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Norristown Family Law Blog

Debt obligations during divorce can get complicated

When there is a divorce pending, it might seem like property division decisions may be pretty cut and dry. People may assume it is clear what is considered marital property and what is deemed separate property during a divorce. However, as many Pennsylvania couples can attest, these assumptions can get clouded where debt is concerned, especially student loan debt.

Typically, financial obligations related to education before the marriage is considered separate property. This may surprise some couples as they split and realize the true cost of paying off student loan debt may be more than the borrower can handle on their own. In that case, it may be possible or wise to seek some sort of changes to payment terms.

Tips for Pennsylvania parents in the midst of divorce

The time period before, during and directly after a divorce can be a time of great upheaval for everyone involved. Pennsylvania parents may be dealing with an overabundance of change in their own lives during a divorce. The changes that impact children can be massive and may call for special attention, as children may interpret divorce differently than the adults involved.

There are many tips regarding the best way to minimize the impact of divorce on children. One vital tip is for parents to understand that kids feel many emotions about the situation just as adults do. If a parent stresses that there is no wrong way to feel or wrong time to feel it, children may feel better about the onslaught of emotions. Help from those who have dealt with divorce and how it affects children may make the transition smoother.

Pennsylvania couples can have tech-savvy divorce

Technology seems to have infiltrated every aspect of life over the last few years. With the onset of online sites and smart phone apps aimed at helping couples find each other, it isn't hard to imagine that there are now apps in place to help guide couples through a divorce. Pennsylvania couples dealing with divorce may be interested in the new apps and tech savvy ways to make the divorce process smoother, but it can also be important to remember that divorce laws can be complicated and may require extensive research to best protect an individual's rights.

Apps on smart phones can be a useful tool for couples who need to find a way to discuss the divorce and life changes that will impact the children. One app is called "Sesame Street Divorce." It uses characters to help parents and children talk about the divorce. The app gives kids a chance to express feelings and also offers tips for parents as to how best to answer kids' questions.

High profile child custody case involves medical records

When a couple decides to separate, they typically have many decisions to make. The most difficult and often contentious part of a divorce may relate to child custody. If a Pennsylvania couple is unable to come to a child custody agreement on their own or through mediation, a family court judge may have to make a ruling. As part of this process, a parent's lifestyle -- possibly even including medical records -- may play a role in the outcome.

One recent case highlights the role medical records may play in a child custody hearing. A high-profile couple split in 2011. A court recently ruled that the father is to get custody of the two children. They had previously been with the mother until certain medical issues concerning the mother came to light in court.

Pennsylvania parents need to be aware of taxes and divorce rules

When there is a divorce, there are many changes that affect a couple's finances. While many of those changes can be dealt with independently, there are certain financial matters during divorce that may require ex-spouses to work together. One area of the lives of divorced parents in Pennsylvania that requires some form of cooperation pertains to taxes.

When a couple separates and files taxes, only one party can claim dependent children on their tax return. Back in the days when custody agreements were pretty cut and dry, particularly when one parent would have the kids a large majority of the time, it was simpler to decide who should claim the children on a tax return. However, modern custody agreements are more fluid, and children spend time with each parent on a more equal footing. This can lead to disagreements about who has the right to claim the child or children.

Organization can be key to smooth divorce in Pennsylvania

The decision to split may be an emotional one for couples. However, after the emotional decisions are handled, there are very detailed financial decisions that need to be made. Any Pennsylvania couple in the midst of divorce may find the process goes much smoother when there is a bit of organization in place. Being organized and having the proper documents in order can help set a tone of cooperation and preparedness for what is to come.

It is a good idea to make a list of assets. This goes beyond the amount of money in a bank account. Assets may include retirement accounts and money market accounts. Items such as collectibles and employee benefits are also considered assets that may be subject to division.

New insurance options for Pennsylvania couples in divorce

Traditionally, when one spouse was the only source of healthcare benefits, it could be difficult for the other spouse to move forward with plans to divorce. However, as healthcare laws have changed, some spouses are finding they have options they may not have had a year ago. Any Pennsylvania spouse who has postponed or been unable to divorce due to the status of their healthcare benefits may be interested to know their newly expanded options.

In the past, if a spouse wanted to keep healthcare benefits, they could do so for a limited time through COBRA. Once COBRA ran out, they were typically left without health insurance unless they got insurance through an employer or remarried. Now, even if they choose to rely on COBRA, once it runs out they can buy into a plan on their own even if they have a preexisting conditions that would have prevented them from doing so previously.

More Pennsylvania baby boomers taking steps toward divorce

As people age and make it past certain milestones, they may be seen as a much stronger and dedicated couple than their younger counterparts. However, as the baby boomer generation ages, there is a noticeable uptick in how many couples who have been married for decades that are now headed for divorce. Any Pennsylvania couples divorcing in their golden years may be relieved to know the trend referred to as gray divorce is occurring everywhere.

It is currently estimated that one out of four people divorcing today are 50 or older. In 1990, that figure was only one in 10 people. There are a number of reasons for this growing trend, and there are also support groups cropping up to help these older couples readjust to life after divorce.

Families set tone for changes in child custody

Family courts have the difficult job of deciding what is in the best interests of children while also respecting the rights of parents. Whenever families can come to agreements on their own, the courts will respect that approach. Typically, in families where both parents are able and wanting to be a parent, joint child custody is the ruling that gets passed along. However, Pennsylvania parents may be interested in a push toward shared parenting.

The popular option of joint custody boils down to one parent having primary custody and the other parent having the child on holidays and every other weekend. However, some parents in one state have decided that isn't enough and isn't fair. A task force has been established to pursue the idea, and experts contend that children do better when they have access to both parents.

Options can make Pennsylvania divorce process smoother

This time of year is notorious for seeing a spike in divorce filings. For those who have never been through the divorce process, there may be a great deal of apprehension about how the procedure unfolds. Everything from a timeline to the accurate cost of divorce may be unknown territory for Pennsylvania couples.

It may be helpful for each couple to understand that no two divorces are the same and that there are options that can essentially help couples customize their divorce. There are a great deal of decisions to be made and there is no set formula for how it unfolds for each couple. The transition from a single household to two households does take time and takes an emotional toll on everyone, even when both parties want the split.

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Law Offices of Maribeth Blessing, LLC
310 Huntingdon Pike
Rockledge PA 19046-4445

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