Domestic

More than half of all marriages end in divorce. We represent spouses in the difficult process of divorcing, along with the division of their marital assets. Our experienced attorneys work hard to secure the best financial settlement for our clients.

NO FAULT DIVORCE

If you have been married for a short period and have not acquired any assets in common (such as houses, pensions or bank accounts) you may be a candidate for a No-Fault Divorce. We represent clients for a flat fee to obtain a No-Fault Divorce.

Under the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, parties can be divorced by agreement. Such cases typically take about six (6) months. If your spouse is unwilling to consent to a divorce, we can still obtain a decree, once you have been living separately for two years.

FAULT DIVORCE

In a small number of cases, it is appropriate, based upon the marital misconduct of the other spouse, to pursue a divorce based upon "Fault".

A husband or wife is entitled to a divorce based upon fault grounds if the other spouse is guilty of adultery, or desertion, if he or she has been incarcerated for a period of time, has been placed in a mental institution or has offered such "indignities" as to render the innocent spouses' life intolerable. If you have had to obtain a Protection from Abuse Order against your spouse because you were assaulted, you may also have grounds for a divorce.

DIVISION OF MARITAL PROPERTY

If during your marriage, you and your spouse acquired property, it must be divided before you should obtain a divorce decree. This process is called equitable distribution. Many factors must be taken into consideration in deciding how to fairly divide marital property.

These include the length of marriage, the length of separation, and the age, health and financial status of the parties. Equitable distribution can be handled either between the parties (with the assistance of counsel) or with the intervention of the court. Your attorney will help you to identify the assets that are subject to division, to determine the values of those assets for purposes of equitable distribution, and to negotiate a fair division of those assets. If a settlement cannot be reached with your spouse, we will represent you in a hearing before a Divorce Master, and then, if necessary, in a divorce trial before a judge.

PATERNITY

Paternity is currently one of the most complicated and dynamic areas in Pennsylvania Family Law. We have extensive experience in representing clients in complicated cases concerning Paternity. Just because a man is sued for child support does not necessarily mean that he is the legal father of the child. Just because a man believes that he is biological father of a child does not guarantee that he will be found by the court to have any legal rights as to custody of that child. Pennsylvania laws recognizes several legal fictions that may apply to your case, whether you are married or single, if paternity of a child has become an issue in your domestic relations case.

CHILD SUPPORT

Under Pennsylvania Law, if parties have minor children, the one who has primary physical custody in entitled to receive child support from the other. If the parties' combined net income is less than $30,000 per month, the amount of basic support is determined by Support Guidelines.

SPOUSAL SUPPORT, TEMPORARY ALIMONY, ALIMONY

In cases where parties are divorcing, the court may award either spousal support or temporary alimony to the spouse whose income is lower. There are, however, several defenses to a claim for spousal support.

We represent litigants who sue for spousal support and those defending such claims. As with child support, unless an agreement can be reached out of court, a court officer or a Judge will, after a hearing, determine whether to award spousal support, and if so, the amount of the award.

In conjunction with a divorce with equitable distribution, in some cases, an economically disadvantaged spouse will be awarded alimony, to be paid after the divorce decree is issued. An award of alimony can be for a fixed period of time or until the death of either party. The amount of alimony paid can be subject to modification upon a change in circumstances.

CHILD CUSTODY

Both parents may file for partial, shared, or primary physical custody of minor children. The Court may award primary physical custody to one parent and visitation or partial physical custody to the other parent. We understand that every custody case is unique, and we strive to negotiate custody agreements that work for the parents and truly serve the best interest and welfare of their children.

Depending upon which county your case is in, once a Custody Complaint is filed, a settlement conference or hearing will be scheduled. We represent custody litigants in all stages of their custody cases. We always attempt to negotiate an agreement with the other party or their counsel. We find that parties who have a hand in determining their own custody schedules return to court less often to modify their orders, and that the custody arrangements tend to work better for their children. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the parties must litigate their case before a Custody Judge, in that event, we will prepare all of the witnesses, obtain the necessary school, medical and psychological records, and file the appropriate petitions for home evaluations, mental health assessments and drug testing. We will try your custody case to completion, and, if necessary, handle the appeal.

RELOCATION

In some cases, after a Custody Order is entered, the party awarded primary physical custody wishes to move to a different county or state. Unless the other parent consents, the Court will must conduct a hearing to determine whether to grant the request for relocation.

In a relocation case, the Judge must decide whether the move would be in the best interest of the child. Several factors must be considered by the Judge deciding a Relocation case. These factors include the motives of both the parent seeking permission to relocate and of the parent opposing the move, the advantages (economic and otherwise) of the new location for the moving parent and the child, and the anticipated impact of the move on the custody rights of the parent who will remain in the area. Only an experienced attorney should handle a relocation case, as they tend to be among the most contentious and complex types of family law litigation.

PROTECTION FROM ABUSE

Under Pennsylvania law, persons who are related by blood or by intimate relationships (whether married or not) can seek Protection Orders against those persons who abuse them. The Protection from Abuse Statute provides protection for victims of physical abuse, threats, harassment and stalking.

We provide representation to litigants on both sides of protection from abuse cases. When the case comes to court, the parties are encouraged to try to resolve the matter before trial. One option is an agreement to have an order entered without the defendant admitting that he or she engaged in abusive conduct. If the defendant adamantly denies the allegations, the parties will have a trial and let the Judge determine whether the plaintiff is entitled to relief under the Abuse statute.

OTHER AREAS OF FAMILY LAW

In addition to the areas described above, our office represents clients in dependency matters, grandparents' rights, and in the preparation of prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements. We also represent parties who are arrested and charged with violating Protection Orders that were previously issued against them.