One of the most challenging parts of a divorce is determining how to split up the assets you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have acquired over the course of your relationship. Family law courts vary from state to state when it comes to property division rules. Some states are classified as community property states, while other states, including Pennsylvania, are classified as equitable distribution states.
Although the divorce process can be contentious and adversarial at times, it certainly does not have to be. Sometimes, a marriage or a partnership just stops working. The legal term for this in Pennsylvania is an "irretrievable breakdown" of the marriage. And, if both spouses agree that divorce is the best course of action - and they remain amicable with one another - they can proceed with the divorce absent any adversarial court proceedings.
Sometimes a marriage just stops working for one reason or another, and whether consciously or not, spouses start living their own lives without regard for the other spouse. Under Pennsylvania family law, this is known as living "separate and apart." And living separate and apart can ultimately be grounds for a divorce in the Keystone State.
People can be pleasant in Pennsylvania. Divorcing parents who get along well may be tempted to make decisions about child custody informally and agree on them with nothing but a handshake. Unfortunately, the waters of child custody are not always smooth. Custody usually involves couples working together over the course of years and, on a voyage of that length, you're bound to encounter some rough seas.
Divorce can be a stressful experience, especially when it could result in a financial disparity between the parties involved. For example, a stay-at-home parent who has never worked outside the home would be in a far more precarious financial position than the family's sole breadwinner. Such circumstances are often present in high-asset divorces. Spousal support can help alleviate these types of economic imbalances that divorce can create.
This blog recently discussed child support modifications. Another concern that may arise in the context of child support, and may result in a need for a modification, is medical expenses. Parents may wonder how their child's medical expenses may impact their child support order and child support obligations. The answer is that parents are responsible for their child's uninsured and unreimbursed medical expenses in addition to their child support obligations.
Life does not remain static following a divorce and circumstances change, especially as children grow and develop. Life events can make changes to a previous child support, or child custody, order necessary. A change in circumstances such as a loss of a job, a change in household income, a serious injury or a change in marital status may occasion the need for a post-divorce modification to a child support order. Parents can agree to the change or the request a change from the family law court.
In the state of Pennsylvania, there are numerous adoption agencies available to help families seeking to grow through the adoption process adopt a child. After an agency has been selected, the adoptive parents need to complete an application to begin the adoption process. In general, the application will ask about the composition of the potential adopter's family, their background and the characteristics of the child they are seeking to adopt.
Property division is an important concern for divorcing spouses. In Pennsylvania, equitable property division rules are followed when dividing marital property. Marital property is generally subject to division when a couple in Pennsylvania makes the decision to divorce. Marital property includes property that is acquired or income that is earned during the marriage.
Grandparents' rights can be an important, and sometimes complicated, concern for grandparents, parents and families. In Pennsylvania, if the mother and father of a child are married, then grandparents do not have any rights to custody. The situation may be different, however, if the mother and father of the child are not married.