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Pennsylvania Family Law Updates, Events & Useful Tips Surrounding Family Law Issues

Category Archives: Equitable Distribution

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RULES ARE RULES: SUPERIOR COURT SLAPS COUNSEL FEES ON PARTY APPEALING HIS OWN MISTAKE

Posted in Alimony, Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Practice Issues, Prenuptial Agreements, Support

A very interesting opinion recently came down from the Pennsylvania Superior Court awarding attorney’s fees in a divorce case. This case is a non-precedential opinion, meaning it cannot be cited as establishing law on the issue, but it is emblematic of the risk one runs if you do not follow the rules. The parties, two… Continue Reading

NEVER DOUBT ALAN THICKE: FRESH START TAX PROGRAM IS REAL

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Practice Issues

(Image: www.aaahighroads.com) I am sorry I doubted you, Alan Thicke Like many people, I have a healthy skepticism for infomercials or to-good-to-be-true schemes, so when I kept hearing Alan Thicke – famous for the 1980′s show “Growing Pains,” marrying a Miss World, and the real life dad to pop star Robin Thicke – pitch a… Continue Reading

SUPERIOR COURT AFFIRMS ‘TENANTS BY ENTIRETY’ AGAINST INDIVIDUAL JUDGMENTS

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Practice Issues

Wendy Rothstein is a litigation partner in our Blue Bell office and she writes for our Pennsylvania Trial Practice Blog. Recently, Wendy highlighted a case in which the Superior Court declined to consolidate two individual judgments against a husband and wife. The bank wanted to seek the attachment of their house which is titled as… Continue Reading

ASSET OR INCOME; THE DISABILITY POLICY CONUNDRUM

Posted in Equitable Distribution

Since the inception of equitable distribution in Pennsylvania on July 1, 1980 the law has consistently been that courts have power to divide marital property.  With certain exceptions for gifts and inheritances, marital property is all property “acquired” from the date a couple marries to the date they finally separate 23 Pa.C.S. 3501(a). The challenge… Continue Reading

DON’T HESITATE…ARBITRATE

Posted in Alimony, Custody, Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Support

One of the difficult aspects of taking a complex case to trial is not the subject matter, necessarily, but the Court’s ability to schedule several consecutive days of trial.  Due to case volume, the court administrators can rarely carve out two or more consecutive days of trial without significant advance notice and, often, direct instruction… Continue Reading

NO EMAIL – IS YOUR LAWYER OLD SCHOOL OR IRRESPONSIBLE

Posted in Adoption, Alimony, Custody, Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Practice Issues, Prenuptial Agreements, Protection from Abuse, Same Sex Marriage, Support

A South Carolina attorney was recently disciplined for failing to have an active email address. Despite characterizing herself as “retired” and not having a client in thirty years, the South Carolina Disciplinary Board still found that she “poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public and to the administration of justice” for repeatedly… Continue Reading

“GRAY” DIVORCE AND THE ISSUES THAT CAUSE IT

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Support, Uncategorized

The rate divorce among couples in their 50′s or older has grown so much in recent years that it has earned its own moniker: gray divorce. A recent article in the Fiscal Times by Christina Couch highlights some of the financial issues which are resulting in retired couples spitting up. Not surprisingly, they are really not any different from the reasons why any… Continue Reading

Money, money, money

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution

I heard a commentator on the radio this morning talking about how “financial infidelity” (or secret spending) can ruin a relationship.  You’ve probably heard that money is one of top reasons people get divorced.  So, what can you do to prevent money from ruining your marriage?  I think it starts before you get married.  Have… Continue Reading

Cases Citing Recent Decision as to When Lawsuit Proceeds Are Marital Begin to Roll In

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution

Earlier this year, Mark Ashton, a partner in our Chester County office, wrote about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, Focht v. Focht. This case is significant because it overruled Pennsylvania’s prevailing caselaw addressing how to determine whether a lawsuit and personal injury settlement are marital or non-marital assets. The old law looked to the timing of when… Continue Reading

Being Prepared

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Practice Issues

My friend’s husband died just over six months ago, and although it was not unexpected, what was unexpected was the state of the finances after he passed.  He had handled the finances during the parties’ marriage, and my friend knew little of the parties’ finances.  How much do you know about your family’s finances?  Do you know… Continue Reading

Expensive Shoe Collection Brings Divorced Couple Back to Court

Posted in Equitable Distribution

Jenice Armstrong of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote a column about Beth and Daniel Shak’s divorce. The Shaks divorce was finalized in 2009, but recently Mr. Shak filed a petition to enforce the parties’ settlement agreement and is seeking 65% of Mrs. Shak’s extensive (and expensive) shoe collection. Mr. Shak contends that this collection is an asset… Continue Reading

Superior Court Upholds Distribution of Pre-Embryos in Equitable Distribution Case

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently decided its first case addressing the allocation of frozen pre-embryos between divorcing spouses. The pre-embryos were created as part of the parties’ in vitro fertilization process shortly after wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and would likely be unable to reproduce after treatment. The appeal was brought by the husband from the… Continue Reading

Clever QDRO’s and “Sham” Divorces Give Pilots Access to Retirement Funds

Posted in Equitable Distribution

Mark Hess, a partner in our Los Angeles office and an attorney who specializes in employee benefits, wrote an article on Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO’s) and an interesting 5th Circuit case, Brown v. Continental Airlines, Inc.  In  the Brown case, Continental Airline pilots and their spouses used QDRO’s and what amounted to sham divorces to avoid retirement… Continue Reading

Divorce Proofing Your Business

Posted in Equitable Distribution

Family law has seen an evolution of facts in cases that are directly tied to the economy. One of the more common has been the long-term separation in the same house, but another has been the motivation of business owners to pursue a divorce. Anecdotally, we have seen cases in which the plaintiff is an… Continue Reading

Protect Yourself

Posted in Equitable Distribution

We all know that the world economy is a mess, and if you are getting divorced, chances are your own personal "economy" is a mess as well.  Here are a couple of pointers to protect your credit  during your divorce: 1.  Make a list of all of your joint credit cards, and take the necessary… Continue Reading

Short Deadline Prevents Battered Spouses from Raising “Innocent Spouse” Defense

Posted in Equitable Distribution

Not surprisingly, the two year rule has been coming under fire in Congress with the introduction of legislation by presidential candidate and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, as well as a demand by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus that the IRS review the two year deadline. With respect to divorce, particularly in Pennsylvania where two years of… Continue Reading

Fraud or Foolishness: Ex-Husband Using Madoff as Excuse to Invalidate Divorce Settlement.

Posted in Equitable Distribution

Following up on Mark Ashton’s “celebrity” themed blog entry on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership, another high profile individual is having a residual effect on divorces: Bernie Madoff. Mr. Madoff’s crimes are well-documented and high profile. His arrest has given rise to a media niche on scan artists, including Montgomery County’s own “Madoff”, Robert L. Krikorian,… Continue Reading

Agreements and Statutes of Limitations

Posted in Equitable Distribution

Many marital settlement agreements contain language that says, in effect, that just because a party does not pursue a contempt action for a breach of the agreement, does not mean they waive their right to enforce the agreement in the future. In other words, just because I don’t take you to Court over your mistake,… Continue Reading

April 15th

Posted in Equitable Distribution, Practice Issues, Support

Each year I get phone calls from clients around the tax filing deadline asking for advice regarding tax filings.  First of all, your attorney likely is not an accountant and certain tax issues need to be discussed directly with an accountant.  However, there are some important things to consider when doing your taxes during a… Continue Reading