Jim received his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., majoring in history. He went on to earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in political science from Fordham University, New York. Jim received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Rutgers University School of Law-Newark, where he served as Co-Chair of the Moot Court Board, and was awarded the Bureau of National Affairs Prize in Labor and Employment Law.
Following law school Jim served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Judge Dorothea Wefing, Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division, retired. On completing his clerkship, Jim became an Associate of the Saddle Brook, New Jersey firm of Cohn Lifland Pearlman, Herrmann and Knopf. There he was fortunate to work closely with the late Albert L. Cohn, Esq. and focused on employment law litigation and appellate practice. Jim went on to join McGovern & Roseman, P.A., the firm founded by his late father, William J. McGovern, focusing on civil litigation while developing the firm’s appellate practice.
In 2009, Jim established his own independent practice, now known as James P. McGovern, Attorney at Law, LLC. Jim has represented clients in criminal and DWI matters, collections, commercial and contract law, and landlord/tenant disputes, as well as handling family law, estate administration, and elder law matters. Jim is focused on estate planning, municipal court practice, civil litigation, bankruptcy and appellate practice. With over twelve years’ experience in litigation and appellate practice, Jim stands ready to address your concerns with competence, efficiency and skill.
Strongly committed to public service, Jim served on the District Ethics Committee for Sussex and Morris Counties, and continues to provide legal services free of charge to indigent persons facing bankruptcy. He also serves as an election monitor helping to uphold individuals’ right to vote. Jim coauthored “Application of the Continuing Violation Doctrine under Title VII and New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination,” 26 Rutgers Law Record 6 (with Maurice McLaughlin). His published cases include QBE Insurance Co. v. P & F Container Services, Inc., 362 N.J. Super. 445, 828 A.2d 935 (App. Div. 2003), which concerns insurance coverage issues and the applicability of the MSC 90 endorsement to interstate/intrastate trucking carriers.
An estate plan is the orderly disposition of one’s assets in accordance with an individual’s wishes and desires. A basic estate plan includes the preparation of a Last Will and Testament, but may also include a Power of Attorney, and a Living Will, as well as more sophisticated documents such as an Irrevocable Insurance Trust. It will also entail an analysis of an individual’s asset portfolio.
An Estate Plan is key to ensuring that our property and assets are disposed of in accordance with our wishes. Without an Estate Plan, our assets will pass not according to what the individual wants, but as the law of intestacy dictates.
Thinking about Estate Planning can be unsettling, so many of us put it off. But in these unsettled times it is all the more urgent for each of us to have an Estate Plan in place to ensure that our loved ones are provided for in accordance with our wishes.
Jim is ready to help you formulate an Estate Plan to meet your wishes and the future needs of your loved ones.
Jim can assist you in selecting the most appropriate form or entity in which to conduct business, and to review with you the factors which bear upon the choice of business entity. Such considerations include the legal requirements of forming each particular entity, the personal liability to which the principals may be exposed, federal and state tax considerations, the means of resolving potential disputes among co-owners or partners, and the types of financing the enterprise will be pursuing.
Jim appears in Municipal Court throughout northern New Jersey to represent people charged with motor vehicle offenses, driving while intoxicated (DWI), violations of municipal ordinances, and petty criminal offenses.
Every municipality in New Jersey, from the largest to the smallest, either has its own municipal court, or shares court facilities with another municipality. New Jersey’s municipal court judges have the full authority to enter penalties including jail, fines, probation, and license suspensions. These penalties often carry serious consequences. For example, even if a judge does not suspend a driver’s license for a motor vehicle offense, the points assessed for that offense may result in a suspension anyway. Likewise, while a plea of guilty to a criminal offense which will not result to jail time may seem the easiest course, this plea – and the resulting criminal conviction – will leave that person with a criminal record, making it harder to find or keep a job, resulting in harsher penalties for any future offenses, creating an obstacle to admission to colleges, the military and professions. Such convictions may also bar one from obtaining a firearms license, holding public office, as well as other opportunities.
New Jersey’s municipal courts hear traffic violations, from speeding to drunk driving, as well as criminal matters known as disorderly persons offenses for which the penalties do not exceed six months in jail (called misdemeanors in some other states). New Jersey’s municipal courts also handle violations of municipal ordinances, such as zoning, health and rent control regulations. New Jersey municipal court cases are heard by a judge sitting without a jury, sitting as trier of law and of fact. Municipal court defendants have a full range of defenses available to them, just as in Superior Court. Although there are significant exceptions, it is often possible to negotiate with a prosecutor for a lesser offense and reduced penalties through plea bargaining. Appeals from municipal courts are heard by New Jersey’s Superior Court in the same county as the municipal court. Further appeals are heard by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, and then New Jersey’s Supreme Court.
New Jersey municipal court is a serious matter, with serious consequences. Having an experienced New Jersey municipal court lawyer on your side is essential. Jim stands ready to assist you.
Jim represents people and business debtors having difficulty meeting their financial obligations. He counsels debtors on how to solve financial difficulties. He can help New Jersey debtors in negotiations obtain resolutions which best serve their interests. When negotiations cannot resolve an issue, he can assist individual debtors in seeking bankruptcy protection through Chapter 7 debt liquidation.
