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State College Family Law Blog

3 reasons to make summer plans with the kids as soon as possible

Summer can get complicated for divorced parents. For the kids, it's unlimited free time. Parents often want to take advantage of that to go on vacation, but divorced parents have an obligation to follow the custody decree. They can't just do whatever they want, or they could violate the other parent's rights.

"If your divorce is final, you are required to abide by your final divorce decree regarding summer visitation," noted one financial planner. "I recommend that you go back and read your divorce decree to make sure you are clear on your rights and obligations. If you do not yet have a final divorce decree, I highly recommend that you seek to get a temporary agreement in place for the summer."

Divorce doesn't automatically cut you out of debt obligations

If you get divorced, it is important to divide debt in the same way that you divide assets. You need to split things up with your ex so that the lenders eventually get what they are owed.

However, do not assume that a divorce agreement alone gets you out of the obligation. The lender does not care what it says. If you agreed to pay off that debt -- say it's a car loan with both of your names on it, for instance -- then they still hold you to that, even if your ex agreed to pay during the divorce.

Children learn from conflict

Do you and your ex still run into sources of conflict, despite your divorce? Many couples do. If you have kids, it is important to remember that children learn from this behavior. They're like sponges, and they see everything that you do and say, whether you're trying to teach them at the moment or not.

This can be good or bad. Life is full of conflict. That's not something that they can stay away from. Seeing you have a conflict and then resolve it in a calm, productive manner actually teaches the kids some valuable skills that they will need as they grow up.

Will a brain injury lead to a divorce?

You feel like you have a strong marriage. You and your spouse have been together for 10 years. While it hasn't been perfect -- what marriage is? -- you assume it is going to last.

Then you suffer a brain injury. Maybe it's a fall at work or a car accident. The TBI puts you in the hospital and changes your life.

Pennsylvania ranks No. 31 in percentage of married population

A recent study looked at the percentage of people in every state who were married, and it found that Pennsylvania is very close to the middle of the pack. The married population sits at 48.2 percent. That ranks the state at No. 31 overall.

The study also looked at the marriage and divorce rates in every state. In Pennsylvania, the divorce rate in 2017 came in at 2.6 divorces for every 1,000 residents. That was the 11th lowest rate in the United States. The marriage rate was 5.7 marriages for every 1,000 residents. While people are getting married faster than they get divorced, that is still the eighth lowest rate in the country.

Exclusionary requests and parental alienation

Parental alienation happens when your ex attempts to turn your kids against you. While you have a legal right to see them and be involved in their lives, your ex emotionally manipulates them to take them away from you by making it so they do not even want to see you.

It's heartbreaking when it happens, and it's potentially illegal. The children's best interests should always come first, and that generally means seeing both parents. Anything that gets in the way of that is likely focused on what your ex wants, not what the kids really want.

Divorce questions: What is a contested divorce?

A contested divorce sounds like one spouse asks for a divorce and the other contests it, perhaps trying to block the divorce from taking place. However, that's not what it means under modern divorce laws. With the shift to no-fault divorce, no one has to prove that the legal split is needed, and it's far easier to get a divorce than it may have been in the past.

You can even do it without your spouse's consent. If he or she fails to respond to the divorce filing, that is known as a default. It can proceed without them and they can even lose some of the rights that they would otherwise have retained.

2 of the most-cited reasons to file for divorce

If you ask most divorcing spouses, they will have several reasons why they decided to bring their marital union to a close. Some spouses might not be entirely clear about what happened -- they just know that it's time for them to move on. If you take a poll of Pennsylvania divorce and family law attorneys, they'll also be able to give you a long list of the reasons why marriages end.

Here are two of the most common things on which divorcing spouses blame their marital troubles:

Pennsylvania protective order defendants must give up their guns

Individuals who accuse others of harassment, abuse or domestic violence may be able to request that a judge issue a protective order against the alleged perpetrator of such acts. While such an order has always carried with it certain guidelines that a defendant must follow in order to remain in compliance with it, an additional restriction was added on Jan. 1.

A hearing must be held so a judge can hear why they should issue a protective order within 10 days of a petition originally being filed. Courts are obliged to set this hearing by law under 23 Pa..C.S.A. Sec. 6017 of the Protection From Abuse Act (PFA).

Why should I mediate my divorce?

Getting a divorce is emotionally difficult enough, but to add the excessive costs and complexities of the legal proceedings into the mix, it's enough to cause any divorcing spouse to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, for couples who choose to mediate their divorces, they'll be able to prevent a lot of stress, while saving a tremendous amount of money and time in the process.

For many couples, mediation is the preferred method for bringing their divorces to a close. Mediation allows for negotiating the financial and child custody aspects of the divorce process so that couples can reach a peaceful, out-of-court settlement agreement. It works particularly well for spouses who have children because it helps support a friendlier relationship between two exes who will need to remain co-parents and will need to be able to work with each other for many years into the future.

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