Pennsylvania Divorce and Family Law

divorce retirement plan
This is probably one of the most common mistakes in settlement agreements and even final judgments, since often times attorneys prepare the final judgment which the judge simply signs. It often erroneously states “retirement plan” without ever defining the type of plan(s) to be divided. Retirement plans can be defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans or some type of hybrid. These plans are vastly different and have different implications when trying to divide them. In defined contribution plans, an employee and/or employer make contributions into an account maintained in the employee’s name. These plans have a known account balance at
While divorce rates hover around 50% for first time marriages (and higher than that for subsequent unions), the reasons for splitting up often center around finances. Disagreements over what to spend and how much to save are often blamed for the failure of a relationship. But finances play another role in divorce, too, according to a recent report in Barron’s. A change in financial behavior might signal that divorce is on the horizon. Things to look out for? ·     Account statements, tax returns or other financial documents go missing. ·     A spouse who has been hands’ off with finances suddenly taking an
There may be 50 ways to leave your lover but there’s a heck of a lot more to it than just being creative with the word good-bye. More often than not, the way you handle your exit will determine your ex’s entrance — into your wallet, your circle of friends, and the judge’s predisposition on settlement day. Before you win a petty battle only to lose the whole dang war, here are nine tips to arm you for victory where and when it counts! 1. Shut up, zip it, mum’s the word. “Stay cool. Do not discuss details with friends
tax return divorce
Tax law distinguishes filing status because filing requirements, certain credits and above-the-line deductions, tax brackets, and the standard deduction depend on the filing status. Additionally, filing status determines the income threshold for which Social Security is taxed. The main purpose of grouping taxpayers according to filing status is based on the presumption that, with the same income, single people can afford to pay a higher tax rate than those with children and, by allowing joint filing, it simplifies tax filing for married couples. There are 5 filing statuses: Single Head of Household Married Filing Jointly Married Filing Separately (MFS) Qualifying
military retirement qdro
Today you may not think twice about splitting military retirement benefits during a #divorce. But it wasn’t always that way. A 1981 U.S. Supreme Court decision, McCarty v. McCarty, actually precluded state courts from dividing military retired pay as an asset of the marriage. In response, Congress passed the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA in 1982. This legislation specifically gave a state court the authority to treat military retired pay as marital property and divide it between the spouses. Of course, the actual process to divide these unique accounts is slightly different than standard retirement accounts. Rather than using
divorce couples
No matter your status…thinking about divorce, going through a divorce or moving on after a divorce, there will be work to be done on your part. Your own words, actions and thoughts undoubtedly play a role   If you’ve made the decision to divorce your first priority should be creating a process that is beneficial to all parties involved. According to the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, divorce is far and away the most stressful life event, other than loss of a loved one to death, that we can experience. No matter your status…thinking about divorce, going through a
 Source: Divorce 360  8 Things No One Ever Tells You about Divorce       When you decide to divorce, it's almost as if you've entered a club with a super-secret handshake...only no one is quite certain how to do it. So we asked the community what  they wished they had known before they decided to file for divorce. From the emotional breakup of their marriage to the financial one, here are some of the best tips from people who have through the real life turmoil of uncoupling.   1. If You Are Parents, You Have a Relationship with your Ex Forever....But
social security
2016 has arrived, and for the tens of millions of Americans who receive Social Security benefits, the New Year is a good time to review what they can expect from the program over the coming year. While there are changes every year, 2016 has some unusual changes that you need to know about if social security is part of your current retirement planning. Recipients will need to deal with the fact that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits in 2016 and for higher wage earners; the maximum Social Security benefit will fall in 2016 by $24
It is said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. There is no doubt that the Internal Revenue Service wants their share of any income received by US taxpayers, and distributions from Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) are no exception. Whether paid by the plan participant or an alternate payee, taxes are an inescapable part of the process. Most people recognize that a plan participant must pay taxes on any distribution of QDRO benefits. However, what are the tax liabilities facing an alternate payee? When the alternate payee is a spouse or former spouse who receives
