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Norristown Family Law Blog

Getting divorced? Tips for choosing a mediator

The word divorce has many negative connotations and often conjures up images of belongings being thrown out of second-story windows and forlorn children sitting idly by as their parents fight. While these types of scenes may make for good television programming or tabloid fodder, for divorcing couples a conflict-ridden divorce only intensifies what is already likely a difficult process. To avoid this added expense and stress, many couples today are opting to mediate rather than litigate their divorces.

The benefits of mediation are numerous with a mediated divorce typically saving couples significant amounts of time and money. Additionally, the process is much more collaborative and empowers couples to make decisions about important issues that are likely to have a significant impact on their lives and the lives of their children.

Collaborative law: The process

You and your spouse have made the decision to end your marriage. It's a difficult time, and no matter the circumstances, there will be challenging moments ahead. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the stress and conflict as much as possible and make the process easier on everyone.

Collaborative law has become increasingly popular as a way to get through a divorce without further damaging relationships in the process. If you are interested in this option, here is an overview of how it works and what to expect.

For recently divorced parents, communication is key as kids head back to school

As summer winds down, school-age children throughout Pennsylvania are preparing to head back to school. For parents and children alike, this time of year can be stressful as the whole family must adjust to new daily routines and responsibilities. In cases where a child's parents recently separated or divorced, heading back to school this fall may be a particularly challenging time for everyone.

To help a child not only transition back to school, but also adjust to all of the changes related to a divorce or separation, parents must do their best to foster a healthy co-parenting relationship. Communication is a key component of any effective co-parenting relationship and parents would be wise to discuss and take the following steps as their child prepares for another school year.

Why you shouldn't make false accusations - even during divorce

False accusations happen surprisingly often in divorces. One of the most common scenarios is the woman accusing the man of domestic violence in an attempt to legally force him out of the house and increase the woman's chances of being awarded sole custody. However, false accusations go both ways and can include accusations regarding hiding assets, substance abuse and infidelity.

While it may seem like a quick way to get a leg up in family law proceedings, making false accusations always backfires. Here are just a few of the ways it can have a negative impact on your divorce, both during and after.

Do grandparents have rights when it comes to custody?

Grandparents play an important role in their grandchildren's lives and the larger family dynamic. In the best case scenario, grandparents have consistent access to their grandchildren, with the parents' blessing, and are able to develop close, positive relationships with them. However, best case scenario doesn't happen all the time, and there are times when grandparents may find themselves facing an uphill battle trying to get access to their grandchildren. If you are currently dealing with this type of scenario, you may be able to file for custody in the family courts, but you need to be aware of what that entails.

Situations when a grandparent may be able to file for custody

Like many other states, the Pennsylvania courts have set up specific guidelines for when a grandparent has grounds to petition the courts for physical custody, sometimes referred to as visitation, or legal custody. One of the following situations must be present:

Parental relocation: what are the laws in Pennsylvania?

If you feel the need for a major lifestyle change or a fresh start after your divorce, you're not alone. It's common for other big changes, like a new job or a cross-country move, to follow your change in relationship status. However, if you have children with your ex and are planning on taking them along with you, there are rules and procedures that must be followed.

In Pennsylvania, the term relocation usually refers to a move a significant distance away that may impact the nonresidential parent's ability to exercise parenting time. A move across town is not likely to be an issue, but if it will take the child out of the county or even the school district, you'll need to give the other parent notice. You are also required by the current custody law to provide a very specific Counteraffidavit to the other parent that they must file timely if they object to your proposed move.

Avoiding child custody complications during the summer

As summer approaches, many parents in Pennsylvania are deciding how they will spend time with their children. In many cases, this involves making travel plans, child care arrangements and decisions regarding extracurricular activities. These issues can be more complicated for parents who are no longer involved romantically and could require additional legal measures to be taken in regard to child custody.

In a perfect world, parents would be able to communicate openly and honestly about summer plans. As such, they would be able to compromise; however, this is not always the case. In some instances, a parent must ask for court intervention to modify a child custody plan to accommodate summer plans. Because courts do not always approve such requests, it may be beneficial to wait to finalize travel plans until after court proceedings. Additionally, it could take a couple of months for the court proceedings to be completed, making it necessary to ensure that requests are made early.

Seeking an adoption in Pennsylvania

There are a variety of different types of parents in Pennsylvania and across the country. In addition to parents who are hands on or those who take a different approach, there are parents who have a biological connection to a child and those who do not. For many of the families without the biological relationship to the child, it does not change the person's impact or role in the child's life. In some cases, it may become prudent for people to ensure that they have legal rights in regard a child by seeking an adoption.

The Law Offices of Maribeth Blessing, LLC have been helping families through the adoption process for over 20 years. Attorney Blessing has experience with the different proceedings and requirements in several different Pennsylvania counties. In the past, she has helped stepparents and same-sex couples achieve their family goals.

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