Vacation (Custody) All I Ever Wanted

With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend and the official kick off of summer, it seemed a good time to share my post regarding vacation custody time. While another year has passed, the thoughts remain and will likely continue to be true. If you have a child, and the other parent has ANY custody time, I strongly suggest you read the below post, and contact me if you find yourself in a situation requiring legal assistance.  I am sure that if you haven’t already, at some point this summer just about all of you have had a conversation with a…

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Same-Sex Marriage – Now We Know a Little More

  Last year, on the anniversary of a very significant court case which changed the laws regarding same-sex marriage, I posted about how the change in Pennsylvania and Federal law to recognize the right for individuals to engage in same-sex marriages still left a whole lot of unanswered questions about how exactly that was going to work through the court system. (See the post at https://uncouplingpittsburgh.com/same-sex-divorce-what-we-know-so-far/). While the change in law clearly affected parties getting married prospectively, there were many unanswered questions about what would happen if a party who entered into a relationship prior to the change in law…

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Tax Season is Coming

Many folks are filled with dread at the mere thought of having to sit down, pull out their W-2s, and work their way through that 1040. For many people, tax season is always a headache and one they would prefer to avoid, if at all possible. For parties who have recently separated or divorced, tax season can bring with it a host of other issues that must be addressed in order to complete their taxes and file same in a manner that is not going to get them audited.  If you have recently divorced or separated, you should consult with…

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The Wait is Over. Or at least shorter.

The change in Pennsylvania’s Divorce Code allowing for a one year waiting period is now officially in affect. Any couples separating after December 5, 2016 will have a one year waiting period to seek a divorce instead of the prior two year waiting period. Wondering how this change could effect your divorce? Contact me to find out.

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WHICH HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS? Holiday Custody

With Thanksgiving arriving next week, and Christmas, Hanukkah and a host of other holidays just around the corner, I wanted to recirculate last year’s holiday custody post, updated slightly. Though another year may have passed, it rings just as true. On the Simpsons, Helen Lovejoy is often quoted as saying, “Will someone please think of the children?” I think this is a particularly appropriate sentiment during the holiday season. For families who have not been “intact” for some time or others who are going through transition, often the stress of the holiday season, coupled with the additional stress of new…

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DIVORCE LAW CHANGES

Its Official. On Tuesday, October 4th, Governor Wolf signed what was HB 380, which is now PA law regarding the waiting period for a contested divorce. The law becomes effective 60 after it’s signing (December 3). Under the new law, parties who separate after December 3, 2016 will only need to live separate and apart for a period of one year to move forward with a divorce action without the other parties’ consent.

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SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO NOW? – Another legislative update

It’s happening again. There has been another push to pass House Bill 380, which would shorten the waiting period for a no fault, contested divorce from the current two (2) years to only one (1) year. It looks like it is going to happen. Of great importance, the Bill, in its current form, is not retroactive. As set forth in its current version: “The amendment of 23 Pa.C.S. §§ 3301(d) and 3323(g)(3) shall apply to periods of living separate and apart that commence after the effective date of this section.” All signs are pointing to the Bill being signed into…

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GRANDPARENT CUSTODY – Grandparents Rights: Wrong?

Switching gears in what had been a few decades of continually expanding rights for grandparents in the state of Pennsylvania, on September 9, 2016, in the case of D.P. & B.P., his wife, v. J.P. & A.P., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion which would now serve to limit the times at which grandparents can seek partial custody of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania.In D.P., the Court framed the question before them as being whether or not “the parents’ fundamental rights are violated by the conferral of standing based solely on a parental separation lasting at least six (6) months.”…

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What the Heck is Generations – Part 2

So, if the parties end up in Court, and aren’t able to work out a custody schedule/parenting plan in their mediation session, there is still a long (and expensive ) road ahead of them: A Generation’s Conciliation where the parties come with their attorneys and meet with a generation’s conciliator: A judicial conciliation where the parties come with their attorneys and meet with the judge. There may be more than one of these if perhaps the judge wants the parties to go to the Impact program (drug and alcohol testing), psychological evaluations, or other treatment or testing. Typically, the judges…

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CHILD CUSTODY – What the Heck is Generations – Or, How a Custody Action Gets Started

