Divorce and family law matters are among the most personal life processes.
We will listen closely to your interests and concerns to help you navigate these life changes.
Are you, or someone you know, thinking about or in the midst of a marital split? Test your knowledge of divorce law with this quiz.
A divorce action, in some ways, is like any other lawsuit. Lawsuits begin with a complaint filed in court and served against the opposing party.
A divorce action, in one way, is not like most other lawsuits because it involves a court action between intimate partners. The divorce can address where you will live, the property you will receive, the amount of maintenance you will receive or pay and the times you will spend with your children. We offer careful and measured advice to assist you with these very personal issues.
Pennsylvania has had alimony since 1980, when the current divorce law was enacted. The amount of alimony that you may be required to pay or that you may receive is based on 17 factors. Generally, the longer the marriage, the longer the period of alimony that may be awarded. Call Zulick Law today to find out how those 17 factors apply to your situation!
In a collaborative divorce, the parties and their lawyers meet, review the issues and resolve their differences without court participation. The parties and their lawyers sign a Participation Agreement that requires full disclosure of all information available to the parties. The Agreement also provides that the lawyers must withdraw from representation if the collaborative process ends and the parties go to court.
A collaborative divorce offers three significant benefits. First, the parties may create their own solutions, rather than be directed to comply by a court. Second, their agreement may address matters that are not contained in the law. For example, the parties may agree on the payment of college expenses for the children, although they are not required to pay these expenses under Pennsylvania law. Third, the parties may hire only one expert for the process, rather than two experts.
Divorcing couples in Pennsylvania may hire a private mediator to reach an agreement on any of the issues in their divorce. The mediator, who must be certified with 40 hours of mediation training, may be a lawyer or other professional. The mediator will schedule a meeting or a series of meetings to review points of agreement and disagreement and will guide the parties toward resolution of their differences. Once an agreement is reached, the mediator will prepare a memorandum that outlines the terms of the agreement. Each party may review the memorandum with his attorney. It is not required that each party retain a separate attorney for this review, but it is generally recommended, so that each party fully understands his rights and duties.
Several not-for-profit organizations offer mediation services in the Delaware Valley on a sliding scale fee basis. You may email us for a list of those groups.
Email Zulick Law for the names of sliding scale fee basis groups or call today to schedule a mediation of your issues!
Orders for Protection
If you are experiencing abuse in your relationship, the law in Pennsylvania provides protection for you. You may seek an order for protection from the district court in your neighborhood, especially on the weekends when the county courts are closed, or from the county court. Each county has a system, accessible on the county court website, to assist individuals who are suffering in an abusive relationship. You may apply for an order for protection without a lawyer, However, you may want to consult with a lawyer before you begin the process to make sure that you are aware of all the other factors, including financial factors, before you begin the process.
Custody and Parenting
There are many services available to assist parents in setting custody schedules for their children. All the courts in the Delaware Valley employ custody conciliators who will schedule a meeting with the parties to review and recommend a custody schedule. If the custody conciliation does not result in a resolution, the courts also employ family court judges to meet with the parties, and, if necessary, hold a hearing to determine parenting time and other concerns about the children. Parents may also retain parenting counselors to help with these issues.
Parents are required to support their minor children. The duty of support is absolute. In limited cases, parents may be required to support their children who are 18 years of age or older. The court considers five main factors in determining child support. They are: the income of the parties, the expenses of the parties, their capacities to earn, their assets and debts and their standard of living. Pennsylvania has support guidelines, as do many other states, which may be viewed at www.childsupport.state.pa.us. This website contains a lot of useful information.
If you believe that you may be the father of a child or that you may not be the father of a child, you may bring a lawsuit to find out.
The court will require the child and the parties to submit to genetic tests. If you file the lawsuit, you must pay for the genetic tests. If the mother or another party contests the results of the initial test, the objecting party must pay in advance for the additional testing.
We will help you organize all your information and create a plan with you to divide your assets and debts in this process. We will also provide you with tools to ease that organization and division, whether you prefer a software program or pencil and paper.
You should protect your financial health with a prenuptial agreement before you marry. A prenuptial agreement can provide you with financial protection, even if you are entering the marriage with few assets. In addition to property division, the agreement can address your personal property, spousal support, alimony and estate planning issues.
You should also consider defining your financial responsibilities in a written agreement before moving in together with a partner, even if you do not plan to marry. These agreements can smooth your transition if the relationship ends.
Pennsylvania enacted its Divorce Code in 1980 and changed the way divorcing couples divide their property. The law provides for equitable division of assets. There are 13 factors that are considered in property division. It is rare that equitable means equal. Although one of the factors is the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, the financially dependent spouse generally receives a larger share of the property that the couple acquired during the marriage.