Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.
Legal & Mediation Services
“Calming the Chaos, Creating Solutions”
Call for a Confidential Consultation
866-567-9029 or 215-752-6200
Practice Areas
Watch our Video

divorce Archives

Discovering Assets and Income in Divorce

It is not uncommon for parties contemplating divorce to try to hide assets in an attempt to keep them out of the marital estate that will be up for distribution. One of the biggest red flags as far as potential hidden assets is if the spending habits or lifestyle of a party is way more than would be expected based on their reported income. You should also be wary of a party who owns their own business. If they deal in cash they can easily hide money. Additionally, what they report for tax purposes is not always indicative of income available for spousal or child support. It complex cases it may become necessary to hire an expert to analyze income flow. Top level executives may receive different forms of income. Examples include stock options, bonuses, car allowances, and deferred compensation plans. Even military members often have a compensation package that goes beyond their base salary.

Health Insurance in Divorce

One frequent question in the context of divorce is what will happen to health insurance coverage. Generally, a spouse should not drop the other spouse while a divorce is pending. Health insurance is often addressed in the context of support and spouses are obligated to provide support for each other during the marriage. A support order can mandate a spouse to continue to provide health insurance. The obligation to carry health insurance for the other spouse ends at the entry of the final divorce decree. If you are unable to obtain alternate health insurance on your own right away you can look into COBRA coverage but this can be very expensive. More affordable options may be available on the healthcare marketplace.

Steps to Take Post-Divorce

Receipt of the divorce decree is not necessarily mean nothing else needs to be done. In a case with a marital residence, the parties may still need to sell the house or one party may have a certain window for refinancing the property and buying the other party out. If you are a party retaining a marital residence by agreement or court order, you can change the locks once the property is formerly awarded to you. The party vacating the residence should be sure to change their address with the post office and update other accounts accordingly. In a case where retirement benefits are being split, the parties may need a qualified domestic relations order or QDRO for short.

Reconciliation

Pennsylvania allows a no-fault divorce on the basis of one year separation period. Separation is defined in Section 3103 of the Divorce Code as follows: "Cessation of cohabitation, whether living in the same residence or not. In the event a complaint in divorce is filed and served, it shall be presumed that the parties commenced to live separate and apart not later than the date that the complaint was served." Cohabitation, though not specifically defined in the divorce code, is generally understood to be living and dwelling together as husband and wife with the mutual assumption of all marital rights, duties and obligations. It requires more than just remaining in the same house overnight or for the weekend or taking a week-long trip together. Any reconciliation between parties can negate a prior separation period. Specifically, if a party is pursuing a divorce on the grounds of separation, a reconciliation may result in a new date of separation date and hence a new one-year waiting period.

Separation for Divorce

Separation is one of the no-fault grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania. A no-fault divorce simply means there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Grounds for a divorce can be established if a one year separation period is established. One party would need to file an affidavit of separation setting forth the separation date. This affidavit is to be served on the other party along with a counter-affidavit. If no objection is made by the other party the date of separation as stated in the initial affidavit is accepted.

How to Change Your Custody Agreement/Parenting Time

If you have children and are getting divorced, you will negotiate a parenting time schedule, typically called a custody agreement. This dictates the amount of time that each child will spend with each parent. It can include overnights, holidays, and special arrangements like pick-ups and birthdays. If you are divorcing with younger children, your schedule will more than likely need to be adjusted in the future to accommodate different schedules.  If you have already been divorced for a few years, you may be concerned that your custody agreement is no longer working. After all, your schedule, as well as the activity schedules of your children, have probably changed over time.  

Dealing with Emotions of Your Divorce

When you move through your divorce you may feel as if your entire life is being turned upside down.  This upheaval can lead to emotional fallout that appears overwhelming to handle.  If you do not want to get divorced this can be even harder to comprehend and start to manage.  When we work with clients, we help them move through the process and build a stronger life for themselves so they can easily walk into their post divorce life.   Putting the right supports in place for yourself will greatly help you manage all of the pieces and stress.

After Your Divorce, Make These Changes Immediately

The process of getting divorced can be hard to move through.  When you are finally divorced you will probably want a break from making decisions and taking care of legal matters.  However, it is crucial to immediately update a few important areas of your life including your will, life insurance beneficiaries, and other estate planning documents.  

When You Get Divorced...Actually Get Divorced

Many couples who have financial problems feel like they should still co-own assets after divorce. Maybe you are upside down on the mortgage on your home and you would lose money selling it.  Perhaps you have debt you still want to co-own or can not split for some reason.  Perhaps one of you wants out of the house but there is not enough cash to be bought out.

Discussing Your Home During Divorce

If you are overwhelmed with the divorce process it is important to take a step back and get organized.  One of the most overwhelming aspects of divorce is related to getting your financial documents gathered and assessed.  For our clients in Bucks and Montgomery Counties here in PA, we know how stressful this can be, especially when it comes to your home.

  • Avvo Rating
  • 10.0 Superb
  • 2014 top 100 lawyers ASLA
  • Overall Client Rating in Family Law - 4.8 out of 5.0

Office Locations

Langhorne Office
174 Middletown Boulevard
Suite 300
Langhorne, PA 19047

Phone: 215-752-6200
Fax: 215-752-6202
Langhorne Law Office Map

Doylestown Office
44 East Court Street
Doylestown, PA 18901

Phone: 215-348-3800
Fax: 215-752-6202
Doylestown Law Office Map

Norristown Office
516 DeKalb Street
2nd Floor
Norristown, PA 19401

Phone: 215-752-6200
Fax: 215-752-6202
Map & Directions