The law will determine how much child support will be owed from one parent to the other, based on guidelines written by our legislators in Harrisburg. Child support can be owed from one parent to the other, even if they are sharing the children 50/50. Child support is handled through the Domestic Relations offices in each county of our state. Parents can request child support either through an attorney or by going directly to Domestic Relations and asking for it. We can discuss these guidelines and the amounts you may be entitled to receive for your children, or may have to pay for your children.
The term “equitable distribution” refers to the fair division of assets and debts that accumulate during a marriage. Equitable distribution (affectionately referred to as “E-D”) is most times accomplished out of court and memorialized in a property settlement agreement. If no agreement can be made, the last resort is to have the court divide your assets and debts. We will discuss your options at our first meeting.
Spouses who make less money are entitled to receive monthly support from their higher-earning spouse. This monthly support may be called “spousal support” or “APL” (alimony pendente lite). Regardless of the title, we will discuss whether you may receive, or may have to pay, this monthly sum. And -- alimony does exist in Pennsylvania! Alimony is a payment from an ex-spouse to the other ex-spouse. Alimony is not relevant to every divorce. When we meet, we will discuss the circumstances of your life and the chance of alimony being involved in your divorce.
The process and procedures of divorce in Pennsylvania are not complicated. You will learn about no-fault divorce options and service at our first meeting.
Often the most emotional piece of a relationship, custody can be determined either through agreement or by a court. Different counties have different procedures for accepting agreements and for obtaining a final custody order. Almost all counties require mediation as the first step in the custody process. When we meet, we will talk about your county and its particular custody process.
At times a custody case turns into an adoption. A new spouse may adopt your child from a prior relationship, either with or without the consent of the other biological parent. We will discuss whether your custody case may qualify for termination of rights and an adoption.