and Family Law
The firm's family law practice includes representation for issues involving:
Alimony / Spousal Support
Wills, Estates & Trusts
Without question, some of the most emotionally-charged issues in all
of law fall under the domain of Family Law. Whether you’re experiencing
the joys of marriage and/or adoption or the very trying experiences of
divorce, seeking custody of children and/or division of marital property,
family law issues are not to be taken lightly. As an attorney focusing
much of my practice on Family Law, I can guide you through your Family
Law issue no matter what it is. And while I cannot guarantee you that
this process will always be stress-free, I will do whatever it takes to
ensure that your legal rights remain secure.
The consequences of having a child arrested or referred to Juvenile Court
cannot be overstated. For not only can this experience take a substantial
emotional toll on both parent and child, but it can also lead to serious
drawbacks on a child’s future. Remember though, children charged
with crimes have legal rights just like adults. Chief amongst these is
the child’s right to refuse police questioning until he or she has
had the chance to speak with an attorney. So if your child has been charged
with a crime in Pennsylvania, he or she doesn’t have to stand alone.
Call me for a free consultation so we can make sure your child’s
rights are preserved.
For reasons that are obvious, divorce is something that we all hope to
avoid. In some situations, however, divorce may be the only reasonable
option. If you’re ever in this situation, remember that you have
rights under the law. Such rights include, but are not limited to, an
equitable distribution of the marital property. I cannot change the fact
that any divorce will likely be a trying experience. But I can help to
ensure that in the event of a divorce, your legal rights remain secure.
What Should I Do If Served With a Divorce Complaint?
A divorce action is like any other lawsuit. It begins with a complaint filed
in court and served on the person against whom it is filed. If you receive
a divorce complaint, you will have 20 days to respond. If you do not respond,
the divorce may proceed without you being represented or having your rights
What If I Don't Want a Divorce?
If the divorce is on no-fault grounds, the only defenses are showing that
you have not lived apart for two years or that the marriage is not irretrievably
broken. In a fault divorce, your spouse must be “innocent and injured”
to establish grounds. If you are able to prove that this not the case, you
may be able to prevent the divorce. You can also attempt to prove that the
facts claimed by your spouse are false. There are certain other defenses that
may apply in specific situations. You should discuss with your attorney what
courses of action might be available.
What is the Role of a Lawyer?
If you and your spouse are having marital problems, your lawyer can assist
you in three areas. First, an attorney will advise you of your legal rights
and duties. Second, he or she will help to bring about an agreeable settlement
of the legal disputes which arise between you and your spouse as a result
of separation or divorce. Finally, your lawyer is your representative in enforcing
your rights in a court of law or in defending you if your spouse has filed
Who Pays the Attorney's Fees?
The court has the power to award preliminary counsel fees to the dependent
spouse. In addition, in the final order, after the property rights of the
parties are determined, the court could direct the parties to pay their own
costs and fees, or it may divide the costs and expenses equitably between
the parties. Payment and recovery of costs and attorney’s fees are matters
to be discussed with your lawyer during the initial meeting.
What is Legal Separation?
Technically, there is no such thing in Pennsylvania as a “legal separation.”
Separation simply means that you and your spouse no longer live together.
Separation may occur by mutual consent or if one of you leave or is expelled
from the home. Under some circumstances, you may be considered separated even
though you and your spouse still live in the same residence.
What Happens to Real Estate We Own?
Most married couples own their real property as “tenants by the entireties.”
This form of joint ownership means that neither spouse can sell the property
during the marriage without consent of the other. Upon divorce, however, unless
the parties have a written agreement providing for the division of the property,
the court has the power to divide the property based on equitable principles.
This means that the court will take many factors into account when arriving
at a fair division; although that does not mean that the property will be
divided equally. The court takes into consideration both spouses’ economic
and non-economic contributions to property acquired during the marriage. If
neither you and your spouse nor the court divide the property, then the nature
of your ownership automatically changes after divorce and you both become
“tenants in common.”
Who Owns the Household Goods?
Household items, such as drapes, carpets, furniture and appliances are generally
not titled in either spouse’s name. Unless you can show a different
intent, the law treats all such property as being jointly owned and used for
the benefit of both spouses, regardless of who actually paid for it. As part
of the divorce, the court may consider these things as marital property and
distribute them accordingly.
What Will be in the Final Court Order?
When the court issues a Decree of Divorce, the order may include other matters
if they were raised in the proceeding by either spouse. These include disposition
of marital property and other property interests; child custody and visitation;
child support; alimony; and enforcement of agreements voluntarily entered
into by the parties.
How Can I Help my Children?
Keep children out of the conflict! The problems should be worked out between
you, your spouse, and your attorneys, not through your children. Also, children
often feel that they are the cause of the problems and must be reassured that
this is not the case. These are very difficult times for you and your family.
Do not be afraid to get help from family and friends or by asking your attorney
for names of professional counselors or therapists.
This website is informational only and
is not legal advice. The information presented at this site should not
be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client