property acquired before marriage or  after separation, inheritances and gifts received during the marriage, (except gifts between the spouses) and property excluded pursuant to valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

How is spousal and child support established in Pennsylvania?

Support is calculated pursuant to the net income of the parties.  Child care and extracurricular events for the child would also be included in the child support order. In spousal support cases, the dependent spouse can receive support from the spouse with the higher income.

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