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Reading Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

Does my divorce decree take care of everything?

If you have recently gotten divorced or maybe are in the process of a divorce, you will want to have a good understanding of what power your divorce decree will ultimately have. Certainly this document may be essential for you in many ways but it alone does not prevent your former spouse from inheriting your 401K account after you die, for example. 

As explained by Forbes, the power of a divorce decree does not extend to cutting off your former spouse from any other rights you may have granted through other legal documents or means. If you have identified your spouse as the beneficiary on your retirement account, they are the person who will receive the assets after you die unless you change that beneficiary designation. The same holds true for life insurance policies or other accounts on which you name beneficiaries.

Summer fun for kids after a divorce

In January, divorced parents in Pennsylvania might breathe a sigh of relief at having made it through the holiday season. This can be a tough time for divorced families as they have to find ways to split time with their children and their former spouses. Memorial Day, often seen as the unofficial start to the summer season, is just around the corner and that means another time of the year is here when this time sharing once again becomes front and center in a manner very different to the school year.

Parenting magazine reminds moms and dads that as they plan activities and time with their kids over the summer, they should continue to put their children's interests first. Focusing on providing a positive experience and summer break for their kids may help to prevent them from going down the path of becoming engaged in a power struggle with their kids' other parent. Instead of focusing on why the other parent gets to take kids to a favorite place, they should try to praise that parent for creating that special time for their kids.

Adjusting to life after divorce

Even after the paperwork is finalized and the new chapter of life begins, it can be difficult to adjust to life after divorce. Children or no children, life after marriage can seem challenging and even disorienting for many Pennsylvania residents -- especially in the immediate months following a separation. There are ways, however, to break through the cloudy skies and find happiness once again. 

LiveAbout understands that the smallest details of life can end up having the biggest impact after a marriage has dissolved. For instance, choosing meals or interior decorating suddenly becomes an entirely different experience when a partner is not in the picture. While it is natural to grieve during these shocking realizations, LiveAbout pushes the newly divorced outside of the box and into a world of self-discovery. Relearning one's own interests can become a journey in itself. Part of this step can involve new friend groups and clubs, which can both help individuals adjust to an unmarried life.  

Why do so many people sell homes in a divorce?

Have you and your spouse been contemplating getting divorced? If so, you are not alone despite how it may feel as many others in Pennsylvania have either been in your situation are are currently. Among the many things you may be wondering about is where you might live after you get divorced. It is natural to want to try and stay in a home where you are already established and comfortable, especially if you have young children at home. However, doing so might not be your best bet.

As explained by The Mortgage Reports, you will want to carefully assess your ability to get a new mortgage in your name only. If you do not do this, you will remain financially tied to your former spouse even if your divorce decree names you as the party responsible for the home.

Are student loans split in a divorce?

If you are contemplating a divorce in Pennsylvania, you know that you and your current spouse will have to figure out how to split any assets you share. You will also have to figure out how to split any debts you have. If your spouse owes money for student loans that have not yet been fully paid, you might be concerned as to whether or not you will be held responsible for this money. On the other side of the equation, if you are the one who owes student loan debt, you might be wondering if your spouse will be held accountable for some of this, especially if they have clearly benefitted from your education.

The College Investor explains that the final decision about which spouse is left holding the bill for student loan debt will depend on many factors that you will work through during the divorce settlement process. One thing you should be aware of, however, is that even with a final divorce decree in hand, you will want to pay special attention to the name or names listed on the original loan documentation.

2-time WNBA MVP ordered to make one-time alimony payment

Many may go into divorce proceedings in Reading thinking that an award of alimony to one side will be automatic. They may be unpleasantly surprised to find out that alimony is not a given. Spousal support is not meant to be punitive towards one side in a divorce agreement in any way; rather, it is supposed to help one side support him or herself until he or she is able to finance the same standard of living he or she enjoyed while married on his or her own. This also reveals another misunderstood fact about alimony: It typically is not meant to be permanent. It may be paid for a predetermined period of time, or be revoked upon the review of the court that ordered it. 

It may also be paid in one lump-sum. That is what was ordered in a recent divorce case involving two professional basketball players. The husband played six years in NBA, during which time it was reported that he made over $12 million. His now ex-wife, however, found significantly more success during her time in the WNBA, twice being named the league's MVP. Reports are that while she currently does not make in the WNBA anywhere near what he did while playing domestically, she draws in a significantly higher salary from playing oversees and doing television studio analysis for college and professional games. 

What your Facebook page says speaks volumes – especially in court

Social media has become the new town square. It’s where people meet, mingle and exchange news and views with friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances and even complete strangers.

With all of the recent scandal surrounding Facebook’s invasion of users’ privacy, it may be time to revisit just how much your social media account says about you – especially if you’re considering divorce.

Amending a custody agreement

If you are a divorced parent in Pennsylvania or the parent of a child you share with a former partner even if you were never married, you may well have a legally binding child custody agreement in place. This document outlines the specific times and days that your child is with you and when they are with their other parent. Other details such as locations and times of handoffs may also be included in your agreement.

As Very Well Family indicates, there may be situations that warrant a review or amendment of this agreement although courts do not do this without good cause. Generally the creation of any modification is based upon the recognition that something in the original agreement is either not working or has changed substantially so as to warrant a new agreement. If the custodial parent dies, for example, an agreement would clearly no longer be valid and a non-custodial parent may seek a modification. If one parent routinely fails to abide by the terms of the agreement, this too may justify making changes to it.

The opioid epidemic and america's family dynamics

As the opioid epidemic continues to take its toll across America, Pennsylvania appears to be one of the most severely affected areas on the map. As a result, countless grandparents in the state have welcomed their children's children with open arms. Although this step is certainly an honorable one, it is not always easy.    

When parents in the state become incapable of raising children as a result of drug dependence, grandparents have all too often come to the rescue. As discussed in detail by HealthLine, the opioid crisis has created a shift in family dynamics across the nation; grandparents now make up the head of many households. Even though a grandchild can bring much joy to life, many grandparents have had to abandon dreams of retirement, instead turning to full-time parenthood once again. In 2014 alone, over 40 percent of children who were in foster care with relatives were there because of a parent's addiction to opioids or other type of substance. HealthLine also shares that roughly 2.6 American children have grandparents or other family members as primary caregivers. 

Selling a home may be best in a divorce

Pennsylvania spouses approaching the end of their marriages often mourn the loss of many things including their family homes. The emotional ties that people can develop to their houses is understandable especially if they have raised their children in those homes and the kids are still young and living at home. Maintaining consistency for young children is also a reason that many people work to avoid losing their homes in a divorce. 

These things are understandable yet Time Money recommends spouses put such emotional thoughts aside for a bit and carefully review the practical, financial implications of keeping a home after getting divorced. One of the challenges associated with one spouse keeping a home is that a mortgage is generally in both spouses' names. Refinancing the mortgage into the sole name of the person who wants to keep the house may be in their best interests.

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