Divorce & Separation
No one gets married expecting to divorce or separate, but the best of intentions can't fix every relationship. At Uncoupling Pittsburgh, we understand how difficult the uncoupling processes can be for married and unmarried persons alike.
Whether you agree on everything and are seeking an uncontested divorce/separation or if you are facing a difficult, litigious, contested divorce matter, we are here to help address the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of separation.
The single most most difficult part of uncoupling for parents: When do I see my children.
The decision to separate or divorce often hinges on that question. In Pennsylvania, the concern for the courts is "what is in the best interest of the child" Whether it is mom or dad, or a grandparent or third party seeking custody time, the fundamental concern for the Court is what custody arrangement is best for the child or children involved. While there are different standards or burdens for parents or grandparents in child custody, and different kinds of child custody arrangements ( like partial custody, shared custody or primary custody) it is the best interest standard that always guides the Court in its determinations.
Division of Assets & Equitible Distribtion
In Pennsylvania, it is generally the case that any assets you acquire during your marriage (be it you home, your pension, or your car) are considered to be marital property regardless of how they are titled. There are exceptions, of course. Assets may be excluded from marital property by agreement of the parties, like in a Prenuptial or Post-nuptial agreement. Some are not entirely marital property as a matter of law, like gifts or inheritances.
The division of marital assets is governed by the principles of equitable distribution. Equitable Distribution does not mean equal in all cases. Based upon a review of the numerous Equitable Distribution factors, the division of assets may be skewed in one parties' favor over the other. Or the division of some assets may be skewed and the division of other assets may be equal. Equitable distribution is a very fact specific determination you should discuss with an attorney.
If you are separating or divorcing, you may need to address support even if you do not have children. In PA, the lower earning spouse (or lower earning capacity spouse) may have a claim for support when the parties have separated (spousal support), after a divorce complaint has been filed (alimony pendente lite) or even after the divorce decree has been entered (alimony). The incomes and earning capacities of the parties, each of their reasonable needs and expenses, and numerous other factors can effect the determination of each of these kinds of support. You should consult with an experienced attorney to discus whether or not you may have a right to receive or be required to pay spousal support, alimony pendente lite or alimony.
Your child has a right to be supported. That right does not belong to mom or dad, it belong to the child and cannot be bargained away by the parties. Child support is based on the income shares model in PA. The court looks at the income or earning capacity of each parent to determine the correct amount of child support. The Court can assign an earning capacity to a party who is not working based upon their education, work history, age, etc. Child support will also direct payment of health insurance and medical costs as part of a child support order. They may also include activity costs and school tuition depending upon the circumstances. Child support may also be effected by your custody schedule and child support is always modifiable.
Questions Regarding you rights?
If you are facing a divorce or separation, or court proceeding for support or custody you should consult with an attorney to know your rights.