Law Offices of Lisa Standish

Pittsburgh Family Law Blog

Divorce issues that may prompt supervised visitation orders

Many Pennsylvania families will encounter difficult challenges when parents decide to end their marriages in court. It is not uncommon for divorce issues to arise that prompt parents to seek the court's intervention to resolve. Child custody and visitation are typically high priority issues where a judge's discretion may be needed to set forth restricted terms meant to keep children safe at all times.

What are some of the reasons a judge may order supervised visitation? It is not likely to occur if a parent simply tells the court that he or she does not trust his or her co-parent. Evidence must be shown to convince the court that unsupervised visits would somehow be detrimental to children's emotional, physical or mental well-being.

Did filing for divorce spark a pet dispute?

Pennsylvania parents who decide to end their marriages must negotiate fair and agreeable settlements that include terms regarding the care and upbringing of their children. One of the main issues to be resolved in such situations is which parent will have physical custody of the kids. Sometimes, the court decides that a shared custody arrangement is best; other times, a judge may deem a parent unfit. In recent years, the subject of pets has made its way into custody proceedings in divorce.

In the past, pet care has typically been included in property division proceedings. However, more and more often nowadays, disputes regarding which spouse will own a dog, cat or other pet have been litigated as custody issues. The Pittsburgh Post- Gazette recently published a story about a woman who refused to accept compensation in exchange for allowing her ex to take her pet, a dog that she said her spouse had given to her as a Christmas present.

Guidance and support: Key factors toward amicable divorce

Deciding to end a marriage is definitely one of the most intensely personal choices of a lifetime. Many Pennsylvania spouses will file for divorce in 2019 and beyond. Some will choose mediation or collaborative law to negotiate their settlements; others will determine a need for litigation.

Regardless of the exact details of a particular situation, it is always a good idea to rely on experienced legal support when achieving a peaceful, fair settlement is the goal. If you have children, you may encounter various challenges regarding your co-parenting plan, including issues concerning child support, custody or visitation. If you and your spouse agree on most topics, you may be able to devise a plan outside of court and submit your proposal to the judge overseeing your case, for his or her approval.

Key factors judges consider re child support decisions in divorce

As 2018 nears its end, many Pennsylvania parents will be among those seeking to end their marriages. Divorce is never easy, and issues -- such as child custody, visitation or support -- can complicate matters. As recently mentioned in previous posts on this blog, parents often petition the court to request lower child support payments.

Parents concerned with lowering child support payments should know that there are typically two main factors judges overseeing such cases will consider when deciding monthly payment amounts. Such factors include each parent's income, as well as the percentages of parenting time. The latter can be tricky to determine, however, because a lot of noncustodial parent spend a lot more parenting time with their kids than they may realize.

Retired NBA star seeks child support change after divorce

Matt Barnes enjoyed a successful career in the NBA for nearly 15 years. Pennsylvania basketball fans may remember when he retired in 2017. Some may also have followed his divorce from Gloria Govan, who starred on reality TV show "Basketball Wives." The two have been entangled in a dispute over child support for their two sons.  

Barnes recently welcomed another child into the world from another mother. Since his divorce, he'd been paying $20,000 per month in child support. However, he recently filed a petition in court, requesting modification of the existing plan, stating that he can no longer afford to meet the payments.  

Important information regarding taxes and divorce

Most households in Pennsylvania need 50 percent or more of their income just to make ends meet. In families that include a primary breadwinner rather than dual, full-time incomes, deciding to divorce may mean that a major financial adjustment is pending. In addition to considering how much money it will take to start afresh as a single person, anyone who plans on filing for physical custody of his or her children will also have much to consider regarding financial care of the kids.

Day-to-day finances are a high-priority consideration in most divorces. There are also several issues having to do with taxes that may have significant impact on a particular situation. For instance, those settling a divorce after the last day of 2018 will be subject to new rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Woman in another state finalizes her divorce in a unique way

Many Pennsylvania residents will be among those throughout the nation who decide to end their marriages in court before this year's end. Some are looking for the swiftest, quietest, uncontentious ways to finalize divorce, simply wanting to leave their pasts behind and move on to new lifestyles. Others, like a woman in another state, prefer to end their marriages with a bit more fanfare.  

The woman in this case said she liked the idea her father and brothers had regarding how she could find closure after the court issued her divorce decree. They suggested she blow up her wedding dress and host a party so that all her loved ones and friends could celebrate the closing of that chapter of her life. One friend, who apparently has expertise in explosives, was a bit worried that the group was planning to use too much but they assured him they were going to be safe.  

Children of divorce: Things to do and not do to help them

A top priority of all good parents in Pennsylvania and beyond is to act with children's best interests in mind. When divorce occurs, parents may disagree about what is best. The court will step in to make all custody, visitation and support decisions when parents can't agree. As for daily life and children's emotional needs, there are several things parents can do to help children move on in life in as healthy and positive a manner as possible.

One of the best ways to help children come to terms with divorce is to avoid subjecting them to adult conflicts. If children constantly witness their parents fighting and a main topic of the arguments pertains to them, the kids may internalize the situation and wind up blaming themselves for their parents' problems. While it is okay to let kids know that parents have disagreements, it is far better for their well-being if they see their parents working together in a calm, mature and peaceful fashion to overcome their differences.

Things to know about family law mediation

Perhaps you have determined that your marriage is no longer sustainable. You and your spouse have agreed to divorce and you both want to handle the situation as amicably as possible. Especially regarding your children and a future co-parenting plan, you're both hoping to be able to negotiate a fair agreement without having to fight things out in court. Pennsylvania family law mediation may be a viable option for you.

Mediation is a negotiating process that takes place outside a courtroom. For it to work, you and your spouse must agree to discuss all matters of importance in a calm and respectful manner. You must also agree that certain issues will not be brought up, such as anything and everything the two of you may have fought about during marriage.

What if declining divorce rate does not apply to your situation?

A study at a university in another state suggests that marriages in Pennsylvania and elsewhere last longer today than they have in recent decades. While the overall national divorce rate, especially among millennials, appears to be declining, that doesn't help those currently facing serious marital problems or legal issues regarding their own divorces. In sort, while less couples may be heading for court, those who still are need strong support.  

Younger generations reportedly wait until they are much older to get married as opposed to their elder counterparts, who often married quite young. Baby boomers not only married younger than millennials do today, they have a much higher rate of divorce and remarriage compared to other age groups. Some marriage analysts say they are surprised at the apparent decrease in a generation where people are typically more receptive and accepting of divorce than their ancestors might have been.  

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