divorce child
The end of summer can be sad, especially for children. It often brings cooler weather, earlier bed times, and of course, school. A new school year brings about a lot of changes that can be both exciting and scary. A new classroom, new friends, new teachers, and even an entirely new school can make even the bravest kids feel nervous. While the prospect of a new school year may feel daunting to a lot of kids, parents are also experiencing similar feelings of anxiety. However, parents who went through a separation or divorce during the summer may be feeling even
divorce process
The Divorce process is a stressful process that can easily bring out the worst in people. Some people even see divorce as a way to seek revenge on a spouse by seizing money and assets. Although divorce can get you out of an unhappy marriage, it can also milk you for all you are worth if you don't know your rights. Check out these 40 secrets from top divorce attorneys to help you protect your assets and stay on the winning side. 1. Don't Let Emotions Lead Your Financial Decisions People often want to take out their hurt feelings on
custody relocation
Rules to make co-parenting after a divorce easier    Adjusting to co-parenting after a divorce can be challenging. Your relationship as a couple is over, but you have to find a way to continue your relationship as parents for the sake of your children. Creating some rules for your new relationship can give you structure and help you stay focused on what’s really important – your kids. Here are the kinds of guidelines you should establish to help you move forward as parenting partners. Rules for your kids Now that you have separate houses (assuming you haven’t set up a
divorce assets
Often the divorcing couple doesn’t remember they have these items, or doesn’t consider them to be assets. When you’re working through your divorce settlement, deciding who gets what, you are likely focusing on major considerations: house, cars, retirement accounts, investments. While these items are clearly important, many other assets are easily overlooked. Often the divorcing couple doesn’t remember they have these items, or doesn’t consider them to be assets. Even if you think you don’t care about how they’re divided, keep in mind they have value; adding them to the pot not only increases the total amount of assets to
simple divorce
Divorce, by nature, isn’t easy. Luckily, there are some things you can do that will make the process just a little less difficult. Below, divorce lawyers share their little-known tips. 1. Open a bank account in your own name. “Couples who share a joint bank account should know that either one of them can drain the entire account under the banking laws. They will eventually have to pay their spouse their share, but it can take a while to get to that point in a case where a judge is ordering repayment. That’s why I advise everyone to have a separate bank
5 reasons men file for divorce When it comes to divorce, does sex matter? That is, are there differences between men and women? Research and experience both say yes. Men, for example, tend to file for divorce less often than women. “From my own case load, I’d say roughly 60 percent of women initiate the process, whereas 40 percent of men initiate the process,” says Tony Zorich of the Seattle area family law practiceMcKinley Irvin. Men also have somewhat different reasons for divorcing, according to research from Pennsylvania State University. Here are top reasons men seek divorce. 5.  Growing apart
easy divorce
Are you going through a divorce?  You should avoid these very common divorce mistakes which can have long-term effects on your family and financial future. 1. Getting legal advice from friends and family members 2. Interpreting what your divorce attorney tells you as a guarantee 3. Making threats to your spouse 4. Moving or hiding marital funds without the knowledge of your spouse 5. Speaking too soon or too openly to minor children about the separation and divorce  Mistake #1 Getting legal advice from friends and family members. Although they may mean well and want the best for you, advice from
dealing with divorce
COPING WITH DIVORCE  Divorce is an ongoing reality in our society. No longer will the exception, at least one in every two marriages end through a divorce. And yet, despite this fact, we have been slow to adapt procedures that allow a marriage to end civilly, creatively, fairly and in these tough economic times, with the minimum of expense. For the most part, divorce is still framed as an adversarial battle that is characterized by accusations, blame, unproductive argument, high costs, and weak solutions that ignore the best interests of the children. There are plenty of attorneys waiting for you
military retirement divorce
Dividing Military Retired Pay Benefits In Divorce The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) was passed by Congress in 1982, specifically to give a state court the authority to treat military retired pay as marital property and divide it between the spouses. This legislation was in direct response to the preceding year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in McCarty v. McCarty, wherein the court precluded state courts from dividing military retired pay as an asset of the marriage. While military retired pay is not divisible using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order  ("QDRO"), it is divisible using a Military Retired Pay Division
dealing with divorce
