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October 2016 Archives

Counseling for Children

Counseling may be a useful resource for children dealing with changes in family status due to divorce or separation. It can provide the children with a safe place to discuss and process their feelings. Both parents will need to agree to counseling unless one parent has sole legal custody. A parent can petition the court for an Order regarding counseling if they can't get the other parent's consent. Family counseling is another option if the relationship between a parent and child has been damaged or if a parent is looking to rebuild a relationship after a period of missed time with the child. Often times, reunification counseling will be used in the context of a custody dispute to reintroduce and/or reinforce the relationship between a parent and their child.

PA Child Support Program

The Pennsylvania Child Support Program is a website that allows parties to file support claims, obtain important information, make payments, and receive updates regarding their case. The website also has a tool for estimating what a child support obligation will be. Child support in Pennsylvania is based on statewide guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The guidelines are based on an "Income Shares Model." Accordingly, the guideline amount will be based on the combined net monthly income of both parties and the number of children involved. The amount of support reflected in the guidelines is based on the average expenditures of children for food, housing, transportation and other necessary miscellaneous items.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Next week, October 16th - 22nd, is the week of action. You can visit www.nnedv.org for details on the daily initiatives. Thursday, October 20th, is purple Thursday and people are encouraged to wear purple to raise awareness. Pennsylvania has several laws in place to protect victims of domestic violence.

Preparing for Equitable Distribution

Equitable distribution is the term used in Pennsylvania referring to division of marital property at the time of divorce. Marital property will consist of nearly everything acquired in either party's name from the date of marriage through to the date of separation. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of all marital property. Instead, the statute on equitable distribution sets out 13 factors to be considered. In any divorce involving equitable distribution, the parties are tasked with identifying all the property to be considered. Specifically, Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1920.33 discusses the requirement of each party filing an Inventory. The Inventory should list all marital assets and debts at issue. An Inventory must be filed prior to requesting a hearing on equitable distribution. Further, if you are served an Inventory first, you have twenty (20) days to file your own Inventory. In this regard, it is certainly helpful to have some understanding of what you and your spouse have prior to filing for divorce. You can supplement the list of marital property if you do not have knowledge of all the assets and debts at the outset.

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