April 22, 2018

Alimony in Divorce & Bankruptcy

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In Divorce:
“In determining whether alimony shall be awarded, and the duration and amount of the award, the court shall consider the evidence presented by each party and shall consider the length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, earning capacity, vocational skills, education, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties and the award, if any, which the court may make pursuant to section 46b-81, and, in the case of a parent to whom the custody of minor children has been awarded, the desirability and feasibility of such parent’s securing employment.” -Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-82

In Bankruptcy:
Alimony is treated as ordinary income or a necessary expense (depending if you are receiving it or paying it) in Bankruptcy. Back-owed alimony is not discharge-able in Bankruptcy.

If you have questions about Divorce or Bankruptcy, please contact me here for a free consultation.

Questions Frequently Asked About the [Connecticut] Lemon Law Program

My vehicle meets the definition of a “Lemon” and my case has been accepted for arbitration.  Do I automatically get a refund or replacement vehicle?

The law provides basic guidelines for remedies, but there is no fixed rule.  Each case is treated individually by the arbitration panel when determining an award.  If their decision is in your favor, the award will generally be:
  • A replacement with a comparable new car.
OR
  • A refund of the contract price.  The arbitrator may or may not award a mileage deduction for the use that you have had of the vehicle.  The statutory mileage deduction is computed by multiplying the present mileage of the vehicle times the contract price and dividing that figure by 120,000. Refund or replacement awards may also include reimbursement for other damages or costs.  We advise you to have receipts.
  • If the arbitrator finds the defects in question do not substantially impair the use, safety or value of the vehicle, a “no action” decision is rendered.  Therefore, no further action to remedy the problem shall be required of the manufacturer.  Your recourse at this point would be to seek legal counsel for private litigation against the manufacturer.  You could only reapply for Lemon Law arbitration for a different defect, which meets the eligibility requirements.
 When can I expect an arbitration decision?
The Department tries to resolve disputes within 60 days from the date the completed form is received to the date a decision is reached.  Once the arbitrator renders the decision, it cannot be changed or modified by the arbitrator or the Department.
What if I’m dissatisfied with the arbitration decision?
In most cases, the decision of the arbitrator will be final.  You will not be able to appeal the decision to the court except under very limited circumstances.  Therefore, if you are considering taking legal action against the manufacturer of your automobile, you should consult with a private attorney before signing the Agreement to Arbitrate. The best way to find out how to appeal a decision is to consult with an attorney.
When can I expect the manufacturer to comply with an arbitration award?
The written decision will state the exact date for performance.  The arbitrator will make every effort to see that the problem is resolved at the earliest possible date.  The Department will contact you within ten (10) days after the performance date to determine if the manufacturer has complied with the arbitrator’s decision.  If the manufacturer has not complied with the award, the case is referred to the Office of the Attorney General.
What if I request arbitration, but the manufacturer and I resolve the problem on our own?
You are free to reach a settlement through your own efforts at any time before the arbitrator renders the decision.  If this happens, you must contact the Department with the specific terms of the decision settlement.  The information should include the following:
   1.   The date on which you accepted the manufacturer’s offer of a pre-hearing settlement.
   2.   The specific terms of the pre-hearing settlement:
–   Was there a Refund or Replacement or Repair or Other Remedy?
–   Who will pay for the difference in model/year upgrade?  How much?
–   Will there be a deduction for mileage?
–   Who is responsible for registering the new vehicle, including cost?
–   Who is responsible for the difference in sales tax?
–   If the settlement is a repair, what happens if the repair does not work?
–   What type of warranty will be given with the replacement or repair?
–   What monies is the consumer responsible for?
–   What monies is the manufacturer responsible for?
   3.   The date by which the terms of the decision settlement will occur.
Before you accept an agreement from the manufacturer make sure all costs are in writing. This will avoid any problems or “hidden costs” when the exchange takes place. The Department has no jurisdiction over a pre-decision settlement.
If we reach an agreement on our own but the manufacturer then does not meet the terms, what should I do?
Notify the Department of Consumer Protection, Lemon Law Office in writing, if the terms of your settlement are not met within a specified time frame.  At that point, the State arbitration process may resume and a new hearing date scheduled.  Keep in mind, the Lemon Law legislation does not cover settlements made between a consumer and manufacturer prior to a decision by the arbitrator.
Certified manufacturer’s programs
If your manufacturer has an arbitration program that has been certified by the Office of the Attorney General, you will be required to use that program before you can be eligible for the Lemon Law arbitration program.  As of this printing no third party dispute resolution program has been certified by the Office of the Attorney General.
If you are injured by a procedure of a certified Manufacturer’s program, you may file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General.  You may appeal to the state arbitrator for a new hearing.  The fees and procedures are the same as outlined earlier for arbitration hearings.
Your Right To Know:  posted notices in dealerships
If any manufacturer does not have an arbitration program certified by the Attorney General, then a conspicuous notice of the state-operated arbitration program must be prominently displayed in all car dealerships. Keep in mind, the Lemon Law Arbitration Program is designed for consumers and manufacturers, not dealerships.
REPOSTED FROM: http://www.ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=1646&Q=276158&PM=1

Nonadversarial Divorce (“Non ad”)

Nonadversarial Divorce is a simplified process by which eligible parties can obtain a divorce within 35 days without having to come to court and appear before a judge.

