How to Get Started
(This Is A Transcript Of An Interview)
You’re ready get started – great! We promise that the process will be simpler than you ever imagined. And at the end of it, you will feel great, knowing that your family’s future is taken care of.
Here’s a little more information for you about how we work. After all, we’re different from most other family law and estate planning law firms – that’s why our clients love us! Here are some questions you may be asking right now.
What Are The Common Family Law Cases That Your Firm Handles?
The most common calls that I get are for issues involving child custody. Child custody cases are the focus of my practice for the most part. I also handle child support and general divorce cases. In my experience, the 3 top issues that people are concerned about within the realm of family law is child custody, divorce, and child support.
How Can Someone Prepare For A Pending Divorce?
The most important thing is to decide whether you’re going to be moving forward or not. That’s the most important decision; whether to get the process started at all. Once you have actually made that decision that it is time to take action, then the most important thing to do is to consult with a lawyer. At the least, you will want to get a divorce complaint prepared and filed as quickly as possible. That divorce complaint can always be amended later, but there are advantages to getting that filed as soon as you can, particularly if there’s a dispute about the date of separation.
Interestingly, Pennsylvania just recently in this past December of 2016, put into effect a law that shortens the waiting time from a 2-year separation to 1-year separation. Therefore, divorces that are proceeding under Section 3301D of the divorce code can move along a lot faster now because folks don’t have to wait 2 years anymore; the waiting period is now just 1 year from the date of separation.
How Do The Courts Determine The Custody Of A Child?
The general standard for custody has to do with the best interest of the child. That’s the standard upon which the court looks at each in individual case. In addition to that general overarching goal of the best interest of the child, there are also 16 child custody factors that are outlined in the Pennsylvania Child Custody Statute, which the court is required to consider when making determination of custody. Some of the factors may not apply to all cases, and some of them do apply in all cases. That is one of the reasons why it’s important to consult with a good lawyer – to make sure they’re putting your case forward in the best light possible for you.
Will There Always Be Visitation For The Side That Is Denied Custody Of a Child?
The parties can always make an agreement for custody, and this can be done outside of court. If the parties are in complete agreement on how they would like things to work, they’re free to make whatever arrangements they’d like. This is because they are both the parents and they can essentially do whatever they want as long as they both agree on it. Unfortunately, a lot of the time parents don’t agree on what the custody schedule should be, and so that’s when it’s important to have a custody order which can put everything down in writing. Sometimes after a complaint for custody is filed, it’s still resolved by agreement. I always try and go this route, because I think it is always best when both parents decide how to manage the upbringing of a child or children, as opposed to having the court decide how things will happen.
Whether a custody order is entered into by-agreement, or whether it is entered into after a hearing through determination by the court, that order is almost always without prejudice to either party to be able to file an excision to modify that custody order if circumstances change and that is warranted. Unless a parent were to be prohibited from any parental or custodial rights because of some criminal activity or drug use or for whatever reason, then either parent can petition the court to change the custody order if a change is needed or warranted, and it can’t be worked out by agreement.
Anything worked out by agreement can always be entered as an agreement as an order so that you do have it in writing. It can always be changed by agreement, but if it is an order it can’t be changed unilaterally (meaning by just 1 party).
For more information on Family Law Cases In Pennsylvania, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (267) 238-3841 today.
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