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Main Line Family Law Attorney Explains that Children May Now Have Standing to Enforce Their Parents’ Marital Settlement Agreements

In the recent case of Weber v. Weber, No. 1312 WDA 2016, the Pennsylvania Superior Court found that a father and mother’s college-aged son was permitted to bring suit to enforce his parents’ settlement agreement that required them to share equally in the reasonable cost of his college education. Marital settlement agreements between parents often contain payment provisions that affect the children. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has explicitly refused to allow children to sue their parents to enforce child support provisions of the parents’ marital settlement agreement. In doing so, the Supreme Court has relied on a on a public policy rationale, stating that this would open a “Pandora’s Box,” where every child of divorced parents whose settlement agreement contained a provision for child support would bring suit against their parents. In Weber, however, the Superior found that a child may be permitted to bring suit against his/her parents to enforce[...]

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Main Line Family Law Attorney Explains: What is Alimony and How is it Calculated?

Alimony is financial support that one spouse is ordered to pay to the other after the entry of a final divorce decree. In general, the spouse that earns more money should expect to pay some alimony to the spouse that earns less money, but that is not always the case. And the amount of the alimony award and how long it will be paid depends on many things, and an experienced Main Line family law attorney will help pursue your best interests. Under Pennsylvania law, the amount and duration of alimony payments are decided by the court after considering a list of 17 factors, including the relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the parties’ ages, the relative assets and liabilities of the parties, and the relative needs of the parties. Because of all of the factors that the court must consider, an award of[...]

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Bryn Mawr Family Law Attorney Explains New Pennsylvania Public Access Policy Addressing Access to Court Records which Goes into Effect January 6, 2018

On January 6, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted a new policy addressing access to trial and appellate court records throughout Pennsylvania. This policy will go into effect on January 6, 2018. It addresses who can access certain court records, and restricts certain types of information from being accessed at all. There is a general presumption that most court records are open to the public, with several exceptions. Historically, the only way to access court records was to go down to the courthouse to access the files that you wanted to see. However, because more and more counties are making dockets and docket entries available to the general public online, along with concerns about privacy and identity theft, there is a growing need to address what type of information is available to the general public. This new policy addresses the accessibility of records by the public, including how to obtain records and[...]

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A Main Line Family Lawyer Answers the Question: How do I Find Hidden Assets and Other Financial Information in a Divorce?

One of the questions that new clients often ask our Main Line family lawyers is how they will be able to find out information about their spouse or partner’s income and assets. Sometimes this concern arises because the other spouse was the one that handled all of the finances during the marriage so there is a lack of access to files, and sometimes it arises because of a belief that the partner or spouse has been hiding or secreting money away somewhere. Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Divorce Code provides for formal discovery of such information.

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Main Line Family Lawyer Discusses: Dissipation of the Marital Estate is a Factor to be Considered at Equitable Distribution

When a spouse consumes marital property or causes its decrease in value during the marriage or after separation, the other spouse may have a claim for dissipation of the marital estate at equitable distribution. Pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3502, “the contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property” is one of the factors to be considered at equitable distribution, and should be discussed with your Main Line family lawyer. If a spouse has consumed or caused the decrease in value of marital property during the marriage, the court may award the other spouse a greater percentage of the marital estate, or a dollar-for-dollar credit against the consumed asset. Examples of behavior that may support a potential dissipation claim include a wife that spends large amounts of marital money on a secret affair during the marriage, or a husband that withdraws all[...]

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