Law Offices of Lisa Standish

Pittsburgh Family Law Blog

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.  

Will family law mediation help Gwen Stefani and her ex?

Gwen Stefani is at the top of many Pennsylvania pop music fans' lists for favorite artists. Stefani has been in and out of the limelight in recent years, especially regarding her divorce from Gavin Rossdale and her new romantic relationship with Blake Shelton. Rossdale and Stefani have three children together, all boys. A recent news headline reported that the two parents are going to use family law mediation to help resolve a custody disagreement they are having at this time. 

Rossdale is the lead singer for the band Bush. Since he and Stefani split, Bush has spent a lot of time on tour. Rossdale's three sons spent the majority of that time with their mom. Stefani has spoken publicly about her relationship with Shelton and says that her children love him. A source claiming to be close to Stefani reported that Stefani believes she provides a much more stable home environment than her children could ever hope to have with their father.  

Divorce: Practical tips for keeping stress levels low

Every year there are many Pennsylvania couples who end their marriages. Reasons for doing so vary, but those that do separate often find they can relate to others who have gone through similar experiences. Divorce is stressful and affects every person in the family, not just the spouses themselves. No two families will handle divorce or adapt to new lifestyles in exactly the same way.

When children are involved, both parents must keep their best interests in mind when navigating the family law system. If kids witness parents working together to develop amicable co-parenting plans, they are more likely to successfully adapt to their new lifestyles. If parents are constantly fighting over such topics, children may internalize those problems and, perhaps, even blame themselves for the divorce.

Family law mediation: How to know what it is not the best option

Getting divorced is a personal decision that impacts the lives of at least two people and, many times, quite a few more as well. Many Pennsylvania spouses hope to negotiate their settlements without going to court. However, it's not always possible, especially if you're involved in a highly contentious relationship. There are certain signs that suggest that family law mediation may not be the best choice to fit a particular divorce situation.

Successful mediation hinges upon amicable discussion. Each spouse must be willing to keep the best interests of the other in mind when devising co-parenting plans or resolving other issues, such as those regarding property division or child support. If you are at a point in life where you are spending more time hoping the other person "gets what's coming to him or her," it is a sign that it might be better to litigate a divorce.

How Pennsylvania spouses can keep stress to a minimum in divorce

No two Pennsylvania marriages are exactly the same; therefore, neither are any two divorces. When a couple chooses to divorce, they often encounter various challenges regarding child custody, property division or other issues that can make the entire process quite stressful. The good news is that there are support systems in place to help spouses minimize stress and maximize their changes of achieving fair and agreeable settlements.  

There are different types of stress related to divorce. Stress related to financial matters or highly charged emotions are most common. However, one thing a spouse can do to keep stress levels low is focus on the ultimate goals at hand, which are often connected to protection of interests and building new lifestyles. 

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