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Greensburg Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Divorce mediation involves multiple steps

The dissolution of a marriage is inherently complex, so it can quickly feature unpleasant surprises. However, understanding the general steps of a divorce proceeding in Pennsylvania may help to put one's mind more at ease. These steps apply to a divorce proceeding that involves divorce mediation as well, where both parties agree to try to find common ground and reach a divorce settlement outside of court.

First, an attorney of one spouse drafts a divorce petition, or complaint, which details why the spouse seeks a divorce and how this party would like to handle custody, financial and other matters. This petition is filed with the court. It's then served on the other spouse, who will typically want to respond to it. If the complaint is not answered formally, the party sued could lose certain legal rights.

Divorce mediation, focus on children helpful during breakup

Children in the same household in Pennsylvania may have varying reactions to divorce. For instance, some might feel sorrow and thus pay less attention to their schoolwork, whereas others may be anxious. Still others might pretend as though the divorce is not affecting them. No matter what the children may be feeling, divorce mediation can be a helpful way of dealing with the divorce for all parties involved.

With divorce mediation, the parents can work on addressing their issues privately rather than handling these matters at trial. At trial, the evidence may become a part of the public record. Mediation can also be more amicable than going to trial, which is healthier for both the parents and, in turn, the children from an emotional standpoint.

Property division decisions can be tricky during divorce

At times, some differences between spouses cannot be resolved, even with marital counseling. In these situations, getting a divorce is the only option for a couple. A few tips might help those going through divorce in Pennsylvania to protect their best interests, particularly when tackling matters such as property division.

Refraining from making major financial decisions before beginning the divorce process is essential, as divorce proceedings determine all of a spouse's big financial changes. For instance, the legal proceedings will help with sorting out changes to retirement accounts, wills and beneficiaries. Making these types of changes before getting divorced may lead the judge to award one's spouse. In addition, for those who have already filed for divorce, making changes without the court's blessing may be grounds for charges of criminal contempt.

Property division, other factors require attention during divorce

Starting all over financially following divorce is understandably difficult. This is particularly the case if a mortgage or other shared asset was involved. Making matters even more challenging is that newly married couples usually do not prepare for property division and living on their own later in life. A few tips may help with reclaiming financial independence following divorce in Pennsylvania.

First, reviewing one's existing finances is critical. This includes taking a close look at current living expenses and any debt that is outstanding. This also includes evaluating child support and alimony obligations. Then, the goal is to ensure that all of these expenses are included in a brand-new budget, with the goal being to avoid living above one's means long term.

Weighing available business options at the end of a marriage

No matter how small the beginning, a family business can flourish over time. Perhaps you and your spouse have put a great deal of time and effort into the economic growth of your company, and what began as a concept has turned into an outstanding success. Chances are, you probably don't want to see all your hard work come to naught.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to predict certain changes in life, such as the end of a marriage. If the two of you have decided to part ways, you may be wondering about the potential outcome of a divorce and how to protect the future of your family business in the process.

Property division involves splitting of marital assets and debt

The divorce process can be messy particularly when the two spouses do not see eye to eye on the financial aspect of it. Property division, for example, is often a major point of contention. However, a few tips may help with navigating money-related matters during the dissolution of a marriage in Pennsylvania.

The main issues in a divorce financial settlement are marital debts and marital assets. Both assets and debts have to be divided between both parties during the divorce proceeding. Marital assets include assets acquired during the marital union and due to the union. However, an inheritance that a spouse receives during the marriage is not considered a marital asset if it is not co-mingled.

Addressing property division during separation may be helpful

After being married for multiple decades, some couples are ready to call it quits. After all, if they have only 20 to 30 years left of their lives, they understandably want the freedom to do as they please. Being legally separated before getting divorced may be a wise move for those contemplating the dissolution of a marriage in Pennsylvania, particularly when many assets or high-value assets have to undergo property division.

Legal separations are invaluable for multiple reasons. First, without formalizing a split, one party might be liable for the other's debts that were incurred during the span of time they spent apart. This is true even if the first party knew nothing about these debts.

Property division involving retirement plan requires QDRO

Those who have just gotten divorced are understandably ready to move forward with their separate lives. However, shutting the door on a previous marriage too quickly may have some unexpected consequences from a financial standpoint. A couple of tips related to property division may be helpful for protecting financial assets following a divorce in Pennsylvania, especially for those nearing retirement.

First, ensuring that all retirement plans are split based on the divorce agreement is critical. According to the IRS, a qualified domestic relations order, also known as a QDRO, is necessary to divide retirement fund plans between two spouses. The QDRO is court ordered and gives specific instructions for how the money is to be split.

Planning for future medical needs is good for you and your family

It can be difficult to think about the future and what kind of health care you may need in the years ahead, but it can also be a beneficial step to have certain protections in place for both you and your Pennsylvania family. You can do this by drafting a living will and having a health care power of attorney.

With these tools, you can outline your wishes for care and medical treatment if incapacitated in the future. This effort can provide you peace of mind and protect your loved ones from complicated and difficult decisions about your care during difficult times.

Property division can be impacted by online dating website

Sometimes, dating while going through divorce, or soon after divorce, can be a helpful mental escape from the emotional challenges of the dissolution of the marriage. However, when it comes to dating websites, caution is necessary. In some cases, information on one spouse's profile in Pennsylvania actually ends up harming his or her divorce case when dealing with issues such as property division.

According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, over 50 percent of attorneys who took part in the survey -- 59 percent -- stated that they had seen a rise in the usage of evidence from online dating sites during the past few years. The top site for this type of evidence was determined to be Match.com, with more than 60 percent of cases pulling evidence from it. The next-popular site for gathering evidence was eHarmony, at 9 percent.

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