Dealing with Divorce Divorce can be a lengthy process that may strain your finances and leave you feeling out of control. But with the right preparation, you can protect your interests, take charge of your future, and save yourself time and money. You certainly never expected divorce when you cut the wedding cake--you and your spouse planned on spending the rest of your lives together. Unfortunately, the fairy tale didn't work out, and you're headed for a divorce. So where do you begin? First things first: should you hire an attorney? There's no legal requirement that you hire an attorney
legal separation
While most divorcing spouses are laser-focused on the date their divorce will become final, many underestimate the importance of their date of separation. Often these two dates occur months – or even years – apart. Yet, the date of separation can have a dramatic impact on many financial aspects of the divorce. The date of legal separation is generally considered the date the spouses no longer lived together as a married couple, although each state may slightly vary this definition. The date of separation is often obvious – either one party moves out of the marital home or the parties
hiding assets
One of the unfortunate realities in many divorces is that one spouse will attempt to hide assets from the other to avoid having to divide them down the road. This is particularly problematic for the “non-financial” spouse – the one who took a hands-off approach to involvement with the couple’s finances during the marriage. These non-financial spouses usually will not understand or have immediate access to records or documents related to marital property like investment accounts, real estate holdings, business interests and the like. Not having any information on marital assets can make it very challenging to ensure that the
who gets divorced in america
The groups that are most likely to get divorced in America There’s this persistent myth in America that about half of all marriages end in divorce. In fact, the figures are significantly lower, as new graphics by Nathan Yau of Flowing Data demonstrate. Yau explains that this myth simply stems from bad math – dividing the divorce rate by the marriage rate in a given year. In 2014, there were 8.7 divorces and 17 marriages per 1,000 women in the United States, he says, citing figures from the American Community Survey. If you divide the first number by the second
tax return divorce
Did you know that, in America, there is one divorce about every 36 seconds? That’s nearly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week and 876,000 divorces per year. With tax season upon us, that means approximately 876,000 people are newly navigating the realm of post-divorce taxes. Taxes are complicated enough as it is, but when you add in assets, dependents, alimony, child support and other freshly split obligations, filing can be downright daunting. Here, the five most important things to keep in mind when facing this new challenge. 1. Marital status is set as of Dec. 31, not April 15
Filing taxes during or after a divorce can be more complicated than expected for the parties. It is important to understand a variety of tax issues unique to divorcing parties in order to avoid unexpected short- and long-term issues. In Part One of this article, we introduced some of the most common tax issues facing individuals during and after divorce. Here we offer several more things you must know when going through a marital dissolution action. The Filing Status to Use While the Divorce is Pending Many people inaccurately believe that once a divorce is filed, they are no longer
As if divorce doesn’t cause enough emotional and financial turmoil, every person going through a divorce must also consider a variety of tax issues that arise once a marriage ends. Many of these issues can catch a divorcing spouse off guard. It is important to understand these tax pitfalls in order to make sound decisions and avoid unnecessary troubles down the road. Alimony is Taxable to the Recipient With some exceptions, spousal support paid by one party to the other is usually considered a taxable event for both. This is crucial to understand because it causes a tax liability for
Before moving out during divorce or physically separating in PA, consider the legal ramifications. Here's the answers to the top 4 questions our firm gets, to help you make an informed decision. Living together after you’ve decided to divorce or separate is extremely difficult, regardless of how you got there. It’s no wonder this tense, uncomfortable living situation often pushes divorcing couples to make rash decisions about moving out before fully considering the consequences. Before you pack up your bags, it’s critical to consider the legal ramifications to moving out during divorce in Pennsylvania. There are lots of misconceptions, so
Tips for Financial Security After Divorce Settlement Meet with an Lawyer Even if you're hoping for a simple divorce, you can still benefit significantly from consulting an attorney who specializes in divorce law. A lawyer can be objective, advising you of your rights, obligations and options and walking you through issues surrounding alimony, child custody and a divorce settlement. During this emotional period, an attorney will be able to help you focus on critical details regarding your divorce finances. Estimate what you and your spouse are worth The court may require a list of all marital assets and liabilities you and your
insurance divorce