What are the benefits of a Nonadversarial Divorce?

  • You can obtain a divorce in days, as compared to the regular process, which takes at least 3 months
  • You don’t have to come to court
  • You can move on with your life more quickly

Are you eligible?

If you and your spouse meet the following criteria, you may be eligible:

  • We have been married 8 (eight) years or less
  • Neither of us is pregnant
  • No children were born to us or adopted by us before or during the marriage
  • Neither of us has any interest or title in any real property
  • The total value of all property owned by us is less than $35,000
  • Neither of us has a defined benefit pension plan
  • Neither of us has a pending bankruptcy
  • Neither of us is applying for or receiving Medicaid benefits
  • There is no other action for dissolution of our marriage pending
  • There are no restraining or protective orders between us

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

Role of the [Connecticut] Courts

Maintaining Order – The judicial system in Connecticut exists to uphold the laws of the state. Our courts help to maintain order in our society by:

  • determining the guilt or innocence of persons accused of breaking the law;
  • resolving disputes involving civil or personal rights;
  • interpreting constitutional provisions of laws enacted by the legislature and deciding what is to be the law of the state when none exists for certain situations. The court decision then becomes a precedent to be applied in like situations unless later overruled or modified by the Supreme Court or the General Assembly; and,
  • determining whether a law violates the Constitution of either the State of Connecticut or the United States.

Separation of Powers – Under our constitution, the courts are one of three branches of government:

  • The Legislative Branch (the Senate and House of Representatives) is responsible for creating new laws.
  • The Executive Branch (the Governor and executive branch agencies) is responsible for enforcing them.
  • The Judicial Branch (the courts) is responsible for interpreting and upholding our laws.

Relationship of Connecticut Courts to Federal Courts
In Connecticut, as throughout the United States, there are two judicial systems. One is the state system, established under the authority of the state constitution; the other is the federal system, established under the United States Constitution. Connecticut courts are courts of general jurisdiction. These courts handle most criminal matters and a variety of civil matters, including contracts, personal injury cases, dissolution of marriage and other legal controversies. In some instances, decisions of state courts may be appealed to the United States Supreme Court if a question of federal constitutional law arises.

Federal courts have jurisdiction over matters involving federal law, and over the following matters: cases brought by the United States, cases between two states or the citizens of two different states, cases between a state and a foreign state or its citizens, admiralty and maritime cases, and cases affecting ambassadors and other diplomatic personnel.

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

Organization of the Courts [In Connecticut]: Probate Court

In addition to the state-operated courts, Connecticut has probate courts, which have jurisdiction over the estates of deceased persons, testamentary trusts, adoptions, conservators, commitment of the mentally ill, guardians of the persons, and estates of minors.

Each Probate Court has one judge, who is elected to a four-year term by the electors of the probate district. There are 54 Probate Court districts and six Regional Children’s Probate Courts. State law requires that probate judges be attorneys, and they are paid through a statutory formula. Probate Courts are housed in municipal facilities, most often town and city halls.

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

Organization of the Courts [in Connecticut]: Appellate Courts

The Appellate Court, like the Supreme Court, reviews decisions made in the Superior Court to determine if errors of law have been committed.

There are nine Appellate Court judges, one of whom is designated by the Chief Justice to be Chief Judge. Appellate Court courtroomIn addition, judges who are eligible and who have not attained the age of 70 may elect to take senior status and remain as members of the court.

Generally, three judges hear and decide each case, although the court may also sit en banc, which means that the entire membership of the court participates in the decision.

Like the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court does not hear witnesses, but renders its decision based upon the record, briefs and oral argument.

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Website)

Organization of the Courts [In Connecticut]: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the state’s highest court. It consists of the Chief Justice and six associate justices. In addition, justices who are eligible and who have not yet attained the age of 70 may elect to take senior status and remain as members of the court.

Supreme Court Courtroom

A panel of five justices hears and decides each case. On occasion, the Chief Justice summons the court to sit en banc as a full court of seven, instead of a panel of five, to hear particularly important cases.

The Supreme Court reviews decisions made in the Superior Court to determine if any errors of law have been committed. It also reviews selected decisions of the Appellate Court.

