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Pittsburgh Family Law And Estate Planning Legal Blog

As a grandparent, you can ask the Pennsylvania courts for visits

There is a popular saying that only the best parents get promoted to grandparents, and while that isn't true, having grandchildren in your life can certainly feel like a reward for successful parenting.

There is something unique and beautiful about the relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild that benefits both the adults and the child throughout their lives.

Benefits of filing for divorce

Many couples who are contemplating divorce in Pennsylvania wait until after the holidays to take the first steps. The process of filing for divorce includes speaking to an attorney, filing a complaint and having the other spouse served with the paperwork. In fact, January is the most popular month for filing for divorce. Attorneys in the U.S. and U.K. have reported that divorces increase over 20 percent with the start of a new year.

Many people believe that filing for divorce is usually a financial disaster. However, there are actually some upsides that come with filing for divorce. When state laws give homemakers strong property rights after a divorce, the number of marriages increases overall.

How to talk about estate planning goals

For many families in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, it can be difficult to talk about money and mortality. However, by bringing up these topics in a sensitive manner, it can be possible to do so without starting any fights. Adult children who are thinking about discussing the future with their parents should frame it as a way to ensure that they will be fine going forward.

Parents who are seeking to have an estate planning talk with their children can frame it as a way to ensure that they carry on the family legacy. Parents are encouraged to start talking about money around their children as early as possible. This can instill in them the value of saving money and generally being prepared for the future. Those who don't want to start a conversation on their own may wish to do so with the help of an outside party.

Mediation to reach a child custody agreement

There are two situations in which a parent in Pennsylvania might need to meet with a child custody mediator. One is if the mediation is court-ordered. The other is if the other parent requests a session with a mediator. In the former case, a parent must comply with the court order.

Not complying with the court order could result in being held in contempt of court. It could also make the judge view the parent as uncooperative. A parent who refuses to go into mediation at the request of the other parent does not face any specific legal penalties, but it could still be viewed as a lack of cooperation by the judge, and this could hurt a parent's bid for custody. However, if the parent submits a valid reason for not going to mediation at the request of the other parent, a judge is unlikely to see the refusal as uncooperative. One parent cannot force the other to go to mediation.

How to maintain family unity during the holidays

The holiday season can be especially stressful for a parent in Pennsylvania who has recently ended a marriage. The good news is that there are ways for families to come together to have a happy holiday season even if they lack a traditional structure.

Parents will ideally collaborate to create a schedule that is in the best interests of their children. This typically means that parents will do their best to continue holiday traditions. Those who cannot continue past traditions for any reason are encouraged to start new traditions with their kids. These traditions could include celebrating holidays on different days or otherwise finding time for both parents to spend with a child. It's important to note that both parents and children can feel isolated if they aren't allowed to see each other.

What are common reasons people give for challenging a will?

Creating a last will is an act that protects you, your wishes and the people that you love the most. Although many people find it unpleasant to spend time considering their future death, estate planning can often provide the peace of mind that comes from knowing their loved ones will have support after they die, making it worth that temporary discomfort.

Sadly, after you take all the time and effort to create an estate plan that reflects on your wishes and the needs of the people who depend on you, it is possible for people in your family to challenge your wishes in court, potentially undermining your estate plan or convincing the courts to throw it out entirely.

Improve estate plans with these simple tips

Music fans in Pennsylvania may remember learning about the estate problems that occurred after the passing of Aretha Franklin and Prince. Neither singer had an estate plan in place, causing legal battles and frustrated family members. Those who have worked hard and planned for retirement also need to make end-of-life plans and organize their estate.

The first thing to do when making or improving an estate plan is to review the beneficiaries and designations. Some accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s, may be transferred to beneficiaries without costly and time-consuming probates. This can be done by simply filling out a beneficiary form. Back-up beneficiaries may also be added. Next, individuals should go over life insurance benefits. It's important to have enough for funeral costs and end-of-life expenses. It is also a good way to pass the money onto loved ones without taxes.

How a divorce impacts a person's business

Most people start out their married life thinking that their love and happiness will last forever. The unfortunate truth is that a sizeable portion of marriages end in divorce. Pennsylvania residents may be interested in seeing how a divorce could impact their small business.

When a small business owner gets a divorce, the business can become part of the fight. It could end with a person completely losing their business or being forced to take on debt in order to push an ex-spouse out and prevent them from sharing ownership of the business.

Estate planning changes require new focus

When it comes to estate planning in Pennsylvania, there are a number of things people should keep in mind besides having a will and one or more trusts in place. The creation of new asset categories and the passage of new regulations in recent years have changed the estate planning landscape. It has become necessary for estate planners and people doing their own estate planning to broaden the scope of their knowledge and consider issues that were not so important before.

Among the things to keep an eye on are funding for a living trust, the estate tax and account passwords. Once a living trust is established, it still must be funded with assets in order for those assets to avoid probate. With a revocable living trust, the settlor is able to make changes to beneficiaries and trust terms. In order to fund the trust, the title for the assets must be put into the name of the trust.

Planning to move forward after divorce

When couples in Pennsylvania decide to divorce, they may have a difficult time in the immediate period following the separation. It can be challenging to adjust to a newly single life, especially after a longer-term relationship. Since almost half of first marriages end in divorce, it's wise to think about how one could recover from the end of a relationship and deal with the potential for depression and other mental health concerns.

Turning to friends and family can help an ex get through the difficult time after a divorce. They can offer warm support and a listening, understanding ear. Some may also want to consider professional support, such as that provided by a therapist. A therapist's office can provide a safe space to talk through more complex or intimate issues.

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