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Pittsburgh Family Law And Estate Planning Legal Blog

Effective co-parenting after divorce

Divorced and divorcing parents in Pennsylvania are often concerned about the well-being of their children. In most cases, both parents plan to remain involved in their children's lives. Whether the parents opt for a shared custody arrangement or a more traditional setup, where one parent has primary custody and the other has visitation rights, people need to work together to ensure that their children's best interests are protected.

Unfortunately, this can be difficult even when the divorce has been amicable. Intense emotions can crop up even months or years after the original breakup, and disputes can erupt. There are several things, however, that adults can do to establish a positive co-parenting relationship with each other.

About estate planning

Many people in Pennsylvania may find that estate planning can be a stressful process. Estate planning requires that people think about the end of their lives, which can be quite uncomfortable for some. It can also be stressful if the estate owner doesn't understand the tools available to achieve their planning goals.

In some cases, estate planning worries may center on children. People may be concerned about having the right documents in place that will ensure that their kids will be in good care. They might also be stressed about whether their wishes will be adhered to after they pass and if their surviving loved ones will be treated fairly.

What is collaborative divorce?

Litigation can be a long and expensive process for spouses to go through to obtain a divorce. However, some couples may consider the collaborative divorce process instead. Through the collaborative divorce process spouses and their specially trained attorneys negotiate to reach a settlement for divorce issues.

For many couples, this process is preferred because it is often faster and cheaper than litigation. Additionally, it allows each person more control over the outcome than he or she would have had in court with a judge making the final decisions.

Including revocable trusts in estate plans

Pennsylvania residents can use a revocable trust to bolster their estate plans. A revocable trust will continue indefinitely, ensuring the deceased grantor's wishes regarding the handling an estate are honored. If the grantor is also the trustee of the trust, the provisions should address who should be the successor trustees after the grantor dies.

A revocable trust can be used as an instrument of protection against beneficiaries' creditors. The assets that are held by the trust can be protected from creditor suits, divorce, investment debts, litigation judgments and more. The protection can be implemented by preventing the beneficiaries from being able to withdraw the trust's principal, while allowing them to receive an income and other financial support for maintenance, health and education as deemed appropriate by the trust provisions.

Moving through the divorce process

When people in Pennsylvania notice long-term problems in their marriage, their thoughts may turn to divorce. While divorce is quite common and around 2 million Americans choose to end their marriages every year, many people know little about how the process actually works. As a result, they may have a number of fears about what the experience will be like. By learning more about how a divorce proceeds, people can prepare for the next steps of the experience and emerge more secure and successful.

In general, divorce moves through three stages, from filing to discovery to disposition. Filing is self-evident enough, but the discovery process essentially involves gathering detailed financial information about both parties. Emotional factors may push people toward divorce, but the process itself is primarily legal and financial. It is important to have a full understanding of the financial situation in order to arrive at a fair resolution. When one party hides or obscures finances, the discovery period can drag out significantly longer. In some cases, the disposition of the divorce takes place in family court through a trial, but in many cases, it involves bringing a negotiated settlement for approval before a judge.

Baby Mama Drama

Antonio Brown may need to retract his wishes for wanting to be traded- and the reason has nothing to do with football. Pittsburgh Steeler's wide receiver recently made headlines stemming from him filing for full custody of his daughter. This legal move comes after the news broke that Brown was being investigated for a domestic dispute that occurred last month. Wiltrice Jackson, the mother of one of Brown's children, claims that Brown pushed her in January. If this is true Brown will have trouble gaining sole custody of his daughter.

Establishing trusts for children

Looking out for their children's best interests, many parents in Pennsylvania put a sizeable amount of money in a trust that will provide for generations to come. However, these same parents may elect to keep the existence of this trust hidden from their children till they grow up. Parents who choose to do this are trying to keep their children from becoming too spoilt or wasting their time pursuing frivolous goals.

That being said, several parents across the country might not have the choice of whether to keep the trust a secret from their children or not because state laws might dictate otherwise. Simply put, state laws govern trusts as well as the duties of the trustee, and seeing as 31 states have adopted the Uniform Trust Code, trustees in those states must follow that code. The Uniform Trust Code tries to protect the beneficiaries of a trust by dictating that a trustee must keep them reasonably informed about the trust. This information usually comes in the form of an annual accounting statement along with a copy of the trust agreement upon request.

How judges make child custody decisions

When parents in Pennsylvania decide to separate, child custody issues can be difficult to overcome. One ex may be concerned that they will lose their close bond with the kids, especially if the other parent maintains primary custody. While joint custody is becoming increasingly more common, there are a number of solutions that may be preferable depending on each family's circumstances. By understanding how family courts make decisions, parents can help to prepare themselves for a custody hearing.

In general, custody decisions are based on a determination of the child's best interests. The child's needs are given priority; although, a strong relationship with both parents is generally considered of major importance to childhood development. There are several factors that judges may keep in mind when making custody decisions. One factor is parenting ability, including a parent's ability to meet a child's needs. A parent's physical and psychological health may be considered as may his or her living situation. For example, a parent living with roommates and without separate sleeping space for the children may be considered unfavorable.

Estate planning for the future

Pennsylvania residents may wonder what's necessary to include as part of an estate plan. While thinking about the future may be a sensitive issue, it can also be an important means to make life easier for loved ones and ensure that a person's wishes are carried out. Many people put off making decisions about estate planning, especially in their younger years. However, even young people can benefit from making an estate plan, especially if they have any kind of assets, are married or have children.

There are a few steps that people can take to start the estate planning process. Among the most important documents for people of any age is a durable power of attorney for matters related to finances, property and health care. This document would allow a named trusted person to make decisions on the creator's behalf in case he or she is incapacitated. This can be especially important when critical health care decisions need to be made in an urgent situation. It can also be essential to ensuring that people are able to pay the bills in case of an emergency.

What constitutes an annulment in Pennsylvania?

What if there was a way to erase your marriage as if it never happened? Luckily, there might be. This procedure is known as an "annulment."

Similar to a divorce, an annulment is a legal procedure used to designate the end of a marriage. An annulment goes farther than a divorce decree, because it legally voids the marriage. As a result, the law does not recognize that the marriage ever existed.

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