Lebanon Divorce Lawyers
When a couple faces divorce, emotions tend to run high. Anger, resentment, fear and apprehension can quickly lead to bitter disputes. It is very uncomfortable emotionally and psychologically to endure a divorce, even when it is not particularly ugly. Children and adults alike are impacted when a marriage dissolves. In the unfortunate event you are considering filing for divorce it is best to retain our skilled and compassionate Lebanon divorce lawyers to protect tour rights.
The Lebanon divorce lawyers at our firm focus on resolving difficult issues surrounding a divorce as painlessly as possible for our clients. Contact our Berks County family law office via email us here. We will give you, your family and your case the personal attention you deserve.
Common Issues Surrounding A Lebanon County Divorce
Often times there is more to be dealt with than just the divorce itself. Many times in a marriage a family involving children is the ultimate end product of the marriage. Issues we deal with on behalf of our family law clients are:
Child Custody & Visitation
Alimony & Spousal Support
Division Of Property
Division Of Debt
Same Sex Marital Issues
Our team of Lebanon, Pennsylvania family law attorneys are waiting to help you through this very emotionally, psychologically and financially taxing ordeal.
Pennsylvania Equitable Distribution Laws
During a Pennsylvania divorce the legal term for dividing marital assets and marital debts is equitable distribution. Pennsylvania is known as an equitable distribution state and not a community property state. Our courts divide marital property and debts based on the principles of equity. That means it is in the discretion of the court to divide marital assets and marital debts as it sees fair. Equitable distribution does not always mean that property and debts will be equally divided. One of the goals during a divorce is to achieve an equitable, or fair, distribution of property, retirement accounts and investment accounts.
Factors Considered In Equitable Distribution
According to Pennsylvania divorce law fault is not a factor taken into consideration during equitable distribution. Pennsylvania courts may use some of the following in determining equitable distribution:
- Length of marriage
- Previous marriages
- Age of both parties
- Health of both parties
- Income of both parties
- Employability of both parties
- Amount of non-marital assets
- Prenuptial agreements
- Who will have custody of children when applicable
- Did either person help the advancement of the other’s income
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Tax implications
Marital Property or Marital Assets
If a settlement cannot be reached prior to entering the court system, the court will divide the marital assets in a way it deems fair given the particular circumstances of the cases. Marital assets are also referred to as marital property. Marital assets can include a home, cars, furniture, businesses owned by the parties, jewelry, art, investments and retirement accounts. Anything purchased during the period of time considered as “the marriage” will be deemed marital property, even if it was purchased or put in only one party’s name. For example, even if your name does not appear on the title to a vehicle purchased by your spouse during your marriage you may be entitled to half of that vehicle.
Non-Marital Assets or Separate Property
In Pennsylvania, the law allows separate or non-marital assets to be omitted from the equitable distribution process. Any property that was excluded by a prenuptial agreement will not be included in the equitable distribution. Any property brought into the marriage and kept separate during the marriage is also considered non-marital property. Gifts received by just one spouse during the marriage may also be kept separate. Inheritances received before or during the marriage that are kept separate may also be excluded. However, if the value of any of the non-marital property increases during the marriage, the increase in value may be considered marital property. If a spouse chooses to use non-marital funds for a common purchase, like buying a home, that money will often be considered marital property.
In Pennsylvania, marital debts are defined as debts that were acquired by either spouse after the marriage date and before the date of separation. Common marital debts include credit card bills, mortgages, car loans, home equity loans, tax obligations and judgments. Even if a credit card was only in one spouse’s name, if the credit card was used during the marriage, both parties have an obligation to repay the debt.
Divorces usually get messy and ugly and unfortunately the high road is not always taken. The Lebanon, Pennsylvania divorce lawyers at our firm have helped many clients locate hidden assets and income that a spouse may possess in an attempt to wrongly and fraudulently attempt to keep a marital asset for themselves.
