Five Things to Avoid During a Divorce

Posted on 08/15/2017 at 3:19pm

Five Things to Avoid During a Divorce

1. Don’t stoop to your spouse’s level

If things are getting rocky during a divorce and the other side is acting like a juvenile, it helps to clearly memorialize that you are not okay with their actions (via text, e-mail, etc); but going tit-for-tat on the juvenile behavior will not win you any points from the Court or the other people being affected by the divorce. Just keep in mind that this kind of immature behavior usually only awards the attorneys, who are being paid to smooth over these issues when they come up.

2. Don’t proceed without educating yourself

This comes in the way of meeting with an attorney or reading books on the subject. In a divorce, a lot is on the table, including custody of children, money, and real estate. It is important to know if your goals align with what a Court is able to give you.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others who have gone through this before

Each divorce is unique and the outcome depends on a tailored analysis of each person’s circumstances and the circumstances of the marriage. While…

Read More

Business Owners and Considerations for Divorce

Posted on 08/10/2017 at 7:14pm

Business Owners and Considerations for Divorce

          Many client ask us if a divorce is different when there is a business involved. The answer is that every divorce and/or custody matter is different. Within each profession there are unique attributes and common themes that need to be addressed in particular ways. We have represented countless clients with business interests. We also have represented countless spouses in divorces where the opposing party is the business owner. Even if a spouse is not the legal owner of the business, they may still be entitled to an equitable share of the other spouse’s interest in the business. In Pennsylvania, when there is a business involved, there will need to be a determination of what, if any, portion of the business is considered “marital property,” and thus subject to equitable distribution.

          For the business-owner spouse, time is often at a premium. With the demands of marriage and family, time can be extremely scarce. When a divorce and/or custody action arise(s), the spouse may now find him or herself trying to allocate time between the business, the family, the divorce, custody concerns, and…

Read More

Added Responsibility as you progress in Life

Posted on 08/08/2017 at 3:19pm

Added Responsibility as you Progress in Life

Maybe I will use some of this after school?

“When will I ever use this again?” Throughout my schooling, I have heard this same question being asked over and over, whether it be in my own voice or any of the many students’ I have shared a classroom with. It would be naïve to assume that every student graduates remembering and retaining all the information from every class or lesson. But it would also be incorrect to then suggest that the slight facts and dates were the only important skills that were being developed.

Specifically, when I started to attend West Chester University as a Freshman, it became immediately apparent to me that I was not prepared to fully take on the added responsibilities that came with being a college student. There was no longer a teacher looking over my shoulder telling me I had to complete an assignment, that I had to show up every single day or I would get a detention and possibly sustain further punishment. I was on my own in college and it was up to me to show up to class and to do the…

Read More

2017 CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

Posted on 07/31/2017 at 6:42pm

2017 CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

As of May 1, 2017, the new statewide Child Support Guidelines will go into effect.  As many parents in Pennsylvania already know, these guidelines, along with the combined net income of the parties, are used to calculate a parent’s monthly child support obligation. 

 

The 2017 child support increases do not apply evenly to all income levels, but for most income levels the changes are pretty modest.  For example, the increase in the total basic support obligation for one child would be around $23 for two parents each earning $4,000 per month after taxes.  Another change includes the increase to the self-support reserve, which is intended to make certain that low income individuals who are paying child support have enough money remaining to meet their basic needs.  The self-support reserve has increased from $931 to $981 per month.

 

Despite these changes, Pennsylvania Courts do not automatically grant child support increases when the guidelines are updated.  A parent must file a child support modification request and obtain a new child support order.  If you or someone you know is paying or receiving child support in Pennsylvania, contact LaMonaca Law at (610) 892-3877 for additional information concerning the new…

Read More

Stress…Fact or Fiction?

Posted on 06/19/2017 at 7:10pm

Stress…Fact or Fiction?

As lawyers, when we pass the Bar in the state of Pennsylvania, we are given the title, “Attorney and Counselor of Law.” At LaMonaca Law we take this distinction very seriously. Unlike other areas of the law, such as Personal Injury, Automobile Accidents, Contracts, Wills and Estates, Family Law contains some of the most emotional, stressful and painful situations to deal with. It is not just a matter of filing a document, going to Court and arguing the position of our client. No, it takes on much higher levels that deal with the fears and concerns of the client, whereby they cannot wait for a typical 9 to 5 appointment, but instead need “instant gratification,” by way of having their fears immediately addressed.