As I have mentioned before, one of the very common issues that comes up as part of the uncoupling process is how to address custodial arrangements for any children born of the parties’ relationship.  To be honest, that statement doesn’t actually cover all of the possible custody actions in Pennsylvania.  Obviously, children don’t necessarily have to arise out of relationships that would come with other uncoupling issues.  Further, there can be custody actions brought by “non-parents” like step-parents, grandparents and anyone who stands “in loco parentis” (which basically means that they discharge the duties of a parent regardless of their…

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Vacation (custody) All I ever Wanted

I am sure that if you haven’t already, at some point this summer just about all of you have had a conversation with a friend or relative about their plans for their big summer vacation this year: where they are taking the kids, what they are doing, how much those ride-all-day passes cost at the amusement park, etc. What they probably didn’t share with you is whether or not their attorney had to go to court to make that happen. Seems kind of crazy, doesn’t it? That somewhere between airfare, hotel rooms, and tickets to Wally World, your friend or…

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Will You Have to Pay Alimony to Your Ex-Husband?

This is becoming more an more of an issue.   alimony is still “alive and well in Pennsylvania” and it is gender blind. While no one likes to hear that they will be obligated to pay alimony, the fact that more and more women are the ones obligated to pay is a sign of our changing times.   Read more blow about  these changes. Will You Have to Pay Alimony to Your Ex-Husband?: Ladies, we have been making some serious progress when it comes to income over the last few decades, but with great paychecks come great responsibilities…

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Same Sex Divorce – What we know So Far

So if we have same sex marriage, what does that mean for same sex divorce? More than two years ago, on May 20, 2014, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled in the case of in Whitewood, et al., and determined that same sex marriage would now be recognized in the courts of Pennsylvania.  As of that date, despite the fact that it was not yet nationally recognized, the state of Pennsylvania determined that they would extend the right of marriage to same sex couples throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The opinion issued by the court, which is linked below, (http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions/13-1861.pdf)…

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DIVORCE – Making Ours Mine – Division of Assets in Pennsylvania

One of the issues that comes up in all most every divorce and in many separations is how to divide property that parties acquired during their relationship.  Unfortunately, if this relationship was not a marriage, it can be very difficult to figure out how to distribute jointly titled vehicles, homes, and other assets and it may involve numerous separate actions to address these items.  If the parties who are uncoupling were married, the Divorce Code sets forth well-established rules and guidelines for how to divide those assets that they acquired during the marriage through a process that we call “equitable…

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But what if we can’t agree? Ways to resolve legal custody/co-parenting issues.

In light of the fact that the vast majority of parents share the right to make major decisions with regards to their children (as discussed in my last post), it is not uncommon for disputes to arise between them as to what is in the best interest of their child. There are several ways they can go about trying to resolve these issues: 1. Litigation: Right, wrong, or other, a traditional way to “resolve” these disputes has been to run to court. In Allegheny County, there is at least one judge hearing motions pretty much every day of the week—sometimes…

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Should I Stay or Should I Go Now: A Legislative Update

Some of you may have read my prior blog posts regarding establishing separation and how that can affect your rights to support, custody, equitable distribution, and ultimately, a Decree in Divorce. As I mentioned in those posts, in Pennsylvania we have what we call a two-year waiting period. What this ends up meaning is if one spouse wants to have a divorce and the other does not, the parties must be living separate and apart for a period of at least two years before the court has the right to issue a Decree in Divorce. For example, here in Allegheny…

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Should I Stay or Should I Go Now: A Legislative Update

Some of you may have read my prior blog posts regarding establishing separation and how that can affect your rights to support, custody, equitable distribution, and ultimately, a Decree in Divorce. As I mentioned in those posts, in Pennsylvania we have what we call a two-year waiting period. What this ends up meaning is if one spouse wants to have a divorce and the other does not, the parties must be living separate and apart for a period of at least two years before the court has the right to issue a Decree in Divorce. For example, here in Allegheny…

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Who’s the Boss? An Introduction to Legal Custody

When most people think about custody, they think about where their child is going to be, with whom and at what time. This first kind of custody that most often comes to mind is what we call physical custody.  It is the actual schedule that dictates with which parent (or grandparent or in loco parentis person) a child will be with at a particular period of time.  The physical custody components may include rules for vacations, holidays, when and where you meet, etc.  However, as most folks know, there is a whole lot more to raising a child than just…

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Should I Stay or Should I go Now Part 3

  So how do you show you’re separated, you ask? Well, what is separation can be very tricky. It is a fact specific determination that is not terribly well defined. The rule is that you “stop living in a husband and wife-like manner.” (The quote is old. This works the same way for same sex couples now that same sex marriages are recognized in PA.) Whether you “are living in a husband and wife-like manner” is very specific to an individual couple, as you look at how your lives have changed since the alleged separation date. The most important fact,…

