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Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

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.

Father's fight for their parental rights in Pennsylvania

Having a child is often the most important day in the lives of their parents. Whether the couple is married, divorced, or never married one another in the first place, a father's right to remain an active part of his children's life is important. A child needs the affection, attention and encouragement from both of their parents to flourish, and the parent's relationship with one another should not affect that bond.

Fathers in Pennsylvania have recently begun protesting what they believe is a one-sided approach taken by courts. According to the PA Father's Rights Movement, judges typically side with mothers when it comes to determining child custody and other family law matters. One father claimed he had not been able to see his children in more than three years and all motions filed by him had been dismissed without adequate reason. Fathers were raising the issue to address the lack of equal parenting time and hoping legislators could figure out a way to get their voices heard.

Are millenials more likely to sign prenups?

Burdened with debt from many sides, millenials are taking their time to make important decisions, like choosing to marry. In an attempt to become financially independent first, they are driving the marriage rate down. Taking the time to settle, however, does have its advantages, as they are being strategic about who they choose and fearful of separation, thus, bringing the divorce rate down as well.

Since the 1980s, divorce rates have seen a 24% decline, and experts are crediting millenials for it. Often the product of divorced parents, they are hesitant of going through the process themselves. Resultantly, they are trying to avoid unstable marriages by taking their time to find someone to marry and getting their finances in order in the process. Unlike generations before them, they do not prioritize marriage and are getting married at a later age. This maturity may also contribute to a more stable and healthy relationship. Couples are also more likely to live together for around five years before tying the knot. Cohabitation has gone up six-fold from the previous generation.

Filing for a Pennsylvania protection from abuse

As a Pennsylvania resident who has a genuine fear of someone with whom you used to share a relationship, you may be exploring your options and trying to determine what you might be able to do to protect yourself or your child. In Pennsylvania, you may be able to obtain at least temporary protection against your abuser by securing what is known as a protection from abuse.

While the content of a protection from abuse order can vary to some degree based on the specifics of your situation and whether the order applies to just you, or you and your child or children, such an order will typically establish guidelines your abuser must abide by. For example, it may ban your abuser from contacting or harassing you, or you and your child, or it may force your abuser to return certain belongings of yours or your child.

An overview of joint custody

Of all the complicated issues that are involved in a divorce case in Pennsylvania, the parties usually hope that, above all else, they reach a satisfactory arrangement regarding child custody. After all, even if a happy marriage is no longer realistic, the couple will be forever bound together as parents of their children. That means they must attempt to reach an arrangement that works for all parties involved.

In most cases, the right result is a form of joint custody. Put simply, joint custody is an arrangement that recognizes that the parents must, and should, share responsibility for how a child is raised and cared for. But, there are two different aspects to joint custody: physical custody and legal custody.

Facing a wide range of issues in a divorce case

No two divorce cases in Pennsylvania are the same. However, many divorce cases involve similar issues that must be addressed by the divorcing couple, despite the differences in factual scenarios. Those issues can involve property division, alimony, child custody and child support, among others.

When a Pennsylvania couple is facing issues in a divorce case, it is important to understand the legal options that are available. For some couples, it may be possible to negotiate an out-of-court settlement of the outstanding issues, while, for others, it may be possible to work through divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce process. Unfortunately, there are cases in which the issues must be litigated in a family law court in front of a judge. Those instances are the ones that can drain a couple's time and financial resources in quite a substantial way.

Consider all assets in the property division process

Pennsylvania residents contemplating divorce may realize that, as part of the property division process, they will need to make a full accounting of their assets and debts. However, in many cases, couples come to realize that they have more assets and debts than they realized.

In their initial thoughts about property division, most people think of their primary assets: their home, bank accounts and vehicles. However, many people have more assets that will be part of the property division process, such as retirement accounts, business assets, investments accounts and even valuable collectibles. If these assets are considered marital property, they will be subject to the property division process in a divorce case.

What factors might make divorce less likely?

Many of our readers in Pennsylvania have probably heard the common refrain that half of all marriages in America end in divorce. But, these statistics are hard to pin down. The reality is that no one goes into a marriage thinking that there might be a 50% chance that it won't last. So, what factors might make a divorce less likely?

Well, according to a recent report, there are actually quite a few factors. One study took a look at the rate of divorces in America on a state-by-state basis. The study found a number of factors that indicate a relationship is likely to be healthy, and less likely to end in a divorce.

What expenses can child support cover?

Some couples who go through a divorce in Pennsylvania arrive at child support orders after contentious arguments in court. Others are able to negotiate an agreement on the amount and frequency of child support payments between themselves. However, some of our readers may wonder, after the child support order is in place, what expenses can child support be used to cover?

Child support can be used to cover a wide range of expenses. Most people probably think of expenses, like food and clothing, but child support can be used for many other expenses as well. Such expenses can include: medical treatment; entertainment; education; and child care, just to name a few. Most of these types of expenses are considered basic necessities, so the parent who receives the child support payments is justified to pay for such expenses with the funds they receive from the other parent.

Know the basics about child custody

When a divorce case in Pennsylvania involves child custody issues, the two soon-to-be ex-spouses may feel the need to push forcefully for the outcome they believe is best for the child. And, why not? For the vast majority of parents anywhere, their kids are the most important part of their lives. A divorce case can become quite complicated when child custody issues are involved, but that doesn't mean that a good result cannot be obtained.

If parents in Pennsylvania know the basics about child custody matters, they will likely be in a better position to understand how the issue may be resolved. For starters, it is important to know the difference between "legal custody" and "physical custody." The parent with legal custody has the right to make important decisions about the child's life, such as where the child will attend school, how the child's healthcare will be handled and where the child will attend church, if any, among other decisions. The parent with physical custody is the parent who the child will live with, primarily.

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