Generally, the Supreme Court does not hear witnesses or receive evidence. It decides each case on:

  • the record of lower court proceedings;
  • briefs, which are used by counsel to convey to the court the essential points of each party’s case; and,
  • oral argument based on the content of the briefs.

State law specifies which types of appeals may be brought directly to the Supreme Court from the Superior Court, thereby bypassing the Appellate Court. These cases include: decisions where the Superior Court has found a provision of the state constitution or a state statute invalid and convictions of capital felonies. All other appeals are brought to the Appellate Court.

The Supreme Court may transfer to itself any matter filed in the Appellate Court, and may agree to review decisions of the Appellate Court through a process called certification. Except for any matter brought under its original jurisdiction, as defined by the State Constitution, the Supreme Court may transfer any matter pending before it to the Appellate Court.

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

New Bankruptcy Form, Rules Take Effect

Individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 must use a new form that presents their payment plan in a more uniform and transparent manner, and creditors will have less time to submit a proof of claim, under new bankruptcy rules and form amendments that took effect Dec. 1.

By creating greater uniformity of where specific types of information must be entered, the new national Chapter 13 plan form will make it easier for creditors, lawyers and judges to ensure that all elements of a bankruptcy agreement reached under Chapter 13 comply with federal laws. Chapter 13, sometimes known as the wage earner’s plan, enables qualified individual filers to reschedule and make debt payments, allowing them to keep their homes and other property.

Bankruptcy courts previously had relied on local versions of Chapter 13 plans, which varied from district to district, in resolving Chapter 13 cases. They now must either use a new national Bankruptcy Form 113, or create a locally adapted form that contains key elements of the national form. In recent months, courts have been updating electronic filing systems and notifying local bankruptcy lawyers and filers of the pending changes.

The deadline for creditors to file a proof of claim was revised in an amendment to Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 3002.

The new deadline will affect bankruptcies filed under Chapter 7, in which debtors liquidate assets; Chapter 12, which enables family farmers and fishermen to restructure their finances; and Chapter 13. Previously creditors had 90 days after an initial meeting of creditors was held. Now, a proof of claim must be submitted within 70 days of the filing of a bankruptcy petition.

Federal rules amendments typically follow a three-year process, which includes multiple layers of review and extensive public comment.

In April, the Supreme Court transmitted the new rules regarding bankruptcy, as well as amendments to Appellate and Civil Rules of Procedure, and Rules of Evidence, to Congress. The new rules took effect Dec. 1 when Congress did not act to prevent their implementation.

Find a full list of the new rules and form amendments and the Current Rules of Practice and Procedure. Find additional information about the bankruptcy process.

(Re-posted from http://www.uscourts.gov/news/2017/12/01/new-bankruptcy-form-rules-take-effect)

Role of the Courts [in Connecticut]

Maintaining Order – The judicial system in Connecticut exists to uphold the laws of the state. Our courts help to maintain order in our society by:

  • determining the guilt or innocence of persons accused of breaking the law;
  • resolving disputes involving civil or personal rights;
  • interpreting constitutional provisions of laws enacted by the legislature and deciding what is to be the law of the state when none exists for certain situations. The court decision then becomes a precedent to be applied in like situations unless later overruled or modified by the Supreme Court or the General Assembly; and,
  • determining whether a law violates the Constitution of either the State of Connecticut or the United States.

Separation of Powers – Under our constitution, the courts are one of three branches of government:

  • The Legislative Branch (the Senate and House of Representatives) is responsible for creating new laws.
  • The Executive Branch (the Governor and executive branch agencies) is responsible for enforcing them.
  • The Judicial Branch (the courts) is responsible for interpreting and upholding our laws.

Relationship of Connecticut Courts to Federal Courts
In Connecticut, as throughout the United States, there are two judicial systems. One is the state system, established under the authority of the state constitution; the other is the federal system, established under the United States Constitution. Connecticut courts are courts of general jurisdiction. These courts handle most criminal matters and a variety of civil matters, including contracts, personal injury cases, dissolution of marriage and other legal controversies. In some instances, decisions of state courts may be appealed to the United States Supreme Court if a question of federal constitutional law arises.

Federal courts have jurisdiction over matters involving federal law, and over the following matters: cases brought by the United States, cases between two states or the citizens of two different states, cases between a state and a foreign state or its citizens, admiralty and maritime cases, and cases affecting ambassadors and other diplomatic personnel.

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation

WilburCross_proclamation

State of Connecticut
By His Excellency Wilbur L. Cross, Governor

Proclamation

Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of

Public Thanksgiving

for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth — for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives — and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man’s faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; — that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.

Given under my hand and seal of the State at the Capitol, in Hartford, this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty six and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and sixty-first.

Wilbur L. Cross
By His Excellency’s Command: C. John Satti, Secretary

(Reposted from the Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

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