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Monroeville Family Law Blog

Bethenny Frankel and former husband fight over child custody

Unfortunately, marriage disagreements do not always end when a divorce becomes final. Disagreements and the need for a family law attorney can extend well past a divorce, especially when children are involved. Pennsylvania residents anticipating a divorce and/or child custody discussion in their future may be interested in Bethenny Frankel's personal custody battle with her former husband two years following their divorce.

In 2010, the reality television star married her former husband Jason Hoppy. Not long after they were married, Frankel gave birth to their daughter Brynn. Unfortunately, the couple separated in 2012 and finalized their divorce in 2016. Recently, Frankel requested to have primary custody of their daughter and full decision-making power.

High asset divorce: Attorneys can help with asset division

Some people may be able to improve their financial status by getting married. Unfortunately, the opposite is often not true. The divisions of assets, liabilities, income and expenses are often contested in a high asset divorce. Many couples considering a divorce find the advice of a Pennsylvania family law attorney invaluable when planning their financial future beyond a divorce.

Assets can be diversified, making it complicated for an individual to understand the best solution for a division. Couples often share cash, savings, bonds, investments, retirement accounts, mutual funds, real estate properties and more. Not all assets are equal as far as tax implications, which can make a division unfair if not divided correctly. Debt is also considered in the division, but different debts are handled differently, and spouses can sometimes remain responsible if the other spouse fails to pay a debt.

Attorneys can help with unique cases of child support

Pennsylvania family law attorneys understand that all families are different and many have unique circumstances. When two individuals share children, the issue of child support often comes up regardless of whether they are married, not married or processing a divorce. Because child support can be a sensitive and complicated topic, many individuals seek the advice of an experienced attorney.

When child support discussions begin, the first order of business is usually establishing the relationship of the parents to the child or children involved. Determining the mother's relationship in most cases depends on whether she gave birth to a child. Determining a father's paternity can be more involved and complicated, depending on the case. When couples are married and a child is born, the husband is presumed to be the father, but if couples are not married at birth, there is a legal process and form that can be filed through three different agencies to declare paternity. The most invasive way to determine paternity is through a DNA test, which typically involves testing all parties of the family, including the mother and child.

How should you tell your spouse you want a divorce?

Many people hesitate when it comes to breaking news that someone else might find difficult to accept. Recently, you may have found yourself in such a position after making the decision that you want to end your marriage. While you may feel that this choice is the obvious one, you may fear that your spouse will not feel the same way.

It can certainly be difficult to break the news of divorce when one party wants to move down this path while the other person does not. If you think this may fit your case, you may want to take the time to find the best way to tell your spouse that you want to end the marriage.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling will affect child support

There are different ways to approach a divorce; couples most often choose between direct negotiation, mediation, a collaborative divorce and formal litigation. A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision will likely make it difficult for a couple with significant wealth to choose the option for a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse hires attorneys and negotiations occur on every aspect and item of their split outside of the court system. The recent ruling has changed the way child support will be handled for high income earning parents, likely forcing most couples to litigate their divorce.

Several years ago a couple filed for divorce and the husband had significantly higher yearly income than his wife. Annually he earned around $15.5 million and she earned $105,000. According to the child support calculations that Pennsylvania used for all divorcing parents, the payments would equate to $60,000 a month in their situation. The husband challenged the amount, arguing that it was excessive -- particularly for just one child. He appealed the ruling.

What happens to child support when a parent dies?

Pennsylvania family law attorneys are often used by individuals well past the divorce finalization. The circumstances of divorced spouses can change at any time, sometimes affecting the divorce, custody and child support terms. The death of a spouse who is paying for child support or alimony can have a significant impact on the surviving former spouse and children. The financial support from Scott Weiland was impacted by the singer's death, but the children's mother was able to request help Through the court system.

Scott Weiland was famous for his singing with the rock band Stone Temple Pilots. Prior to his death, he was paying $4,000 a month in child support for his two children. He shared the 15 and 17-year-olds with his former spouse Mary Weiland. With his death, the payments temporarily stopped.

Student loan payments may be factored into property division

The cost of college and graduate education has risen significantly over the last few decades. With the rise, there has also been the rise of student loan debt, and the cost of higher education makes it difficult for many individuals to avoid it in order to obtain a degree. When individuals take on student loan debt, they typically expect that it will catapult them into a career that will offer financial security, but that is not always the case. A recent study concluded that student loans are likely the culprit of financial stress that occurs prior to some divorces. In Pennsylvania and other states, division of debt is an important part of property division during divorce proceedings.

A study of 900 divorced adults was conducted by Student Loan Hero.  Thirteen percent indicated that student loans were a significant factor in their past marital issues. Nationally, that debt is now at the highest it has ever been at $1.5 trillion.

Child custody: Explaining a divorce is often difficult

There are multiple reasons couples in Pennsylvania may decide that a divorce is in their best interest. Some may divorce due to affairs, debt, gambling, addiction or lying. Some simply do not share the type of love to maintain a healthy marriage and instead wish to live separate lives. There are often multiple questions from friends and family members, and some questions may be difficult to answer. Couples may find the most difficult questions to answer about their pending divorce and child custody will come from their own children.

Often, the reasons children suspect their parents may be divorcing may depend on their age. Younger children may be oblivious to underlying actions by one or both parents that may have led to a divorce, but it is sometimes harder to hide things from teenagers. It is natural for many children to ask questions and be curious about the reasons that may have led to a divorce. Some children may feel that they are to blame.

Reasons you or your ex may request a child support modification

While children can bring great joy, they also bring a great deal of responsibility. When married, you and the other parent may have handled the necessary duties as evenly as possible. However, when you divorced and you became the custodial parent, you may have worried about the financial responsibilities that would fall on your shoulders when it came to providing for your kids.

You may have felt a sense of relief when the court awarded you child support. Now, the other parent has a legal obligation to provide you with a monthly amount of money to help provide for your kids. While you may feel somewhat satisfied with the terms of the support order, you may want to remember that circumstances could arise that may warrant a modification to that order.

Child custody: Father could be jailed for not appearing in court

For many parents, raising a child is a joyful and busy experience. For others, it can be a difficult journey, especially when another parent or family member disagrees with the way in which a child is raised. In unfortunate cases, Pennsylvania family law attorneys, judges and courts must intervene between couples when child custody disagreements arise. One such case has been recently publicized. A father's refusal to appear in a family law court and return the child to visit with this mother may result in the father's arrest.

More than a year ago, the father was given full custody of a couple's 4-year-old son. The mother of the son had recently pleaded guilty to meth drug charges and was placed on a 30-month probation. Although the mother resided in Illinois, the father left with the child to live in another state. Beginning last November, the mother and her attorneys began making requests through the court for the father to return with the son for the mother to be able to visit. As recently as last month, the father has not reappeared for any of the requested court hearings.

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