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

Category Archives: Equitable Distribution

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HUSBAND DRIVES ESTRANGED WIFE’S CAR INTO RIVER, GOES ON NEWS AND MAKES IT WORSE

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Protection from Abuse

I’m sure it felt cathartic at the time. An estranged husband rolled his wife’s 1990 Camaro into the Delaware River. He was frustrated that his wife had not turned the family mini-van over to him. The funny thing about having impulse control issues is that there is a certain lack of foresight as to the… Continue Reading

WINDSOR DECISION AFFECTS RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

Posted in Equitable Distribution, Practice Issues, Same Sex Marriage, Taxes

Last May, Susan Foreman Jordan in our Pittsburgh office issued a very informative alert on the impact of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor on the IRS and Department of Labor recognition of same-sex marriages. Susan identifies and explains how the IRS and Department of Labor clarified, so as to… Continue Reading

SOCIAL MEDIA PRENUPS TRY TO ENSURE PRIVATE MOMENTS STAY PRIVATE

Posted in Equitable Distribution, Evidence, Practice Issues, Prenuptial Agreements

A recent story through ABC’s Good Morning America website highlighted the evolution of the prenuptial agreement in the social media age. Divorce lawyers are reporting an increasing amount of requests for language in prenuptial agreements – if not stand-alone agreements – addressing social media usage. It makes a lot of sense. In an age where… Continue Reading

SECRET, SECRET, I’VE GOT A WORK-PRODUCT PROTECTED SECRET

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Evidence, Practice Issues

Many of my cases involve the use of expert witnesses; individuals hired to review and testify about a specific issue or topic. Usually they are financial experts whose job is value a particular asset such as a business, while other experts could be psychologists conducting a custody evaluation. In other areas of law, there are… Continue Reading

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 This case is a non-precedential opinion, meaning it cannot be cited as establishing law on the issue, but it is emblematic of the risk one runs if you do not follow the rules.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

Pre-Nups

Posted in Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Prenuptial Agreements

              Pre-Nuptial Agreements are a hot button for engaged couples, but they can be a great way to minimize risk, exposure, and litigation in the event of a divorce or death of one of the parties. You may want to consider a Pre-Nuptial Agreement if it is a second marriage for at least one of the… Continue Reading