In the difficult times of recent years, many people, confronted by job loss, unexpected medical expenses, or divorce, have found themselves unable to cope financially. These difficulties, challenging in the best of times, are now often devastating. People are finding themselves in financial distress through no fault of their own that often threatens to wipe out a lifetime of hard work.
The bankruptcy process offers significant protections for individuals in dire financial straits. Bankruptcy protection can wipe out or reduce most debts, slow or stop the New Jersey foreclosure process, stop repossession of cars or other property, and bring wage garnishments and harassment from debt collectors to a halt.
Bankruptcy provides a “fresh start” for people in financial distress through Chapter 7 debt liquidation. In Chapter 7, the United States Bankruptcy Court issues a discharge which wipes out all of a debtor’s debt. Much of the debtor’s property is protected from seizure. If there is not a large amount of equity, it may even be possible for a debtor to keep their home.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor is allowed to keep “exempt” property, and turns over “non-exempt” property to the trustee, who uses it to make some payment to creditors. In many New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, virtually all of a person’s property is exempt, and the debtor can therefore keep everything.
It is often possible to keep your car and home, provided you don’t have too much equity in them. However, if there are loans secured by the property you keep (such as mortgages or auto loans), you must keep paying those loans despite the discharge, or the lender can seize the property.
How Does a Typical New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
First you meet with Jim to determine if Chapter 7 bankruptcy will serve you best. If so, he will take your information and prepare a bankruptcy petition. All information regarding your income and assets, debts and expenses must be documented (Jim will give you a list of the documents and information you need to provide). You cannot pick and chose which debts will be paid; you cannot give one creditor an advantage over another. You will review the petition, and then Jim will file it with New Jersey’s bankruptcy court, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. This asks the Court to discharge your debts. Also, you must also take a credit counseling course prior to filing for bankruptcy protection, and a debtor education course no more than 45 days after filing.
Instantly upon filing of your bankruptcy petition, an “automatic stay” takes effect, forbidding your creditors from contacting you and from taking any further action to collect your debts – all collections efforts, threatening phone calls, lawsuits and wage garnishments stop.
About a month or two later, you will go to what is known as a “meeting of creditors” with the United States Bankruptcy Trustee. These meetings are very short, but you must attend. Depending on where you live, New Jersey bankruptcy creditors meetings occur in either Newark, Trenton or Camden. Then, usually between 3 and 6 months after you filed your petition, you will receive your discharge.
What Can’t a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Do For Me?
A Chapter 7 can’t get rid of all obligations. These debts will continue.
Recent tax obligations.
Am I Eligible to File Chapter 7?
Most people in New Jersey are eligible to file for Chapter 7. If your income is below the median income of your state, you are eligible. If your income is above it, you will need to do a review of their expenses and income under the Bankruptcy Code’s “Means Test.” However, the income limits for New Jersey are fairly high, so most people qualify to file Chapter 7. Also, you cannot file a Chapter 7 within 4 years after receiving a Chapter 13 discharge, or 8 years after a Chapter 7 discharge. In many cases you must wait 180 days to refile after a prior case was dismissed.
Jim Can Help
Jim is experienced and proactive in helping people floundering in a sea of debt. Jim has helped New Jersey debtors through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy throughout northern New Jersey. He can help you get back on your feet, obtain a fresh start, and build a stable financial future. Call or email Jim if you think you’d like to know more about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process and to discuss whether it may be appropriate for you.
Elder Law encompasses the legal, insurance and financial issues involved in the aging process. Planning for one’s advanced years may include real estate transactions, wills, powers of attorney, living wills and health care proxies, trusts, and tax planning, as well as Medicaid planning and applications and guardianship proceedings.
The high cost of long-term nursing and assisted living care can drain one’s savings in just a few years, and can create a stressful and insecure future for a spouse. Even though Medicare and standard private medical insurance plans do not cover the cost of long-term nursing care it is possible to preserve financial stability through with proper planning.
Long-term care insurance can be an excellent option for those who qualify and have the financial ability to purchase it; however it may not be available to individuals who are already ill or aged. While Medicaid can pay for nursing home care for qualified applicants, there are significant drawbacks which only be minimized through careful planning.
Jim can assist with the planning and preparation needed to ensure that you or your loved one is well cared for, and that arrangements are in place to maximize your financial security over the long term. Jim stands ready to advise you with Estate and Medicaid planning, wills, powers of attorney, living wills and trusts, and Medicaid applications. In helping you meet these challenges, Jim will bring a concern for you as a person and develop solutions to help you meet your individual needs.
An Expungement Order removes and isolates all records of a person’s apprehension, arrests, detentions, trials, or convictions within the criminal justice system that may be on file with any court, police department, law enforcement agency, criminal justice agency, or detention or correctional facility.
Requesting and obtaining an Expungement can be complicated. Since your conviction and/or arrest, years may have passed, records become lost, and memories faded. In these instances a skilled attorney may be best suited to help ensure that any and all criminal convictions and/or arrests have been identified, and that all relevant jurisdictions and agencies are duly notified once the Court grants the Expungement Order.
Jim has assisted individuals with expungements throughout New Jersey. If you are interested in learning more about the expungement process, Jim will be happy to discuss it with you.
Requesting and obtaining an Expungement can be complicated. Since your conviction and/or arrest, years may have passed, records become lost, and memories faded. In these instances a skilled attorney may be best suited to help.
243 Sparta Avenue, Sparta, NJ 07871
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