Greensburg Pennsylvania Law Blog

Don’t just help your grandma cross the street – protect her purse

Your grandma may have been your role model as a child. Maybe you loved having her read books to you. Perhaps everything you know about baking is due to the hours she spent teaching (and cleaning up after) you in the kitchen. Whatever your connection was when you were little, it can be really hard to change roles as your grammy gets older. But while changes may feel uncomfortable, protecting her and her finances may be inevitable.

Whether your grandma is failing physically or suffers from dementia, you might consider having her move into an assisted living situation. Although you may be wary of physical or emotional maltreatment, have you considered that your grandma’s finances might be at risk?

Property division does not have to be a landmine during divorce

Navigating the process of dissolving a marriage can be similar to navigating a minefield for many couples in Pennsylvania. This is because emotional explosions can happen at any time during a divorce proceeding. A few tips, however, may make it possible for people going through divorce to keep the process amicable when discussing issues such as property division and alimony.

First, those going through divorce may want to take a look at their marital history, as their history may show them what their divorce process will be like. As an example, if two people fought a lot during their marriage, they will likely have a hard time avoiding hostile fights during their divorce proceeding. In addition, if they argued mostly about their finances, property division may become a chief source of conflict for them during the divorce.

Financial mistakes made during divorce mediation may be costly

Just as a married couple's finances may become a source of conflict and confusion during their marriage, it can become a problem for them if they decide to part ways. Unfortunately, if a spouse makes money-related mistakes during divorce mediation or the litigation process, they can have long-term negative effects. Here is a glimpse at a couple of mistakes that can be especially costly in Pennsylvania.

The first mistake is failing to gather all essential paperwork at the start of the divorce proceeding. This paperwork includes a Social Security statement for each spouse hat details the individual's income record and thus what the benefits may be in the future. Other relevant documents to collect include home remodeling receipts as well as documentation of the value of a home and another significant marital assets. It also makes sense to record bank and other financial account numbers along with their balances.

Relationship rules may lead to divorce, property division battle

Many relationship rules have traditionally been followed and are often still recognized today. However, even though they may work in certain marital situations, following them in other situations could lead to divorce, in which case a couple will have to tackle issues like property division. Here is a look at a couple of traditional relationship rules that could result in the demise of a marriage in Pennsylvania.

First, according to one old-fashioned rule, it is best to ignore problems in the relationship, as bringing them up may make things worse. However, counseling experts say that arguing and disagreeing does not always harm relationships. In fact, disagreeing can be helpful by enabling couples to fine-tune and direct their relationships. Disagreeing becomes unhealthy only when spouses criticize each other and get defensive.

Student loans could be discharged in personal bankruptcy

Many borrowers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are struggling to repay their student loans. Naturally, they may wonder if they can discharge this overwhelming debt in a personal bankruptcy filing. The reality is that a student loan usually cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, but there is an exception.

If borrowers are experiencing undue hardship, they may be able to discharge their debt. The Brunner test is the specific test used in most circuit courts to determine if a borrower truly is experiencing this type of hardship. To pass the Brunner test, borrowers must have extenuating circumstances where they cannot repay their student loans and still maintain a minimum living standard. In addition, these circumstances must continue during their student loan repayment terms, and the borrowers must have made an effort to repay their loans.

Property division does not have to be a battle during divorce

The start of a new year is a common time for many couples to decide to get divorced in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. However, the divorce process does not necessarily have feel like a game of tug-and-war, even when spouses are dealing with complicated matters like property division. It is possible for couples to have a smooth divorce process by following a couple of steps.

First, it is important for both parties to avoid trying to get revenge on each other, especially if infidelity is involved. For instance, a spouse who was cheated on may bring pictures to court that provide evidence of the other party's infidelity. This spouse may even try to assemble evidence of the same with the help of a private investigator. The truth is, though, that the court likely will not focus on this information unless the spouse who did the cheating destroyed the household finances by splurging on his or her affair.

Why do I need a will when I'm young?

It may be hard to talk about, but planning for your death by creating a will is an important part of caring for your family. It outlines your wishes and intentions upon your death and can alleviate stress for those you love.

When you're a young adult, it's easy to put off creating a will. A will is often associated with elder end-of-life planning and therefore, many young people postpone thinking about it. With a will, you're not only planning for the designation of your assets but addressing other legal matters as well. A will can be an important part of a young family's life when children are involved.

Personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7

Sometimes, consumers in Pennsylvania find themselves deep in debt and desperate for relief. Fortunately, this relief may come in the form of a personal bankruptcy filing. Here is a glimpse at what a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing involves and how it differs from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is where a person is given the chance to pay some of his or her debts over time. With a bankruptcy trustee, the individual will begin a repayment plan that will last either three years or five years. This bankruptcy process will work only for those who have steady incomes. In addition, a judge must approve the repayment plan on which an individual wishes to be placed.

Will alimony factor into your divorce settlement?

During divorce, you may be concerned about your financial state once the process is finalized. You may be wondering whether alimony will be involved, and what child support payments will look like.

If you are a man, you may believe that paying alimony is inevitable. If you are a woman, you may believe that receiving child support is a given. However, these assumptions may be incorrect.

Child custody tips may help during divorce mediation or trial

When parents decide to get divorced, they naturally may worry about how their children will fare. They also worry about whether they are making the right decisions regarding child custody and parenting, whether they are going through divorce mediation or litigating unresolved issues. Here are a couple of tips for helping children to cope with divorce in Pennsylvania.

First, divorce is a major change in the children's world, and that they often pick up on a lot more than their parents may realize. It's essential that the parents are as respectful to each other as possible in front of the children, rather than trying to turn the children against the other party. After all, a child's relationship with each parent is entirely different from the parents relationship with one another. 

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Stewart, McArdle, Sorice, Whalen, Farrell, Finoli & Cavanaugh, LLC

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