Let’s look at one possible scenario which was a situation that occurred in the past month. It is 4:30 a.m., the parties are living under the same roof and our client, the wife in this scenario, hears a loud banging at her locked door. Instantly, her thoughts go from self-defense to her children who are sleeping down at the end of the hall. As her husband is on the other side of the…

Read More

Common Pitfalls of Parents in Custody Actions

Posted on 06/19/2017 at 6:57pm

Common Pitfalls of Parents in Custody Actions

Not being the primary caretaker: In most households, one parent is mostly responsible for caring for the children’s basic needs — the so called primary caretaker. The parent who is the most involved in the children’s daily lives usually has the edge in a custody case. Therefore, if you are not putting in the time to do homework with your child, feeding, bathing, reading, taking him or her to the bus stop, you are at a disadvantage in a custody case. There is no better way to lose custody than to demonstrate to a judge that you are simply not involved in raising your child.

Not being active in your child’s schedule and activities: Do you know the names of your child’s teachers? Have you ever supervised your child on a play date or taken your child to the doctor? Do you regularly attend school conferences and school events? If the answer to these is no, then it is an indication that someone else (i.e. the other parent) is the primary caretaker, not you.

Not addressing alcohol, drugs, or other parental fitness issues: A parent who even casually partakes in alcohol…

Read More

A Smile is Worth One Thousand Words.

Posted on 06/13/2017 at 5:57pm

A Smile is Worth One Thousand Words.

Having joined the team at LaMonaca Law over three (3) years ago, I find myself feeling very fulfilled with what we are able to achieve as a team and on behalf of all of our clients. In my position as legal assistant for the law firm, I take on a multitude of jobs. Perhaps one of my most rewarding jobs is to be the first person who our clients see as they enter the law firm for the first time. I take this responsibility very seriously, as I have often been the person who has spoken to them on the phone during their first contact with us. The fear, anxiety and nervousness that they exhibited on that first phone call is also often evident on their faces as they walk through our front door.

As I hear the door open, I typically will greet each client with a warm and inviting smile. This smile is beyond genuine, as it affects me greatly to know that I have the ability to change an individuals life, simply by a smile or engaging in conversation to help put that client at ease. In doing this,…

Read More

Extra-Curricular Activity vs. Custody Order

Posted on 06/13/2017 at 5:44pm

Extra-Curricular Activity vs. Custody Order

The school year is coming to an end and it is time to enjoy the summer!!!  Yes get out and have fun, sign up for summer activities.  For many this is a simply task but for some it can become an annual battle with the ex.!!!  The battle comes in two forms, the first is to agree on the activity and the second is whether the activity will interfere with one parent’s custodial time.  Many parents have custody orders that help deal with this situation and some don’t have custody orders at all.

Most parents would agree that it is good to have their children in extra-curricular activities.  However, some parents overstep and sign the child up for activities without first discussing with the other parent and sometime even signing the child up for activities during the other parent’s custodial time!!!!  This begs the question “If the other parent registers your child for an extra-curricular activity, and you do not agree to this activity, do you have to take the child during your custodial time?”

The answer is …What does the custody order say!!!   I know that is not the answer you were looking for…

Read More

DID OBAMACARE LOWER THE DIVORCE RATE FOR BABY BOOMERS?

Posted on 05/23/2017 at 4:29pm

DID OBAMACARE LOWER THE DIVORCE RATE FOR BABY BOOMERS?

In 2009, prior to the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the New York Times told the heart-wrenching story of a woman and her husband with early onset dementia.  The focus of the story was not the relationship between the two, although she still loved him dearly.  Instead it centered on the mounting medical bills related to the Husband’s care, and the options available to the Wife, of which there were two: destitution or divorce.

 

Prior to Obamacare, many states put a ceiling on the assets a married couple could hold before they would qualify for Medicaid coverage.  Under the first option, destitution, the Wife would be required to spend down all of their savings, including her own 401(k), so that eventually her Husband would qualify for Medicaid. This option would make for a bleak retirement for the Wife with neither her Husband nor her savings.  Under the second option however, Wife could divorce Husband and therefore shield her assets while her Husband qualified for Medicaid. In the end, she chose divorce.

 

Under Obamacare, the Medicaid expansion component removed asset limits and…

Read More

Getting a Protection from Abuse Order When the Courthouse is Closed

Posted on 05/10/2017 at 4:44pm

Getting a Protection from Abuse Order When the Courthouse is Closed

If you are a victim of domestic violence, and if the courthouse is closed, you are still able to obtain a Protection from Abuse Order. A hearing officer is available to receive petitions for PFAs from when the courthouse closes each day until it opens the next morning, from Friday at closing until Monday morning, and in the event there are no judges available due to illness, vacation, or duties outside of the county.

The hearing officer can, if he or she deems it necessary, enter an order prohibiting the defendant from abusing the plaintiff or minor children, can give the plaintiff possession of the parties’ residence to the exclusion of the defendant, and prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with the plaintiff or minor children. The order would be temporary in nature and would be entered with good cause shown by the plaintiff, meaning immediate and present danger of abuse.

If a hearing officer grants a PFA order as indicated above, that order will expire at the end of the next business day on which the court is available. If an emergency PFA order is granted, the…

Read More