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Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

Factors to consider in child support calculations

Raising a child in today's tough economic times can be financially stressful for many parents. Daily expenses add up, not including the costs of extracurricular activities, doctor's visits and school events. Where a couple living together as a unit can manage their time and budget so that either both are working or one individual's salary can cover all the expenses, this changes after the couple separates. One parent, often the custodial parent, is left trying to cover most of the child's expenses.

Parents can approach the court in Pennsylvania to get the other parent to pitch in with the costs of raising the child until he or she is 18. The case begins when an application for child support is submitted with a local Domestic Relations Office, who can help with establishing paternity, locating the other parent, collection and distribution of child support and enforcement of those obligations.

How can parents ease the back to school transition post divorce?

Going back to school is difficult enough for Pennsylvania children, add to it the uncertainty that comes with divorce and it should come as no surprise that this can be an overwhelming time. Already children are struggling with new classes, teachers, schedules, friends, activities and routines and, if parents are not getting along, this can be more upsetting for children. Divorced parents should use the beginning of the school year to review their parenting plans and communication strategies to ensure that going back to school is as smooth as possible for children.

Schools send out a calendar with important dates and holidays at the beginning of the school year. Similarly, after school programs such as sports and musical concerts also send out their schedules soon after school begins. Parents should go through these papers and add these to a shared calendar while also accommodating them in their parenting plan. This way, parents can figure out transportation, costs and locations for each major event for the whole year early on.

Don't go through the motions: know your rights in a divorce

Going through a divorce, Pennsylvania residents may just want to survive the process and get through it to the other side. The paperwork, evaluations, documentations, discussions and disputes can seem never-ending, and when one is not going through an amicable one, it can be emotionally taxing as well. As a result, people may end up agreeing to terms that are not in their best interest in the long run, just to speed up the process.

However, getting through a divorce is not just about going through the motions. It is important to understand how almost every decision made can have a long-term effect on one's life. For example, neglecting to talk about who will pay for the children's college or who is going to pay back the credit card bill, can have serious financial repercussions that may prevent someone from achieving financial independence.

Are postnuptial agreements enforceable in Pennsylvania?

Though the benefits of prenuptial agreements in easing property division after a divorce have been mentioned many times to Pennsylvania residents, the reality is that many couples may still shy away from entering into one. Deciding who gets what in case the couple splits up, even before they get married to one another, can be a difficult conversation to have, which is why many couples avoid it. However, not all hope is lost. Married couples can enter into a postnuptial agreement any time after they tie the knot.

Similar to prenups, postnups are agreements that can be used to improve domestic harmony and protect business and individual assets in a marriage. Many couples are not even aware that they have the option to enter into an agreement regarding property division after they have gotten married.

Understand a father's right to child custody and visitation

In Pennsylvania, as in the rest of the country, family structures are changing. While many may follow a traditional route and get married, many couples have children without entering into matrimony with one another.

It is important to understand how the legal parenting relationship changes depending on one's marital relationship with the biological mother of one's child.

How much will you have to pay in child support?

Ending a marital or nonmarital union is no easy task. When children are in the picture, it makes the split even more challenging, as there are more lives involved and more decisions to make.

One of the most complicated and worrisome aspects is child support, whether you are on the giving or receiving end. If you have the obligation to pay, it can help to understand how the court decides how much support you must provide.

How can I stay financially secure during my divorce?

Many divorcing couples do not realize that maintaining two separate households after a divorce is very costly. In many instances, the same family income is now being divided to run two residences and pay the bills associated with them. In addition to this, one spouse is inevitably paying spousal and child support, straining finances even more. Thus, it is important to approach divorce proceedings with a clear head and accurate picture of one's finances.

Developing a post divorce budget can be helpful in these situations. Pennsylvania residents should take some time to know what their monthly expenses will look like. This is an even more important step for those individuals who have never dealt with bills or managed the household budget alone because their spouse has been in charge of it so far. Figuring out what one's immediate needs are, how much they will cost in the short-run and the long-run is beneficial and could include a new car, a new place to live, insurance and everyday items such as groceries and gas.

How does a prenuptial agreement protect a business?

While it may take a Pennsylvania couple some time to accept that their marriage is over and it is time to take the next step of getting the divorce, once the decision is made couples want to get through the motions quickly. No one wants a long drawn out divorce, as it consumes energy and finances. One way couples can plan to avoid the long drawn out process of property division is by entering into a prenuptial agreement at the time of the marriage.

Business owners may benefit even more than others from prenuptial agreements, as it allows them to protect their businesses from getting split during a divorce. Figuring out who gets the company and who has rights to which assets can be difficult and acrimonious to decide, especially if one party had already started up the company before getting married.

Do separate bank accounts make property division easier?

Pennsylvania residents might remember reading a recent post highlighting the differences between millennial couples and those of previous generations. For example, millennials are getting married later and pulling down the divorce rate. It was also mentioned how they are trying to be prudent about their financial choices, opting to live with their significant other before tying the knot in an attempt to drive down living costs. Another way in which millennials are different from their older counterparts is their approach to bank accounts after marriage.

According to one survey, 28% of millennials are opting to keep their bank accounts separate from their spouses and forgoing the traditional joint bank accounts. This is more than double the amount of baby boomers and Gen X couples that keep their accounts separate. One of the reasons for this is because it has become easier to split money through applications that allow one to pay someone immediately.

Move on after a divorce with our help

For most couples, marriage represents stability and routine. The end of a marriage brings an upheaval of emotions, finances, and life in general. Embarking upon the unfamiliar route is daunting for most Pennsylvania residents, especially because it is riddled with issues that affect the rest of a person's life. For example, child custody agreements decide where children will spend the majority of their time, while property division awards decide who lives where and gets what. If these issues are not handled properly, the repercussions can reverberate for ages.

Everyone's circumstances are different, which is why there is no one-solution-fits-all approach when it comes to divorces. While the end result is the same-the termination of a marriage-the route to achieving this objective is different for everyone. Its important for divorcing individuals to know what they want to achieve and how to go about getting it.

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