Family Law Attorneys
Central Pennsylvania Family Law Attorneys Provide Compassionate, Effective, and When Necessary, Aggressive Representation to Families in Need
One of the most stressful events any person could experience is a troubled marriage leading to divorce. It is an emotional and difficult time for both spouses and any children. This time is also fraught with confusion and frustration over the circumstances, including child custody and support, and spousal support and alimony. Questions over who will pay the bills, where the children will live, and what happens to the marital residence are all common concerns.
At Kelly, Parker & Cohen, we understand it is difficult and may even be embarrassing to discuss family problems with a lawyer, but our experienced family law attorneys are compassionate and sympathetic. And, when necessary, our attorneys will aggressively fight for your rights. We provide our clients with a well-rounded and balanced approach to handling family law matters and work hard to protect your rights under Pennsylvania law.
Sometimes the only solution for a troubled marriage is a divorce. In Pennsylvania, the two main types of divorce are “no-fault” and “fault”. Spouses may get a no-fault divorce where they both consent to a divorce, or they have been separated for two years and the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
If a no-fault divorce is not applicable, the grounds for divorce may include the following:
Abandonment without cause for at least one year;
Cruelty, including domestic violence;
Conviction of a crime and imprisonment for two or more years; and
Conduct rendering the marriage intolerable
Child Custody and Child Support in Pennsylvania
Child custody is one of the most hotly contested issues in a divorce. Child custody and child support issues in family law cases often result in emotional and stressful proceedings. Our family law attorneys understand this and know how to provide effective representation under these circumstances to protect your rights and the best interests of your children.
Pennsylvania law recognizes several different custodial arrangements that parents can be awarded. These range from full custodial rights where only one parent has full-time, to split custody, and even to visitation where one parent may have supervised visits. We work with you and the court to determine what custodial award is in the best interests of your children, while ensuring your rights are protected.
Child support is another extremely important issue. Both parents are financially responsible for their child(ren) until they graduate high school or turn 18 years old, whichever is later. There are some circumstances where child support may be further extended. Pennsylvania has established child support guidelines that determine each parent’s share. Typically, the guidelines determine what the noncustodial parent must contribute to the custodial parent in terms of child support. However, each situation is unique, and there are many facts to be considered and legal arguments that can be made.
Spousal Support and Alimony
Pennsylvania has enacted guidelines to establish how spousal support and alimony are determined during the divorce process and after a divorce decree is issued. One of the purposes of these laws is to help the spouse in need get back on his or her feet during the process, or after a divorce. These laws attempt to balance the financial inequities that might arise, such as one spouse earning more than the other, or one spouse sacrificing his or her career to help the other spouse through higher education and ultimately higher earning capacity. Our family law attorneys know that spousal support and alimony are important and complex issues in divorce. Our experienced attorneys understand how to protect your assets and ensure the court properly reviews and utilizes the guidelines when determining its award.
Our family law attorneys know that spousal support and alimony are important and complex issues in divorce. Our experienced attorneys understand how to protect your assets and ensure the court properly reviews and utilizes the guidelines when determining its award.
Kelly, Parker & Cohen provides Family Law Representation
No one plans to go through a divorce, but it is a sad reality. During this time, it is essential that you retain experienced and compassionate representation. The attorneys at Kelly, Parker & Cohen can help you through this difficult time. You can contact us with your questions 24/7 at (717) 920-2220.
Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law (FAQs)
What is a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania?
In a no-fault divorce, the parties do not to assign blame for the dissolution of their marriage. In Pennsylvania, there are two types of no-fault divorce. The most common type is a mutual consent divorce, where both spouses consent to the divorce and agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken. Mutual consent divorce requires a 90-day waiting period from the time that the divorce complaint is filed and served. The second type of no-fault divorce may be obtained if the couple has been separated for one year and their marriage is irretrievably broken. A couple may be considered separated even while residing in the same house. This type of divorce may be granted even if one spouse does not wish to divorce.
Does Pennsylvania have “fault” divorces?
Yes. Grounds for a fault divorce in Pennsylvania include: adultery, bigamy, abandonment without cause for at least one year, cruelty (including domestic violence), conviction of a crime and imprisonment for two or more years, and conduct rendering the marriage intolerable.
How long does it take to get divorced in Pennsylvania?
While circumstances can vary, generally you can obtain a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania in a matter of a few months. But you first must wait out a mandatory 90-day “cooling off” period if the divorce is by mutual consent or must live separate from your spouse for one year before the divorce can proceed. Generally, divorces based on fault require more time, as they are more contentious, and you will need to prove with evidence, in court, that your spouse is at fault.
How is marital property divided in a Pennsylvania divorce?
Marital property (also called marital assets) is the property acquired during the time of your marriage. Common examples include: your home, furniture, cars, businesses, investments, and retirement accounts. You may be able to reach a settlement agreement with your spouse setting forth how this property will be divided. If you are unable to do so, Pennsylvania law provides for equitable distribution of marital property. This means that the divorce court will divide your marital property in a manner that it deems fair. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal distribution.
What type of financial support may I receive in a divorce?
In Pennsylvania, there are three types of financial support that you may receive during and after a divorce. Spousal support may be provided after a legal separation but before your divorce action is filed. Alimony pendente lite is temporary alimony that may be awarded during your divorce action, but before the divorce is finalized. Alimony may be awarded after your divorce is finalized. You may also receive child support to help cover the expenses of raising your children. The family law attorneys at Kelly, Parker & Cohen can help secure all financial support to which you and your children are legally entitled.
Do I have to pay child support or alimony if I lose my job?
Even when you lose your job, you are still legally obligated to continue making your child support and alimony payments. However, a judge may reduce your payment amount, since your financial circumstances have changed. If you are experiencing financial hardship due to a job loss or any other reason, Kelly, Parker & Cohen can help you petition the family court for a reduction in your child support or alimony obligations.