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Pittsburgh Family Law And Estate Planning Legal Blog

Filing a military divorce

Divorce is a life-changing event with emotional, financial and legal repercussions. Military personnel often serve in demanding roles throughout the world. A divorce is a huge stressor. It can make a difficult situation even more challenging and emotionally draining.

If your marriage is past the point of no return, you must dissolve it. But you may be unsure of how to proceed. Fortunately for military service members, the military has legal assistance offices that offer guidance and advice for initiating a divorce. In addition, the American Bar Association offers resources for finding a military legal assistance office in Pennsylvania and other states.

Misconceptions about estate planning

No Pennsylvania financial plan is complete if it does not include an estate plan. Estate planning is something many adults tend to avoid because it brings on thoughts of death and leaving loved ones behind. There are a number of misconceptions surrounding estate planning that people lean on to avoid the subject.

For example, many will say they don't need a will because they don't have much in terms of cash or assets. Even those who do not have much to bequeath could use a will to distribute what they do have according to their wishes. Additionally, a will can cover more than who gets what when a person dies. The will might include provisions about who becomes the children's guardian, for example. It can also give instructions regarding burial or cremation.

Divorce can affect a credit report

Many spouses in Pennsylvania are wary of the financial impact of divorce. Separation could be particularly difficult for couples who have been married a long time or have a significant amount of investments. However, these issues can go far beyond the immediate division of assets at the end of a marriage. Divorce can have an effect on each spouse's credit score, especially if they do not take action to protect themselves when negotiating the dissolution of the relationship.

Of course, divorce itself does not necessarily impact creditworthiness; marital status is not taken into account in a credit score. However, a separation could lead to credit issues in indirect ways. While a divorce decree can bind both former spouses, it does not bind lenders. Some couples may agree that one party will be responsible for certain joint accounts but fail to change these accounts into individual accounts or transfer the balances to other, independent accounts. If an account remains joint, both spouses can be held liable by the creditor for the balance, regardless of agreements between them in the divorce decree. That means that both former spouses can also suffer a credit hit in case the responsible party stops paying or pays late.

How to do beneficiary designations right

It isn't uncommon for Pennsylvania residents to use beneficiary designations for 401(k) or 403(b) assets. Designations can also be used on a variety of other assets, including cars, houses or boats. It is important that these designations are made carefully to avoid negative or unintended estate planning consequences.

One common mistake is failing to make a beneficiary designation at all. This could result in the company that oversees the account deciding who gets the remaining assets. Another key mistake that people commonly make is not updating a beneficiary designation form. For instance, a former spouse may no longer be the intended beneficiary after a divorce. However, if that spouse is named on the form, he or she will typically receive it regardless of the estate owner's wishes.

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.

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