Collaborative Way to Resolve a Divorce
Is there legal separation in Pennsylvania? Can I file for legal separation?
Mediating a Divorce Resolution
Do I really need a lawyer if my spouse and I agree on everything?
Divorcing spouses should consult with an attorney before signing anything. Once a divorce decree is entered, there is usually nothing that can be done if assets titled in individual names have not been divided. These assets often include 401k, pensions and IRAs. Important rights regarding property division and support can be waived depending on the terms of the divorce agreement, and/or whether a divorce decree is entered without an agreement.
Can my spouse and I share the same lawyer?
No. Ethically, lawyers are prohibited from representing both parties in a divorce action. If only one spouse retains a lawyer, that lawyer cannot provide legal advice to the party without lawyer representation.
Are all assets and debts divided 50/50 in a Pennsylvania divorce?
Are there any special considerations where one spouse has served in the military?
Divorce after a long term marriage - Considerations for people who are divorcing later in life.
How are stock options handled in a Pennsylvania Divorce?
How is my new spouse's income considered during a support conference?
How long does it take to get divorced?
How To Divide Assets
Should the parties do anything before the support conference?
Social Media Technology Pitfalls and PA Child Custody Cases
What are common considerations for a business owner going through a divorce?
What are the considerations for those with marital estates over $10,000,000?
What is marital property?
I don’t want a divorce, can my spouse force the issue?
If you do not wish to be divorced, your spouse can only force the issue if he/she has a basis for a divorce based on fault grounds. Although fault grounds still exist in Pennsylvania , people rarely file for divorce on fault grounds today, even if one or more fault grounds actually exist. Most divorces are based on no-fault grounds, and unless both spouses agree, the divorce cannot move forward until one year of separation has passed.
What establishes “separation”?
If one spouse moves from the joint residence, separation is fairly clear.
If the couple continues to reside under the same roof, the date that one spouse files a divorce complaint will generally be the date of separation.
It is also possible to be separated while still living together, even if a divorce complaint has not been filed. These situations require the specific facts and circumstances to be reviewed, and on occasion, a court hearing is held so that a determination of the separation date can be made. The date of separation has impact on assets and debts and should be reviewed with a lawyer.
Does Pennsylvania law require that assets and debts be divided 50/50 in a divorce matter?
Pennsylvania law requires that all assets and debts be “equitably” divided not “equally” divided. The percentage may be different than 50/50. Further, every asset might not necessarily be divided but rather some may be given 100% to one spouse and the value of those assets will be offset to accomplish the overall percentage distribution intended.
What if a spouse refuses to divulge information on assets and debts in a Pennsylvania divorce matter?
A spouse will be required to provide information and documentation through a process called discovery. Discovery is not automatic and the party seeking information will need to follow the rule of civil procedure.
What happens to retirement assets in a Pennsylvania divorce matter?
Unless excluded by agreement, all assets acquired during the marriage, and the increase in value of non-marital assets, including retirement assets, are subject to division in a divorce. Retirement assets are not considered in a vacuum, and the division of retirement assets depends on the distribution of other assets.
What happens to the marital home in a Pennsylvania divorce matter?
There is no single answer. Either party may receive the house or the house may need to be sold. The spouse receiving or keeping the marital home will be required to remove the other spouse from the mortgage by paying it off in full, assuming the mortgage or refinancing it.
Is alimony awarded in every Pennsylvania divorce matter?
No. Alimony is not awarded or appropriate in every case. Pennsylvania law defines alimony as a “secondary remedy.” This means that alimony may be awarded in divorce matters where the distribution of assets is not considered sufficient.
Who pays the attorney’s fees in a Pennsylvania divorce case?
The law does not provide for one spouse to be automatically forced to pay the attorney’s fees of the other spouse. In appropriate cases, the court has authority to award attorney fees at various stages of the divorce proceedings.
Resources Available For Families Going Through A Divorce
What are a few common considerations that can arise during a support conference?
What happens before a child support, spousal support, or APL conference?
What happens during a support conference?
What happens after support conference?
What happens with complex and high income support?
How is Pennsylvania child support calculated?
Child support guidelines are set forth in the Pennsylvania Support Code. The amount of support is primarily based upon the number of children, the income of the parties, and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent. There are many factors that can impact child support.
Will child support be ordered in Pennsylvania if the parties have a 50/50 custody arrangement?
Having 50/50 physical custody schedule does not negate child support payments. However, having 40% or more of the overnights does result in a reduction of child support. If the income of the parties is similar, the amount of child support may be minimal or none at all.
Is the recipient of child support in Pennsylvania required to report how the child support was spent?
Pennsylvania does not have an automatic mechanism to require a party to identify how the child support was spent.
Do step-parents pay child support in Pennsylvania?
Generally, step-parents do not pay child support. However, there is a legal theory called “parental by estoppel,” wherein a step-parent may be required to pay child support in certain limited situations.
How is Pennsylvania spousal support calculated?
Pennsylvania has guidelines for the calculation of spousal support which are set forth in the Pennsylvania Support Code. This is primarily based on the income of the parties. There are many factors that can affect the amount of spousal support.
Are there defenses to the payment of Pennsylvania spousal support?
Yes. Pennsylvania has a number of defenses to spousal support. However, even if there is a defense applied, the spouse with lower income may request alimony pendente lite, which is calculated using the same formula as spousal support.
What is Pennsylvania “alimony pendente lite”?
Alimony pendente lite means alimony pending litigation. This is calculated using the same formula as spousal support, but requires the filing of a divorce complaint.
What expert reports may be done in a PA child custody case?
What are some tasks that can be done to prepare for custody conciliation?
What happens at a PA custody conciliation?
What happens if I want to relocate with my child?
What happens if you do not reach an agreement at a custody conciliation?
How do courts decide custody of children?
Pennsylvania courts make decisions regarding custody based on the best interests of the child. Although there are specific factors set forth by statute, anything that has an impact on the child can and should be raised. Generally, the courts want the child to have as much access to both parents as possible. Sometimes there are issues in a family that make limiting contact with a parent necessary, such as criminal history, domestic violence, drug and/or alcohol abuse.
Levin Hoover Fee Questions
What documents are helpful for a Levin Hoover Initial Consultation?
Does Levin Hoover require a “standard” retainer?
Levin Hoover requires a retainer, but not a “standard” retainer. Family law cases are not standard. Each case is different. During your initial consultation, you will discuss the initial retainer required to hire Levin Hoover. for example, if your case involves complex legal or factual issues, or requires multiple court appearances, the retainer will be higher.
How do flat fees work at Levin Hoover?
Levin Hoover provides a list of services that are offered at a flat fee at the initial consultation.
How do I retain Levin Hoover?
Provided there is no conflict, at or after the initial consultation, you will sign the engagement letter and pay the retainer.
Client Portal Questions
What happens if I don't have access to documents of assets and debits in a divorce?
How does a client access their portal?
After a client has retained Levin Hoover Family Law Firm, the client will be sent an email with instructions to create their client portal account.