In Pennsylvania, many divorces are resolved through negotiation, without ever having to appear in court, with a Marriage Settlement Agreement. But sometimes parties later regret entering into the agreement for failing to fully understand the terms.
It is important to thoroughly read over you Marriage Settlement Agreement before it is finalized. Also, ask yourself if this agreement is practical for your life. Can you really follow through with its terms? Can your ex?
If you do not have legal counsel, understand one thing: your ex’s attorney does not represent your interests. You should consult with your own attorney to review the agreement before signing. It’s possible that you aren’t receiving a fair deal.
Spivak Law Firm handles all family law matters, including: divorce, child custody, child support, and Protection from Abuse (PFA). Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
The most important times to reassess your will include the times when your family makeup changes. For example, if you get married, everything changes to include your spouse. If you have a new child, you want to include the child in your will as well. If you have a divorce, you want to go back and change the funds and property that you are giving your soon-to-be ex-wife or ex-husband. You will also want to look at your will for other reasons to make changes.
To speak with a Pittsburgh attorney about drafting your will, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Once the divorce process is under way, your lawyer will need ready access to all relevant financial documents. Start by locating and gathering together the following records pertaining to both you and your spouse:
- Social Security numbers
- Income tax returns for the past three years
- Retirement savings plans statements for the past three years
- Bank account statements
- Insurance policies (life; automobile; house; other)
- Stock certificates
- Credit card bills
- Employment payment stubs
- Brokerage statements
- Pension statements
- Health insurance and work-related benefits
- Real estate records
- Receipts and monthly statements documenting household expenses and everyday expenses (groceries, gas, heat, water, personal grooming, transportation, gifts, clothing, laundry and cleaning supplies, entertainment, miscellaneous expenses, and so forth)
- List of all assets and liabilities
- Date of separation (the date of separation is the date used to determine the value of particular assets – the matrimonial home, bank statements, investments, and so forth)
To speak with a Pittsburgh family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
In Allegheny County, any person involved in a child custody dispute must enroll in Generations, an alternative dispute resolution program that includes an educational seminar and mediation session. To learn about the educational seminar, please click here. To learn about the mediation session, please click here. To learn about waiving the mediation session due to issues of domestic violence, please click here. To learn about the custody conciliation, please click here.
If you and the other party are unable to come to an agreement at the custody conciliation, you may be ordered to submit income information for psychological/home evaluations. Allegheny Forensic Associates conducts psychological evaluations.
Once an order is issued for psychological evaluations, the assigned evaluator will contact the parties and schedule the appropriate appointments. Evaluators may administer certain psychological tests and conduct interviews and observations. When the evaluation is completed, the evaluator will issue a report to the parties and the assigned Judge.
The moving party may praecipe for a judicial conciliation before the assigned Judge with the docket clerk on the third floor of the Family Court Building once they have received the report, if they wish to go forward.
In custody matters, if requested by either party or if ordered by a child custody officer, hearing officer or judge, parties may be referred for a home evaluation. The officer or judge will determine and allocate the total fee. Requests to reallocate fees will only be addressed in motions court by the assigned judge.
To speak with an experienced Allegheny County family law, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Can you still get alimony even if you had an affair during the marriage?
Yes. Under Pennsylvania law, courts consider 17 factors when determining whether to order alimony. Adultery and other forms of marital misconduct represent just one of those factors. Other factors include the duration of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, and the relative needs of the parties. Courts will consider adultery only if it occurred prior to the date of final separation between the parties. A person cannot continue to receive alimony after moving in with a new partner, unless the parties agree otherwise.
To speak with an Allegheny County divorce attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Child support payments in Pennsylvania continue until a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. If you owe child support but do not pay it, there are several enforcement measures that may be taken against you, including:
- Your wages may be withheld
- Your federal and state income tax refunds may be taken
- Your bank or credit union may be ordered to turn over your financial assets
- Major credit bureaus may be alerted
- The following licenses may be suspended, denied, or not renewed:
- Driver’s license
- Commercial driver’s license
- Professional or occupational license
- Fishing license
- Hunting license
- Your passport may be denied or not renewed
- Your lottery winnings may be taken
- Your name may be published in the newspaper
- Your overdue support may become a lien against all real estate that you own in Pennsylvania
- You may be fined or imprisoned for up to two years
To speak with an Allegheny County family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Child support is largely based on parents’ income. At a child support hearing, both parents are required to bring federal income tax returns, including W-2s, and pay stubs for the preceding six months.
But what constitutes income for child support purposes? According to Pennsylvania law, income includes:
–wages, salaries, bonuses, fees and commissions;
–net income from business or dealings in property;
–interest, rents, royalties and dividends;
–pensions and all forms of retirement;
–income from an interest in an estate or trust;
–Social Security disability benefits;
–Social Security retirement benefits;
–temporary and permanent disability benefits;
–income tax refunds; and
–insurance compensation or settlements.
Income does not include, however, public assistance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, Social Security payments for a child, and foster care payments.
For more information on child support in Pennsylvania, contact Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.