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Pennsylvania Divorce Law Changes
Pennsylvania has been a "no-fault" divorce state for many years. A 90-day (give or take) no-fault divorce may be achieved as long as both parties agree and all of the requisite paperwork is prepared and filed at the requisite times. Without agreement of both parties, there is a two-year process. These procedures have been the "law" for many years and seemed to work relatively well. Well, guess what, the legislature has decided to make some changes to "protect" the non-consenting spouse in a two-year divorce. Now, let's just say, there are already notices that must be sent to the non-consenting spouse and waiting periods and the like, but, apparently, this is not good enough anymore. So, be prepared, a simple divorce may not be as simple as it used to be.
Do I need an attorney?
With the increase in on-line attorney forms and services, do clients need their own attorney? Well, of course! This is a law firm's website so you would expect us to say that but, regardless, YES, you should have an attorney to help you through the maze and emotion of divorce, property distribution, support, child custody. Your attorney is YOUR advocate in the legal system. A generic form cannot talk, answer questions, calm your fears. A generic attorney from an out-of-state on-line firm will not be able to answer questions specific to your county. Each and every county has its own way of doing things and these nuances are not always written. We have always offered free initial consultations to allow our clients the opportunity to meet us and decide if they are comfortable and confident with our services.
College Support is NOT mandatory...
Child support legally ends when the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If either or both parents CHOOSE to support their child(ren) through college, it is a VOLUNTARY choice, NOT required by law. Accordingly, parents should pay attention to the various college loan applications. If a parent signs, co-signs, or acts as guarantor, that parent is financially responsible for repayment. If the child "promises" to pay but fails to do so, the creditor will look to the parent. A Parent Plus loan is NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy so, once obligated, always obligated. Certainly, sending children to college is a wonderful gift, but that is just what it is, a GIFT, not an obligation.

If you have any news to share or have questions, please e-mail us or give us a call.
Scary Infringement of Parental Rights
http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/pa/201203270.asp

Copy and Paste this Link for a scary story and then hug your kids.
Thoughts to Help Your Children
Check out this article on the web regarding how to minimize the bad effects of divorce on the children.
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NEW SUPPORT RULE - ANYONE CAN FILE
Effective November 1, 2011, even someone that might owe support (child, spousal) can start the case.
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ARE POWERS OF ATTORNEY STILL VALID IN PA?
A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court case calls into question whether banks, insurance companies, investment account administrators and other third parties will follow the directions of agents appointed by Power of Attorney.
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CUSTODY LAW REVISED FOR 2011
Pennsylvania has significantly revised the statutes that control child custody. The revisions include requiring the trial court: to delineate the reasons for its decision; provide the specific terms and conditions of the award in sufficient detail to enable a party to enforce the order through law enforcement authorities; allowing the court to significantly punish willful contempt; and requiring substantial prior notice of an intent to relocate. If you are involved in a custody case you need to know whether these revisions in the law will impact your case. At Peterson & Peterson we still offer free initial consultations to discuss your legal issues. Please call to schedule an appointment.
PENNSYLVANIA HAS NEW SUPPORT GUIDELINES
Pennsylvania has adopted revised support guidelines that are now in effect.
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SUPERIOR COURT OVERRULES PRESUMPTION AGAINST HOMOSEXUAL PARENTS
On January 21, 2010, in the case of MAT v. GST, the Pennsylvania Superior Court overruled 25 years of an evidentiary presumption that favored heterosexual parents for primary physical custody in custody cases.
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RESUMING MAIDEN NAME DURING DIVORCE
Pennsylvania Law allows any party to a divorce to resume their prior surname (maiden name) during the divorce even before the divorce is granted. See 54 Pa.C.S. Section 704. To do so you simply prepare and file a Notice to Resume Prior Surname with the Prothonotary where the divorce was filed. If you have any questions regarding this or any other family law issue please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.
RECOMMEND REVISIONS TO POWERS OF ATTORNEY
PETERSON & PETERSON STRONGLY RECOMMENDS AMENDING YOUR POWERS OF ATTORNEY TO PROTECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
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BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR MONEY!
If you are married and you receive an inheritance it is your separate property (not subject to distribution between you and your spouse if you divorce) unless you co-mingle the inherited property. If you buy real estate with the inheritance and take joint title with your spouse, the inheritance becomes marital property. The same thing happens if you deposit the inheritance into a joint bank account.

You can protect your separate assets!
PENNSYLVANIA CUSTODY RELOCATION
When parents of children separate and one parent wants to relocate so that the custody arrangement must change, what happens?

In Pennsylvania the Courts follow the case of Gruber v. Gruber, 583 A.2d. 434 (1990). The Gruber case requires that the relocation be in the best interests of the children. The parent wishing to relocate must prove:

1. that the move would substantially improve the quality of life for the relocating parent and children;

2. that the move is not based on a whim or animosity toward the other parent; and

3. that there is a realistic substitute visitation schedule for the non-relocating parent.

If you have questions about how this law applies to your custody situation please contact us by telephone or e-mail to arrange a free initial consultation.