Deciding what to do about a life insurance policy after a divorce can be a challenge. Try not to let emotions guide your actions and consider the overall impact of any moves you make. Reassess your need for life insurance life insurance policy is to provide for those who are dependent on you in the event of your untimely death. Often, that means your life insurance policy will benefit a spouse and children, if you have any. After a divorce, it is wise to reassess your life insurance needs. Take a close look at those around you and think about how they would
Going through the process of a divorce presents a lot of questions about finances. While the divorce decree is an important document outlining the final determination about critical issues in the divorce, you might also need a qualified domestic relations order to officially explain the handling of retirement funds. The Process of a QDRO In order for the judge in a divorce case to sign off on a qualified domestic relations order, parties have to provide full disclosure of assets in order to determine what is part of the marital estate. After this has been determined, parties can use court-provided
retirement assets
Dividing Divorce Assets Understanding the Type of Retirement Plan to Be Divided in a Divorce Misunderstanding the type of retirement plan to be divided in a divorce is one of the most common mistakes in divorce settlement agreements and even final judgments, since often times attorneys prepare the final judgment which the judge simply signs. It often erroneously states “retirement plan” without ever defining the type of plan(s) to be divided. Retirement plans can be defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans or some type of hybrid. These plans are vastly different and have different implications when trying to divide them.
divorce stats
5 Suprising Divorce Statistics Although the “half of all marriages end in divorce” claim has been debunked, it’s still a commonly cited statistic. But what are the real divorce stats? Check them out below. (Note that most of the data below come from government sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of the Census and may be a few years old and incomplete. Click on each study to read more.) Yes, we’re seeing fewer divorces overall—but fewer marriages, too In the 10 years since 2002, the divorce rate per 1,000 people dropped from 3.9 to
social security divorce
Even if your marriage ended more than 20 years ago, the ex-spouse could be entitled to a portion of your retirement funds through Social Security. At the time of your divorce, the decree would have specified what retirement assets should be split between the two spouses, but you should also be aware of how your former marriage might impact Social Security benefits. It’s important to realize that individual retirement plans and Social Security are separate, but it could be the case that your former spouse is entitled to both. The decree may have outlined what IRA or pension benefits were
marital property
Divorce marks the end of one chapter of your life and the beginning of another, and odds are, you’ll look back at this time and see it as a positive turning point in your life. However, before you achieve that perspective, there’s plenty to go through – and much of that comes down to finances. Financially speaking, divorce is mostly about the division of marital property (and debts). Most couples today have complex financial portfolios that include many kinds of assets, and at first, figuring out how to divide everything fairly can seem overwhelmingly complicated. For example, valuations of even
missing spouse divorce
Missing Spouse Divorce A divorce usually starts with the filing of a divorce complaint or petition for divorce. Once the complaint is filed by one spouse, the other spouse must be notified of the action. That notification is called “service of process,” or simply “service.” Each state has its own rules regarding service, and most offer a number of options for serving the complaint. For example, service may be done in person by having a process server hand the other spouse a copy of the divorce complaint. You can also serve a complaint by certified mail or regular mail. Problems arise when one spouse cannot be
divorce statistics
AMERICAN DIVORCE TRENDS AND STATISTICS There is one divorce every 36 seconds in America, and some surprising trends around those numbers. According to the family law attorneys at McKinley Irvin, you’re more likely to get divorced if: You commute more than 45 minutes to work You live in a red state You lived together before getting married You check social media a lot You didn’t graduate from college Your wedding cost more than $20,000 The family law firm McKinley Irvin compiled these and other interesting divorce statistics in their infographic, Anatomy of a Divorce. DIVORCE STATISTICS   Source: Anatomy of a divorce 
Dividing a 401(k) in a Divorce - QDRO There are three primary steps to dividing a 401(k) in divorce: the divorce decree actually orders the division, those details are outline in a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), and finally the plan must be approved by the judge and the plan administrator. Preparing a QDRO is a complicated and technical task.  In addition to domestic relations law, you must be familiar with the many federal laws that relate to these documents. For more information see:  How is a 401(k) Divided in A Divorce? | Robert Hetsler, J.D. CPA,CVA,CFF,FCPA,MAFF,CMAP,Realtor | LinkedIn.
