Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce FAQs

Do we need to go to court if we have a divorce agreement?

No.  Parties who reach an agreement do not need to appear in court in order to have their Divorce Decree issued.  

What if all our property is in my spouse's name?

In Pennsylvania, even if all the assets or debt is in one person's name, it may still be considered marital property and divided between you in your divorce. Courts primarily look at when the asset or a liability was acquired to determine whether a particular item is marital or not.

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Custody FAQs

What if I want to relocate with my child after divorce?

Pennsylvania's custody law provides a specific procedure when a parent wishes to relocate.  If you are considering relocating, or your child's parent is threatening to, be sure to consult a qualified attorney to discuss the relocation process.  Misunderstanding the statute or not timely filing the proper documentation could result in the court denying a request to relocate or could constitute your waiver of the ability to object to a custody relocation.

Can I get custody of my grandchildren?

Grandparents' custody rights are controlled by the Pennsylvania child custody law. The facts of your situation will control your matter.  If you would like to discuss your Pennsylvania grandparent custody matter, please contact me and I would be happy to meet with you.

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Support FAQs

My spouse earned most of the household income. Can I get support during the divorce process?

Alimony pendente lite, like spousal support, is a form of temporary support available through a Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Section.  Its goal is to keep spouses on an even playing field while a divorce action is pending, so that if one spouse made the majority of the income during the marriage, and that income is suddenly taken away, the other spouse can continue to meet their needs, afford an attorney, and the like.  The formula for the amount of this support is outlined in the state guidelines, and will be calculated using net incomes, taking into consideration any child support Order in place, and any allowable deviations.

What is the difference between spousal support and alimony pendente lite?

Before a divorce complaint is filed, and provided the parties are living separately, support for the spouse who earns less is called spousal support and may be subject to what is known as an entitlement defense.  That is, if fault grounds are present, the party being asked to pay spousal support may raise the issue of fault grounds, which may bar the receiving spouse from being awarded spousal support. Once a divorce complaint is filed, however, the support is calculated the same way as spousal support but is known as alimony pendente lite, or APL, and the entitlement defense is no longer available to the payor spouse.  Both kinds of support are calculated using the parties' monthly net incomes according to state guidelines.

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Estate Planning FAQs

Why do I need a will?

If you die without a will, the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will determine how your property is distributed.  You may lose the opportunity to distribute the assets you worked hard to gain in the manner you think is best. A will can also direct who becomes guardian of minor children, and how a minor's assets should be managed until they are old enough to manage them on their own.  These are not decisions to be made lightly, or leave to chance. Retain control over your assets and protect your loved ones with a will, and make sure to review the document periodically to ensure it continues to represent your wishes.

What is a living will?

A living will helps you retain control over medical decisions in the event you are not able to make a decision for yourself.  A living will can help direct your treatment providers and family members regarding whether you wish to receive certain life-sustaining measures, surgeries, or whether you simply want medical intervention to keep you pain free.  This document can greatly reduce the stress of an already painful time for your loved ones in the event you are in a terminal condition.

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