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Monroeville Legal Blog

Alimony may help a lesser-earning spouse post-divorce

Alimony is often one of the most complicated issues in a Pennsylvania couple's divorce. During the divorce proceedings, the court may order the higher-earning spouse to pay their lesser-earning spouse a set amount of money each month to give the lesser-earning spouse time to become financially self-sufficient after the divorce. The purpose of alimony is to limit the financial struggles of a lesser-earning spouse as they transition into single life.

The court will generally consider various factors when determining how much alimony to award. The court will look at both spouses' ages, income, assets, education and job skills, as well as the duration of the marriage. A stay-at-home spouse that has been out of the work force for a couple of decades may need a more substantial amount of alimony to acquire the necessary skills to re-enter the work force after the divorce. The lesser-earning spouse will only be paid until the pre-determined alimony termination date or until he or she remarries, whichever comes first. However, in some cases (e.g. if a lesser-earning spouse is physically unable to work), permanent alimony may be awarded.

What is the purpose of a power of attorney?

Many people have assigned a loved one to be their power of attorney to make medical and financial decisions on their behalf if it becomes necessary to do so. Making decisions for an incapacitated loved one can become complicated, so having a power of attorney can make the whole process much easier.

Filing documents, including a healthcare declaration, can be helpful when it comes to making decisions about your medical care if you are incapacitated. However, these documents cannot possibly cover every situation that arises. That's why having a power of attorney for healthcare is essential. This person can make decisions not covered by your declaration, but will not be allowed to go against anything written in your declaration. Generally, they will have access to your medical records and be allowed to consent to or refuse medical treatments on your behalf, choose which doctors will treat you and which medical facilities you should visit and decide what will happen to your body after death. While you can limit the power of your power of attorney, you should make sure not to limit the power too much, as it would defeat the purpose of having a power of attorney in the first place.

How to make sure your will is valid in Pennsylvania

No one wants to think about their eventual death, but it is necessary to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of and your assets are protected. If you are in the beginning stages of estate planning, one of your first steps should be to create a will. For your will to be valid, it will need to meet all the requirements required by the state of Pennsylvania. If your will does not meet the requirements, the courts may deem that you died intestate or without a will, and your assets will be distributed in accordance with the laws of Intestate Succession.

Generally, in order for your will to be valid under Penn. State Code Sec. 2502, the testator or creator of the will must be at least 18-years-old and of sound mind. In other words, the testator of the will needs to be an adult with the mental capacity to understand the asset distribution process.

Protect yourself financially post-divorce

Many Pennsylvania residents stay in unhealthy marriages to avoid the financial complications that could potentially follow their divorce. However, there are many ways to avoid these complications and ensure that you are financially stable once you and your spouse decide to call it quits.

According to the 2018 National Retirement Risk Index, the average newly-divorced person would likely need to increase their income by 30 percent to maintain the lifestyle they had during the marriage. This can prove to be a challenge for many people, particularly those who are re-entering the workforce after many years. Experts say that setting a personal budget and sticking to it post-divorce is essential. Your new budget should account for any child support or alimony you will be receiving, new expenses and any changes in income.

What happens to student loan debt in a divorce?

Dividing up the assets is one of the most important parts of a divorce but splitting up the debts can be just as important. Student loan debt can be especially difficult to deal with during the divorce process.

Many Pennsylvania residents acquire a large amount of student loan debt before entering the marriage, while others acquire their student loan debt during the marriage. Generally, any debt you acquire before you say 'I do' is considered separate property and paying it off will be solely your responsibility.

How to tackle college tuition after a divorce

There is a common conception of how expensive divorce is. Between attorneys, asset division and court fees, it makes sense that divorce drains more than your wallet and emotions.

Unfortunately, divorce completely changes how you view finances. It’s especially tricky for parents who have to support themselves and children in the process. There is also a lingering question about your child’s future: how will I pay for my child’s education?

Calculating child support in Pennsylvania

When a couple with children decides to get a divorce, they will have to determine where the children will live and how much the non-custodial parent will have to pay in child support. Pennsylvania Courts use a complicated formula to calculate the child support owed each month.

Both parents are responsible for contributing to the child's needs in different ways. In a more traditional custody set up, the custodial parent, or the parent the child primarily lives with, will provide the child with things they need to survive, such as food, shelter, transportation, and clothing. The non-custodial parent, will contribute to these basic needs by making monthly child support payments.

Find your inner strength to get what you need in divorce

Divorce can be difficult for many reasons. You might fear being on your own, or maybe you struggle with whether you are making the right choice.

No matter the reason why you and your spouse are dissolving your marriage, you should stay strong to get what you need, and what you deserve, once your marriage is over. But how do you advocate for yourself throughout your divorce proceedings?

A durable power of attorney: what it is and what it does

Loved ones often have conversations in which they discuss what should happen if they become incapacitated due to health problems. There is a way for loved ones in Monroeville to formalize their wishes in this area. They can use a document called a durable power of attorney to set out what should happen in these cases.

A power of attorney is simply a written document in which a person -- called a principal -- gives authorization to another person -- called an agent -- to handle the principal's affairs. Powers of attorney have been used in business for a long time. It became clear that a power of attorney could be used for principals to express their wishes if they became incapacitated due to illness.

A quick introduction to child custody law

Divorce and separation can be full of contentious issues, but possibly the most contentious is child custody. Parents always have strong feelings about where their children should live and how they should be brought up. While sometimes parents in Pennsylvania can agree about how child custody should be handled, other times they need help from mediators or the court. This blog post will provide a quick introduction to how child custody issues are handled by family law courts.

When most people think of child custody, they are thinking about the concept of physical custody -- the issue of where the child will live. In many cases, one parent will have physical custody of the child. This means that the child lives with that parent most of the time. Usually, the other parent will have visitation rights. The other parent either can visit the child, or the child will be permitted to live with the other parent for brief periods of time. In other cases, the parents will have joint physical custody, where the child live with each parent for about 50% of the time.

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