insurance divorce
Life Insurance, Divorce And Support   Obtaining life insurance can become a very important part of your divorce settlement.  Life insurance for intact family situations generally involves the husband and wife obtaining life insurance coverage listing their spouse and their children as beneficiaries on the policy. The surviving spouse receives the death benefit when the other spouse passes away and the insured party will receive peace of mind in knowing their family is taken care of when they are gone. The need for life insurance changes when you are getting divorced. In many cases part of the divorce is granting
social security divorce
SOCIAL SECURITY AND DIVORCE Marriage is a legal institution with a big impact on your finances, your retirement, and particularly your Social Security. How are your Social Security benefits determined after divorce? Here are some "must-knows" as you consider marriage or divorce. Marriage: The good news On the plus side, anyone who's married has access to Social Security spousal payments . The payment amount is up to 50% of your spouse's full Social Security payment (his or her payment at Full Retirement Age, or FRA, currently 66). Spousal payments provide a "floor level" of payments — if your own Social
social media
Social Media and Divorce As a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney I constantly come across the issue of social media and how it can and does play a part in divorces.  I advise all of my clients to be aware of what they put out there on the internet for everyone to see. This is because all to often pictures, status updates and videos are used against clients in trials. In our family law practice, divorce evidence derived from social media is becoming commonplace. What people don't realize is that seemingly harmless party photos and location-based status updates can jeopardize a person's
  Divorce is tough on everyone, but children often pay the highest price when the fighting and anger continue even after the adults have gone their separate ways.Here are five tips for keeping the peace with your ex when sharing custody, for the children’s sake: 1. Don’t sweat the small stuff: “If both parents can develop a level of trust in each other (admittedly a very difficult thing to do in the face of a divorce or the end of a relationship), then they can reduce resentments by having less inclination to micromanage what takes place in each other’s home.
military deployment
The Servicemember's Civil Relief Act (SCRA) expanded and improved the former Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). The SCRA provides a wide range of protections for individuals entering, called to active duty in the military, or deployed servicemembers. It is intended to postpone or suspend certain civil obligations to enable service members to devote full attention to duty and relieve stress on the family members of those deployed servicemembers. A few examples of such obligations you may be protected against are: Outstanding credit card debt Mortgage payments Pending trials Taxes Terminations of lease. In addition the law: Expands current law that
I believe it is possible to lower the higher divorce rate for a second marriage. Before entering into another relationship, you must be willing to take the time for your own personal development and learn healthy relationship skills that will move your life forward after the first divorce. Read More:  click here    
The depressed real estate housing market is magnifying that tension. "In an average divorce, the biggest asset is the home," says Evan Sussman, a divorce attorney in Beverly Hills, Calif. "People have lost value on their homes, and they are unable to sell. The equity they had in the home is down." In fact, nearly 40% of couples considering a divorce have postponed plans to split because of the economy, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 couples by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. The study also found that 12% of couples have had
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Divorce Rates "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana Santayana's warning could apply equally to personal history, like a divorce. Yet despite this, past statistics have shown that in the U.S., 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. What are the reasons for this progressive increase in divorce rates? Second And Third Marriages Are Failing At An Alarming Rate via @HuffingtonPost
legal separation
Nearly half of first marriages break up within 20 years, a new government study finds. With those odds, you might wonder: Would we be better off living together first? The new research, part of a marriage survey of 22,000 men and women, suggests times have changed from the days when living together signaled poor chances for a successful marriage later. "It's not playing as big a role in predicting divorce as it used to," said Casey Copen, lead author of the study. Living together before marriage has been a long-growing trend. In the late 1960s, only about 10 percent of