When It All Goes Wrong
Divorce is one of life's most difficult and most critical situations. Emotions run high, and your legal rights, responsibilities and options need to be explained in a way that is clear and understandable. You need representation which is aggressive and intelligent. We have experience from hundreds of cases over many years before both Divorce Masters and Judges litigating cases of divorce, property division/equitable distribution, alimony and Postnuptial Agreements. Our skills and aggressive practice style will enable us to effectively defend your rights and pursue your interests. We are able to give accurate, confident advice without getting caught up in emotion or losing sight of your goals. Our hands-on negotiating experience will give you the best chance of obtaining a favorable result without expensive litigation. We are your most valuable ally during this difficult time.
In Pennsylvania, If spouses have decided to live apart from one another and no longer wish to be considered a married couple they will typically be deemed to be separated. In limited cases, spouses can still live under the same roof and still be considered separated, especially when a divorce action is filed. We advise our clients of their rights and obligations while they are separated and some of the pitfalls that they might encounter. We also evaluate if it is appropriate to begin negotiations in the preparation of a postnuptial agreement and/or determine whether a divorce action should be filed.
This is one of the most emotional areas, and usually the most important component, of a family law case. Our attorneys have years of experience before both Custody Conference Officers and Judges litigating cases involving paternity, primary custody, partial custody and visitation, relocation and grandparents' rights. Our skills and experience make us who you need advocating for your rights to time with your children or grandchildren.
Making sure that you receive appropriate child support and spousal support is important. If you are paying support, it is equally important to be sure that you are not over-paying. While basic support cases are often simple, complications frequently arise in cases of special needs, self-employment, disability, mortgage deviations and situations involving shared custody. We will advise you of options and strategies regarding spousal support and alimony pendente lite (APL) and explain the differences. With our years of experience, we are familiar with the nuances of the law which allows us to help insure that your support is calculated accurately and fairly.
Protection From Abuse
The PFA statute is one of the most used, and unfortunately one of the most abused, laws on the books . Properly utilized, it is intended to protect victims of domestic violence and their children from abusive spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends and family members. Too often, however, PFA plaintiffs seek temporary protection from abuse orders for the primary objective of gaining leverage in a divorce, support or custody case. The consequences of such an action can be unexpected and far-reaching. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, our firm has decades of experience in successfully negotiating and litigating PFA claims. We can protect your rights to continue to own a gun, remain in the country and help you continue with your normal life.
Even if you own property prior to marriage, Pennsylvania law provides that your spouse may take an interest in that property after you are married. The law also provides for spousal support, providing of health insurance, payment of medical bills and other spousal rights if you ever separate. The only way to protect your assets and yourself is to sign a Pre-Marital Agreement, sometimes known as a Prenuptial Agreement or an Ante-Marital Agreement in advance. We have many years of experience preparing these documents, which will allow us to effectively protect your interests.
Post-Marital Agreements, sometimes referred to as Postnuptial Agreements or Property Settlement Agreements are all essentially the same despite the name given to them. They are a written contract between two spouses that are in the midst or will be in the midst of a divorce action. All essential terms as to each party's rights, responsibilities and obligations are set forth in this contract. Most divorce cases are able to be resolved by this method when economic issues such as property distribution, debt distribution and support/alimony need to be addressed. Sometimes people try to save money by preparing these agreements themselves. However, many times, items are missed thereby creating more problems than they solve. Our attorneys will give you candid advice as to whether you need a postnuptial agreement, and we will prepare an analysis of your situation to properly advise you of all of your options.
Paternity can be established by many ways such as signing a paternity acknowledgment, paying child support through the court or entering into a custody action. Other times, paternity can be established by a person's actions such as when they hold the child out as their own, known as “paternity by estoppel”, or simply due to the fact that a child is born of the marriage, known as the “presumption of paternity”. Paternity can also be questioned in appropriate circumstances through DNA testing and testimony, especially when a family is no longer living together. The law on paternity is ever changing and can be complicated. Having handled many paternity actions in the past, our attorneys are able to explain the law to you and advise you of your options.
Grandparents are playing a greater role these days in the custody of their grandchildren. Many times, grandparents are acting more like parents due to the unique circumstances of their own children. Pennsylvania has enacted a statute that specifically sets forth grandparent rights as it pertains to custody. Part of our job is to educate our clients as to what the law is and how it pertains to them. Having represented both grandparents and parents in custody situations, we will advise you of your options and best strategy to achieve your goals.
If an adult person wishes to change their name, he or she must file a name change petition with the local county court. In order to avoid fraudulent practices, a criminal record search as well as a debt search must be conducted prior to proceeding in court. This is a relatively simple process with a brief hearing before a Judge for approval. If a child's name needs to be changed and both parents are in agreement, often times this can be done extremely simply and inexpensively, and without the need to proceed to court if the child was born in Pennsylvania. If there is a disagreement between parents, a hearing will need to take place before a Judge who will then decide whether the name change should be granted. We will be able to answer all of your questions and prepare whatever documents are necessary to seek approval of your requested name change.
The information contained herein is not legal advice. A client-lawyer relationship has not been formed by simply viewing this website or contacting our firm for additional information. Please schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys to discuss the specifics of your individual case.