As Main Line family law attorneys, we know that when a divorce is pending, clients are often confused as to whether they are considered “married” or “divorced” for tax filing purposes. Since there is no “legal separation” document that is filed in Pennsylvania, you are not considered divorced in Pennsylvania until a divorce decree is issued by the Court. Thus, even if you are separated, you are still considered “married” for tax filing, and other, purposes.
We often hear the question, “Can a grandparent file for custody of a grandchild?” It may seem obvious that parents can file to obtain custody of their child or children. But the question often arises about who else is permitted to do so. On one end of the spectrum is a random stranger, who cannot even file a complaint or petition with the court asking for custody of a child. On the other end of the spectrum is a person who stands in loco parentis to the child, which means that he or she has essentially acted as the child’s parent in all regards, taking on full parenting responsibilities with the consent of the actual parents, and who is permitted to file for custody of the child. But there is a gray area in between, which is where many grandparents today stand.
When a couple decides to divorce, the first step often involves both spouses retaining separate lawyers. But do both spouses need a divorce lawyer? In Pennsylvania, the Rules of Professional Conduct say that an attorney shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if the representation of one client will be directly adverse to that of another client. In the family law context, this means that an attorney cannot represent both a husband and a wife or a mother and father at the same time in a divorce, support, or custody matter. This rule applies to premarital agreements as well; an attorney cannot represent both parties in drafting a premarital agreement because their interests are ultimately adverse to each other; one gets rights that the other gives up.
Many couples today are asking their friends or family members to officiate their weddings. For some, it is based on a desire to include someone that knows both spouses personally. For others, it is because they do not want to have a religious ceremony or get married in a courthouse. Whatever the reason, the couple believes that the friend or family member has the authority to make their marriage official. That person went through an application process online, paid a fee, and obtained a certificate stating they he or she is ordained as a minister, so the marriage must be valid, right? Not necessarily. You might want to check with a family attorney. My Friend Officiated Our Wedding – Is Our Marriage Valid? As of today, there is no clear-cut answer on whether an officiant who was “ordained” online qualifies as a someone who is “authorized to solemnize”[...]
As we approach the deadline to file 2018 taxes, our family lawyers stress the importance of being aware of the new tax law changes that went into effect under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and how those changes affect your taxes going forward. This is particularly true if you recently went through a divorce, or are in the process of getting divorced. Prior to January 1, 2019, pursuant to IRS rules, alimony paid to a former spouse was deductible by the payor and reportable as income by the recipient, as long as certain IRS requirements regarding those payments were met. And, as long as you and your spouse had a signed “divorce or separation agreement” in place prior to December 31, 2018, these rules still apply going forward. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, however, the alimony deduction has been eliminated. This means that[...]