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Managing child custody exchanges

You may view your divorce as the end of your association with your ex-spouse, yet in reality, they may continue to remain a major part of your life (especially if you have children together). That can be particularly problematic, however, if there is a history of domestic violence between you. Concerns over the fear of continuing abuse are often echoed by those who come to see us here at Palange, Endres & Marks, P.C. While you can try to limit your contact with your abusive ex-spouse, fulfilling a child custody obligation might put you in situations where you are forced to again deal with them face-to-face. 

Fortunately, the court realizes the inherent danger present in such encounters, and thus can take measures in order to avoid them. Per the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a child custody order granted in cases where domestic violence has been an issue can (and should) include details about the specific times and locations of custody exchanges. Such details can mitigate the risks that come with such encounters. The courts can also mandate that all custody exchanges be supervised. Such exchanges are often ordered to occur at visitation center, where staff is on hand specifically to ensure that the exchange with your ex-spouse goes smoothly. 

Figuring out your financials after divorce

Going through a divorce is difficult, but many people do not realize that life after divorce can be tough too. This is a new chapter in your life with many adjustments and changes to think about. Dealing with and figuring out your financials can be especially hard to handle.

This new financial situation can be hard to navigate and there are many elements you should consider. Here are four steps you can take in order to begin managing your new financial circumstances.

How is a parenting plan used by the court?

When you get divorced, the court in Pennsylvania has you develop a parenting plan, which outlines your visitation and custody agreement with your ex-spouse. This plan can be very helpful to everyone to ensure there are no misunderstandings or issues when it comes to your children. The court uses it to ensure that the situation is in the best interests of your children.

According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the court will order you to have specific details in your parenting plan. The court may also add additional requirements as it sees fit based on your situation. The main goal is to end custody and visitation disputes and get you to work together with your children's other parent. The plan also helps the court to make its final ruling on custody and visitation. It can show the court how eager you both are to work together for what is best for your children.

Facing the difficult realities of divorce

Pennsylvanian couples who are getting a divorce will have their expectation of how it will go, and then they will be faced with the reality of the situation. That isn't to say there won't be overlap between the two, but there are certainly going to be cases in which something occurs that wasn't anticipated.

FindLaw has a page dedicated to explaining what can be expected from divorce. This includes laying out what a divorce can and can't do for you, since it's important to make that distinction. For example, it's impossible for a perfect division of time, property, finances, and so on between you and your ex-spouse. A divorce also can't guarantee that all stipulations decided in court will be upheld, such as a spouse making support payments on time or sticking to the visitation schedule.

Can I buy non-essentials with child support?

It is difficult in many ways to be a single parent. You are often emotionally drained, and finances only add to your worries. Every penny of child support you receive is crucial to you and your children. You and other custodial parents in Pennsylvania might worry about the consequences of buying something your children don’t need with the child support money you receive.

FindLaw explains that child support is meant for your children’s physical and emotional well-being, which probably comes as no surprise to you. However, your ex-spouse or well-meaning friends might tell you that your child support spending will be monitored. Your ex may even request receipts for the purchases you make with the money he or she gives you, which understandably might be cause for concern.

When is alimony awarded in Pennsylvania?

If you are going through a Pennsylvania divorce, you are likely worried about your financial obligations post-divorce, or, on the flipside, your financial situation. The purpose of alimony is not to punish one spouse, but rather, to ease the burden of the lesser earning spouse as he or she transitions from married life to single life. The courts may also award alimony to prevent situations in which one spouse may suffer unfair financial consequences as a result of the divorce, and because he or she did not work or earned significantly less than the other spouse during the union. What does the purpose for alimony mean for you, though? The answer depends on factors that are unique to your case. 

The Pennsylvania courts will not award alimony in all divorce cases. According to FindLaw, the judge presiding over your case will consider several relevant factors to determine the need for, duration and amount of alimony. Those factors are as follows:

  •       Yours and your spouse's sources of income
  •       Both of your relative earnings and earning potential
  •       The duration of your marriage
  •       Both your and your spouse's physical, mental and emotional conditions and age
  •       Marital misconduct
  •       The diminishment of earnings due to the custody arrangements of a minor child or one spouse's contributions to the home
  •       The property, assets and liabilities you and your spouse brought to the marriage
  •       The standard of living established during the marriage, and the relative need of both parties

Is “nesting” a good fit for your family?

Creating an arrangement that works for your family after a divorce can be tricky. You want to figure out a situation that keeps your children happy and fits in with your new lifestyle.

A relatively recent trend for co-parenting is called “nesting.” Could this different kind of living arrangement work for you and your family?

Studies show joint custody may be best

Going through a divorce can be extremely emotional, especially when there are children involved. In most cases, both parents want what is best for their children, even though they were unable to make their marriage work. Whether parents can negotiate child custody through mediation or a court-appointed attorney is left to make the final decision, children may be placed in the sole custody of one parent or in joint-custody. While sole-custody is rather common, as it allows the child to stay in one place most of the time, studies show the true benefits of joint-custody and how it can be advantageous for kids to spend a significant amount of time with both parents.

Researchers analyzed 33 studies comparing the benefits of sole-custody and joint-custody arrangements. The results, published in the March Journal of Family Psychology, showed that children who are raised in joint-custody households had higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems, better school performance and stronger family relationships than those brought up in single-family homes.

Millennials leading change in marriage and divorce

Residents in Pennsylvania have been watching as the millennial generation takes the lead in changing many things in society today. One of the latest areas in which this generation seems to be reshaping society is in marriage and divorce

As reported by The Atlantic, this group has been found to have a lower rate of divorce than did those who came before them. Some research was conducted and led by a professor at the University of Maryland who found that from 2008 to 2016, the divorce rate dropped by approximately eight percent. This level accounts for other changes in demographics during this time. Raw data originally suggested the decline was as high as 18 percent.

Grandparents can leave their grandchildren an inheritance

Pennsylvania grandparents that take direct responsibility for raising their grandchildren because the parents cannot care for them due to personal problems are often faced with how to leave their grandchildren an inheritance. While writing a will seems like an easy move, wills still have to go through probate, plus other relatives might make a move for the grandchildren’s inheritance. Fortunately, Pennsylvania seniors have ways to exert greater control over their grandchildren’s inheritance.

One of these methods, according to Investopedia, is to create a trust. A trust works by moving assets like money, real estate, stocks or other valuables into it and setting conditions for how those funds are to be dispersed. You can specify that your grandchildren receive the assets at specific times in their life. If you desire, you can also specify specific uses of the money, such as to pay for college.

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