Occasionally someone will try to hide assets in order to pay less or receive more support. The divorce lawyers at our Lebanon County law firm offer each client an individual solution for remedies sought such as:
- Requesting the court impose a lien as security for the payment for alimony or any other award for the other party
- Awarding the right to live in the marital property to one party to the exclusion of the other
- Requesting the court to direct one party to continue to pay health insurance or life insurance on behalf of the other party
- Requesting special relief, including injunctions or orders necessary to prevent the removal, dissipation, transferring or encumbering of real or personal property
The Pennsylvania Divorce Code
The Pennsylvania Divorce Code controls your divorce if you do not agree on the division of property and debts on your own. If you have a pre-nuptial agreement that does not include something that is available to you according to Pennsylvania Law, you may still be able to assert those rights.
If you are considering a divorce or have questions about the division of property after a divorce, contact a Lebanon County, Pennsylvania divorce attorney at our firm today.
It is important that you deal with an experienced family law attorney who will walk you through the divorce and equitable distribution process and make sure that nothing is left out of your settlement.
Helping Children Get Through Divorce
Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, impacts the children in a family just as much as it does the adults. Pennsylvania parents who get a divorce have to learn how to best communicate with their children during a divorce. Working closely with children during a divorce is an important way to help them understand how to process sometimes difficult experiences and emotions. The steps to accomplish this are not necessarily the same for all children.
Today’s Parent notes that there are natural variances in emotional intelligence among different kids due in large part to their ages. This combined with individual personalities or other extenuating circumstances, will directly impact how parents should discuss this issue with their kids. Our Lebanon PA divorce attorneys will help you make the divorce process as painless as possible for your children.
Pennsylvania Divorce Types
When filing for divorce in Pennsylvania, it is important to select the appropriate legal grounds. Contact our law office for a consultation regarding the type of divorce you would like to file.
Below is an overview of the different types of legal grounds a petition for divorce can be based on in Pennsylvania. Read on to learn more.
1. Mutual Consent Divorce (No-Fault)
An uncontested divorce, also known as a mutual consent divorce, is the most common type of divorce in Pennsylvania. It occurs when both parties agree to the divorce and sign documents to reflect this agreement. This kind of divorce is less complicated and makes the legal process shorter.
The spouses must meet the following requirements to petition for a mutual consent divorce:
The marriage must be irretrievably broken
Both spouses must agree to the divorce
Both spouses must be willing to sign an affidavit stating they agree to the divorce 90 days after the divorce documents are filed, each spouse must sign an affidavit consenting to the divorce. The court will grant the divorce upon receiving the affidavit and other legal documents. No formal hearing is required for a mutual consent divorce but all financial issues must be settled before finalizing the divorce. Issues regarding child custody and support can be resolved before filing for divorce, during, or after it is finalized.
2. Two-Year Separation Divorce (No-Fault)
A two-year separation divorce, which is another type of no-fault divorce, occurs when one of the parties refuses to sign the divorce affidavit. The other party can sign an affidavit stating that the parties have been separated for two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The affidavit must be served on the other party. If the party fails to respond, the court will grant the divorce. The other party can file a response and contest the two-year separation requirement or deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The court will hear the matter and make a decision to grant the divorce.
Institutionalization is rarely used as a grounds for divorce. The court will grant an institutionalization divorce only if the defendant has been in a mental hospital for the last 18 months due to insanity or a serious mental condition. The defendant must be expected to remain in the institution for an additional 18 months.
4. Fault Divorce
Some spouses choose to file a fault divorce. The plaintiff must prove at a hearing that a defendant is at fault for the divorce. Grounds for fault include adultery, domestic violence, abandonment of the plaintiff for at least one year, imprisonment for more than two years, or the mistreatment of the plaintiff. A fault divorce is very expensive. The plaintiff must also show that she/he is innocent of wrongdoing. In addition, if the court finds that no-fault grounds exist under either 1 or 2 above, they are required to enter the divorce on those grounds instead and no hearing will be held.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Pennsylvania, contact our law office for a consultation. We can discuss the grounds you may have for filing divorce and how to best proceed.
Contact Our Lebanon Divorce Lawyers
Should you have further questions regarding divorce or any issues pertaining to your divorce please do not hesitate to contact our team of Reading, Pennsylvania divorce attorneys. We can be reached via email here. We respond to all inquiries promptly as part of our pledge to put your case and your needs first.