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Norristown Family Law Blog

Infidelity can impact Pennsylvania divorce

The recent hacking of an Internet site has brought news of hidden infidelity to light for many. Some Pennsylvania couples may wonder how proof of infidelity can impact a divorce. While Pennsylvania is a no-fault divorce state, the factors that led to that divorce, including infidelity, can affect how a divorce unfolds for both parties.

For some, infidelity can be costly as the guilt may be used as leverage by one spouse. But, when it comes to actual dollars and cents, the money a spouse used on an affair may be calculated and prove important as a divorce settlement moves forward. One example is if an unfaithful spouse buys an expensive gift for someone else with marital funds; the other partner may make a request to have half that amount reimbursed in a divorce settlement.

Child support reminder: public shaming or convenient option?

When it comes to a child support order, many details are outlined, such as means of payment and action, that may be taken if a payment is late or not made at all. Pennsylvania parents may have a plan for letting the other parent know he or she is late or may have outlined specific consequences if a payment is not made. One state has taken up the cause of reminding parents they owe child support through the delivery of a post card. That method has drawn some ire from some parents.

One parent in particular has voiced his dislike of the post card that comes in the mail to his house. The post card has the parent's name on it and asks the question as to whether or not that parent has paid for the month. The parent says this method is an invasion of privacy and essentially calls out non-custodial parents publicly.

Adoption situations in Pennsylvania can vary greatly

Adoption cases can be emotional and complicated for parents, potential parents and children involved. No two adoption situations are alike just as no two Pennsylvania families are alike. Whether it is a simple or complicated adoption, there are legal procedures in place and knowledge of the law that needs to be brought to the table because each case can be vastly different and the adoption process in each Pennsylvania county can be different.

Most parties involved in the process strive to ensure an adoption is handled with the least amount of contention. Litigation is hopefully avoided due to the sensitivity of some cases. This may mean legal representatives need to go out of their way to work toward an amicable move in terminating parental rights. This consent is vital for an adoption to move forward.

Immediate financial steps to take during a divorce

A divorce changes virtually everything in the lives of the parties involved. Finances are certainly part of those changes, regardless of the length of the marriage. It is important for both parties in a Pennsylvania divorce to understand those changes and prepare themselves in order to financially survive a divorce and to ensure fairness as the proceedings move forward.

One important step to take is to divide accounts and assets. One party's credit score can take a hit if assets or accounts are in both names and the other party does not pay on time or at all. Mortgages and car loans should be settled. Refinancing can be the key to protecting finances or selling the property if refinancing is not possible.

Pennsylvania families may find apps helpful in divorce

Communication can be a problem for co-parents during and after a divorce. Despite any communication problems or lack of desire to communicate, Pennsylvania parents who divorce simply have to find a way to communicate as they co-parent. When issues crop up or parents have a dispute, it may help to have tools in place to resolve issues and help parents work together.

As virtually everyone carries a smart phone, apps are increasingly popular and helpful in many areas of life. Divorce and co-parenting is no different as apps have evolved to help parents be better co-parents and resolve conflict. One app is available as a means of tracking child support payments and other extra payments. When a parent needs to go to court or prove payment, having this app can be helpful for those incidents or during a modification hearing.

Drastic reduction in child support sought by Halle Berry

Halle Berry has made news recently for more than just her movie and television career. The star has gone to court to seek a drastic reduction in the amount of child support she pays to her ex-boyfriend for her now 7-year-old daughter. The modification process can hinge on the proof of a substantial change in income or the needs of the child. Missouri parents who feel they pay too much or receive too little child support may find the modification process is the answer to the problem.

In the case of Halle Berry and her ex-boyfriend, the pair had a child together in 2008. They split in 2010. In a court proceeding last year, Berry agreed to pay for school tuition and half the health care costs for the child. She also agreed to pay $16,000 a month in child support.

Financial concerns to consider during a divorce

A divorce does not just disrupt the relationship between the parties and any children involved. It also disrupts the financial life of all involved. Regardless of socio-economic status, a divorce in Pennsylvania typically impacts the short-term and long-term financial outlook for both parties. It is recommended that couples takes certain steps and think about certain financial decisions in order to ensure a smoother and less financially disruptive divorce.

One tip is to sit down and outline the financial reality now and what the future may look like. This can be done by writing down and reviewing credit card statements and bank statements from the past year. This will help outline what each party can afford and what to expect in the future. Including future expenses, such as insurance costs and child expenses like braces, is also recommended.

In-kind child support method may help with accountability

For many parents who pay child support, sending a check each month is both a legal and moral obligation. However, parents may wonder exactly what the child support payment is used for and may want more accountability dollar for dollar. One way Pennsylvania parents and others are finding useful for providing much-needed support and having a say in how the money is used is referred to as in-kind child support.

This form of support refers to a parent directly paying for items the child needs. This can include food, clothing and other expenses bought and paid for outright rather than a monthly payment of a certain amount. A recent study has shown this method to be particularly useful for low income parents who may have trouble coming up with a certain amount by a specific date each month.

Clearing up divorce process details for Pennsylvania couples

Divorce process will obviously be unique to each couple, yet certain aspects of a split may be more common than couples expect. One part of the divorce process that can get complex is property division. If a Pennsylvania couple has amassed a great deal together or has a shared business, there may be certain details of the property settlement agreement that need to be cleared up before anyone agrees to anything.

First of all, it must be clear that all assets are known. Some assets may be overseas, unknown or simply being hid by one party. Identifying what assets need to be split is the first and vital step toward ensuring fairness. Also, the second step is to be clear about the exact date of the split as this can impact debts in particular. If a spouse accrues a great deal of debt after a certain date, the other spouse may either be free and clear of that debt or partially liable, depending on the agreed upon date of the split.

Family home can complicate divorce matters in Pennsylvania

For many couples, the family home may be the most valuable asset. It may also be the asset that both parties are the most emotionally attached to at the time of a divorce. Pennsylvania couples who are navigating a divorce will need to agree on the fate of a marital home in order for both parties to move forward after the split. Making and adhering a formal agreement can also help avoid pitfalls and problems such as foreclosure or credit issues that could result from not agreeing to a plan.

One plan couples may consider is to sell the home. Even though a divorce may be pending or have been finalized, both must agree on a list price and a plan of action if the house does not sell within a certain time frame. If a couple has an acrimonious relationship, but they still need to work together for the closing on the sale of their house, one solution may be for one party to physically attend a closing and the other party to fax pre-signed paperwork.