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Choosing The Right Path Of Protection

Norristown Family Law Blog

We can help with smooth navigation of adoption process

Adoption is a highly personal and emotional journey for families under any circumstances. When the adoption process involves same sex couples or step-parent adoptions, the adoption process should be as smooth as possible for everyone involved. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania parents and soon-to-be parents may find the process anything but smooth, necessitating the help of legal representatives.

When a step-parent or same sex partner wants to adopt his or her spouse's child, the biological parent of that child must give up, or have terminated, his or her parental rights. That parent also must not have contact with the child for six months before that termination takes place. This may be smooth in some cases or highly contentious in others. Everyone involved should work tirelessly to ensure this part of the adoption process is non-confrontational, for the sake of the child and everyone involved.

Divorce will affect future finances and retirement

Divorce leads to changes in all aspects of a person's life, including where a person lives and what the financial future may look like. Aside from an initial divorce settlement, including any alimony payable, Pennsylvania residents may want to think about the long term financial impact of a split, namely retirement. Regardless of how close or far a couple may be to retirement age, the divorce will usually affect any accounts already in place.

Any joint retirement accounts will typically be split between the parties. While this is all well and good, the ability to keep adding to those accounts may be altered. This is due to the simple fact that, with separate incomes that are no longer combined, there is less money available for investing.

Judge allows unusual means of filing for divorce

The divorce process can vary from couple to couple. But, it mostly entails the same step of one partner first filing for divorce, and the other person being served with papers. It was only a matter of time before the old paper filing of divorce system was outdone by technology. Pennsylvania couples may want to be aware that a judge in a neighboring state has approved a new way to file for divorce, at least under the specific circumstances presented to the court.

The case involves a couple who wed back in 2009. Apparently, the wife has only been able to communicate her husband through social media, namely Facebook, and through phone calls. This fact led the judge to rule that the woman could file a divorce summons by sending a private message to her husband through Facebook.

Divorce can factor into a Pennsylvania couple's benefits

For many, Social Security benefits are a much needed source of support as they age. When a divorce is in the works, a Pennsylvania resident may not be fully aware of how that divorce can impact Social Security benefits for a partner who may have not earned enough to qualify for benefits or may have earned less than a former spouse. The length of a marriage is the key to determining whether a person is entitled to Social Security benefits based on the earnings of an ex-spouse.

If a marriage lasted for 10 years or more, a person can claim benefits based on the earnings history of an ex-spouse. This holds true as long as the person seeking Social Security benefits is single. If a marriage lasted less than 10 years, there is no way to claim any Social Security benefits related to the earnings of an ex-spouse.

The divorce process can entail much more than end of marriage

The decision to divorce may not ever be an easy one to make. It can entail a great deal of gut-checking and even pre-planning before anyone even files. However, once the divorce process begins for Pennsylvania couples, those couples may benefit from learning how a divorce can entail much more than simply ending a marriage. Indeed, there are many ways to go about a peaceful, less stressful and smooth dissolution of a marriage.

If there are children involved, the divorce process will undoubtedly affect them in a wide variety of ways. Issues that need to be dealt with fairly and lawfully include both child custody and child support. Having a comprehensive source of information about the custody laws and child support laws in Pennsylvania can help a couple prepare or understand the process as it unfolds.

Fate of pets may be concern during a divorce

Once a couple decides to pursue the dissolution of a marriage, there are many decisions to make as one household becomes two. The process of dividing property and drafting a custody agreement can be daunting. For Pennsylvania couples who share beloved pets, the process of deciding who will get the pets or how to handle the fate of pets during divorce can be just as daunting as dealing with issues traditionally related to children.

While pets may be cared for and loved as much a child, they are still regarded as property in the family court system. Despite this legal fact, there are many cases in which an agreement is drawn up that outlines who gets the pets and whether ex-spouses will share custody of the pets. It is not uncommon for a couple to share a pet or to care for it while the other party is gone; however, experts warn to not trade off too frequently as this can create stress for an animal.

Thinking long-term about finances when going through a divorce

When a couple is in the midst of a divorce and are dividing assets and finances, many people are guilty of thinking in the short-term and just wanting the divorce process to be over. The goal may be to split funds quickly and move on after a divorce. However, Pennsylvania couples may benefit by thinking about the long-term financial reality before agreeing to certain property division decisions or support payments.

When a couple has to decide what to do with a marital home, the decisions made may be based more on emotion than smart financial planning. Before deciding to pursue ownership of the home or walk away from a property, long-term equity implications should be considered. It should also be considered if keeping the home is something one partner can handle financially when the dust settles.

The adoption process may get complicated for families

Adoption is a highly personal and emotional part of family law. The adoption process itself may be very complicated for Pennsylvania families to understand or work through. Different types of adoption may prove more challenging than others, particularly when it comes to same-sex parent adoption in Pennsylvania.

Adoptions in Pennsylvania vary based on county. This is why it is important to understand the unique regional requirements. Same-sex adoption may involve adopting a partner's or spouse's child and can be challenging for inexperienced couples to figure out. Step-parent adoption may also be challenging for families.

Divorce negotiations continue for billionaire couple

The process of dissolving a marriage can be complex for any couple. The divorce process may be more contentious and difficult if there are children involved or a large number of assets that need to be divided. One case keeps making news in Pennsylvania and elsewhere as Ken Griffin and his soon-to-be ex-wife continue to file legal motions against each other as money and where the children will live continue to be sticking points.

Mr. Griffin filed two petitions as a means of disputing his wife's petition to nullify the prenuptial agreement they signed before marriage. The wife, Anne Dias Griffin, says she was coerced into signing the agreement. Mr. Griffin believes the amount of support his wife claims is necessary to support the three children is more for her benefit rather than the children's. The amount of expenses claimed by the wife is $1 million monthly.

Pennsylvania county to offer amnesty to those owing child support

When there is a failure to pay child support, the paying parent may have to contend with varying legal consequences. One legal consequence for failing to appear at a child support hearing in Pennsylvania is the issuance of a warrant for arrest. However, with an extensive backlog of cases, one Pennsylvania county has found a unique was to deal with back child support, while also helping the parents to find a way to avoid further penalties -- a day of amnesty.

The program gives parents who are behind the chance to turn themselves in without fear of arrest. The cases are then heard individually and reviewed. The reasons for not being able to pay can be addressed, and a warrant for arrest can be dismissed based on the review.