The Protection from Abuse Act is a civil remedy to provide protection from abuse or the reasonable fear of serious bodily injury between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood. A protection from abuse order, commonly known as a PFA can have significant collateral consequences. It can affect […]
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO START A STEP-PARENT ADOPTION?
If you are a stepparent considering adoption of a step-child, the first thing you should do is consult with an experienced step-parent adoption attorney. Even if the adoptee’s parent has not been involved, steps must be taken to terminate parental rights before proceeding with the adoption. If a parent is no longer involved with the […]
CAN I CHANGE MY CHILD’S NAME?
Changing the name of a child usually requires court approval but there are exceptions to this rule. For example, a separate petition is not required in an adoption proceeding to change the child’s name. Where court approval is required, a Petition must be filed. The petitioner has the burden of proving that the proposed name […]
NAME CHANGE DURING DIVORCE
Pennsylvania law permits a party to resume their prior surname during the pendency of a divorce or after a divorce decree is entered. To resume any prior surname that a spouse had prior to the marriage, the party must file a notice with the Court where the divorce action is filed. The notice must indicate […]
HOW WILL MY BUSINESS BE TREATED IN MY DIVORCE CASE?
If a party owes or co-owns a family business, there can be very unique challenges to deal with in a divorce case. A Pennsylvania Court is authorized to divide the value of a business in a divorce case. Therefore it is important to carefully consider whether you will acquire a business valuation to determine the […]
SHOULD I CONSIDER A VOCATIONAL EVALUATION?
A vocational evaluation is completed by a skilled professional who analyzes one’s work and earnings history, education and life experiences to determine earning capacity and ability to work. The evaluator may performs a current labor market search of all the available jobs that one qualify for, complete with contact information, salary information and training requirements. […]
HOW GIFTS ARE TREATED IN CHILD SUPPORT CASES
Pennsylvania law does not include gifts in the definition of income for child support. However, a gift may be considered as a reason for deviating from the child support guidelines. This means that even if a gift is not counted to determine one’s income, the gift can be considered as a reason for deviating from […]
SHOULD I CONSIDER CO-PARENTING COUNSELING?
Co-parenting counseling is a therapeutic service that can help individuals communicate effectively in a separated family or divorce to benefit the children. This service is not a magical quick fix but rather a process whereby parents or caregivers work with a trained mental health professional to learn how to communicate in a way that focuses […]
DEALING WITH A LETTER FROM CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES
If you receive a letter from Children and Youth Services notifying you that you are suspected of child abuse, it is completely natural to panic. You will likely be petrified of what may happen as a result of receiving such a letter. The first thing that you should do when you receive such a letter […]
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR CUSTODY TRIAL
If parents are unable to reach an agreement on custody of their children, a judge will hear all relevant evidence in your case and make a decision as to what custody schedule is in the best interests of the child. In ordering any form of custody, the judge is required consider the following factors, while […]
DIVIDING STUDENT LOAN DEBTS IN DIVORCE CASES
If you are involved in a divorce and one spouse has student loan debt acquired during the marriage, you may be curious about how a divorce court will deal with distributing the debt. If the student loan debt was acquired during the marriage it is considered marital debt. Marital debt is ordinarily divided between the […]
VALUATION OF REAL ESTATE IN DIVORCE
Does your divorce involve real estate and rental properties? If so, here are some important points to consider if these assets exist in your divorce case: Obtain clear current copies of your deeds and leases. Provide your divorce attorney with clear current copies of your deeds, leases, and other legal documents to identify the real […]
HIGH NET WORTH DIVORCES
High asset divorce requires the experience of a trusted divorce attorney who knows how to handle the complex issues that can arise in these cases. If your marital assets include real estate, including condominiums, vacation homes, mobile homes, time shares, and other important holdings such as businesses, stock options, stocks, mutual funds, money market accounts, […]
HOW COLLEGE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS ARE DEALT WITH IN DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS
Pennsylvania law does not require divorced or separated parents to contribute to their children’s post-secondary educational expenses. However, parents can agree to pay these expenses in a written divorce settlement agreement. Part of the divorce agreement can be how to treat college savings and custodial accounts established for the children. There are various ways that […]
DIVISION OF MILITARY RETIRED PAY IN PENNSYLVANIA DIVORCE CASES
State divorce courts are authorized to divide and distribute military non-disability retired pay. Pennsylvania treats military retired pay as marital property. The federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act authorizes courts to award up to 50% of the disposable retired pay of a military spouse, provided that the parties were married for at least ten […]
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY ENGAGEMENT RING IN A PENNSYLVANIA DIVORCE CASE?
Pennsylvania divorce courts have statutory authority to divide all marital property, which includes all property acquired from the date of the marriage through the date of separation, unless an exception applies. One exception is that property acquired by gift is not considered marital property and thus is not subject to equitable distribution by a divorce […]
HOW ARE MY SPOUSES’ MONTHLY DISABILITY INSURANCE PAYMENTS TREATED IN DIVORCE?
Generally, marital property is “all property acquired by either party during the marriage.” 23 Pa. C.S. § 3501(a). The law recognizes several classifications of property that are not considered marital property. For example, “any payment received as a result of an award or settlement for any cause of action or claim which accrued prior to […]
CONSIDERING YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD IN YOUR DIVORCE CASE
Are you a parent with a special needs child? Are you and your spouse or partner separating? Parents of children with special needs face unique challenges when separating or divorcing. Divorce can be a time of stress for a lot of parents. When a special needs child is involved the conflict can be even more […]
COHABITATION IS A BAR TO ALIMONY
Pennsylvania law precludes an award of alimony if a party is cohabitating with a member of the opposite sex or gender who is not a member of the family of the petitioner within the degrees of consanguinity. But what constitutes “cohabitation?” Cohabitation is determined by the specific circumstances in the case. The Pennsylvania Superior Court […]
CAN I DATE DURING MY DIVORCE?
Inevitably, most people will want to date at some point following separation from their spouse. The following three points should be explored before you start dating: How will dating effect your children outside the courtroom? Parents should be sensitive to how their children are feeling during the divorce process. It is difficult for many children […]