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SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO NOW PART 2

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO NOW  – PART 2 Separation also affects support. If you are talking about physically separating, and you are no longer sharing the household expenses, this can trigger a right to support even if a divorce complaint has not been filed. That can include spousal support for a lower wage earner and child support depending upon your respective incomes and custody arrangement. While two parties are still physically in the same home, it is largely assumed that there is not a need for support so long as nobody is being left completely penniless and the…

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SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO NOW – Part 1

I mentioned in a blog post earlier this year that the beginning of the New Year tends to bring with it new divorce flings and cases. While the actual filings peak in March of the year, as I write this I am sure there are people who have been contemplating separating from their spouse or who plan on talking with a lawyer in the near future.  Whether or not you separate is a huge decision. When you separate can have huge ramifications in potential divorce litigation. When and how you separate, i.e., the day you “stop living in a husband…

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Making “Mine” “Ours” – Transmutation of Property

MAKING MINE OURS – The Transmutation of  Property In my recent post regarding marital property, I made a reference to the concept of transmutation. As I mentioned in that post, this is a rather unusual, made-up lawyer word for what happens when somebody changes a piece of separate property into marital property. Under the Divorce Code there are certain items of property that are excluded from the marital estate and which are not to be equitably divided by the parties (or the court). These excluded properties basically boil down to the following: Gifts received during the marriage; Inheritances received during…

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A Few More Thoughts on the Holidays

A FEW MORE THOUGHTS ON THE HOLIDAYS While the focus of my last blog post was on people facing the holidays who have separated, I think it’s important to recognize the fact that there are many individuals, some of whom are reading this, who have decided to “stick it out” through the holiday season. A cursory review of statistics will show you that there is a significant spike in filing for divorce January through March. As a practitioner, I can assure you that a large portion of this is attributed to people deciding to “stick it out through the holidays”…

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No Place Like Home for the Holidays

A few Thoughts on the Holidays First, let me start by apologizing for my delay in getting this blogpost out. It certainly would have been more applicable a few weeks ago prior to the Hanukkah holiday. Nonetheless, some of the takeaways from this post will be useful throughout the year. On the Simpsons, Helen Lovejoy is often quoted as saying, “Will someone please think of the children?” I think this is a particularly appropriate sentiment during the holiday season. For families who have not been “intact” for some time or others who are going through transition, oftentimes stress of the…

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Loco Means Crazy, Right? Maybe.

But not really. In this case, the “loco” is In Loco Parentis. (Yes, lawyers still love the occasion Latin phrase.) Basically, it’s just the legal term of art for acting like a parent or doing the things a parent would normally do for a child. It’s also the topic of this week’s post as very recently, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania may have changed the rules on this one. A lot of the folks reading this have had step-parents in their lives, either as a role that they are now fulfilling or have fulfilled in the past, or as someone…

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CHILD CUSTODY – YOURS MINE OUR – ALWAYS OURS

Rebecca A. Myers, Esquire February 1 at 3:38pm ·  Yours, Mine, Ours, ALWAYS Ours – Child Custody Custody litigation can be emotionally exhausting and financially devastating. I think that some of this happens because people do not fully understand: 1) how the court system operates; or2) what the court system typically does or thinks about you and your kids. The title of my post is important. As I discussed last week, property can be divided–you can each take half of the bank account, you can sell off the house, etc. THINGS are divisible. THINGS can break down into his and hers…

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YOURS, MINE, OURS, MOSTLY OURS: A MARITAL PROPERTY PRIMER

When two parties are divorcing, one of the first questions they have is who gets what marital property. The rules that define assets as marital property subject to division can be a little bit tricky. Many people are more than a little surprised to find out that the court views marriage as a partnership and, regardless of who earns the money, purchases the assets, or has things in their name, it is generally believed that each of the parties have an interest in whatever assets are acquired during the marriage. Pennsylvania is what we call “title blind”—it doesn’t matter if…

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Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year and may 2016 bring the best to all of you reading this! I will keep things relatively light since it is New Year’s and I am sure some of you are recovering from last evening’s festivities while others prepare for a traditional New Years dinner. Some of you are facing both. I wish you the best in your efforts to survive eating sauerkraut while hungover. I don’t know what 2016 will hold for myself or for any of you reading this. I do know that I have resolved to try to use this blog to provide people…

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