How Does Adultery Affect Divorce in PA?

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Family Law | 0 comments

Adultery in any relationship is deeply hurtful, but in a Pennsylvania marriage, cheating can also be used as the “fault” of a divorce. If your partner has not been faithful and you decide to end the marriage, it is crucial to consult with a divorce attorney and to understand PA divorce laws surrounding adultery so you can protect yourself. What Is Adultery? Adultery in PA is defined as consensual sexual relations with a person who is not your spouse. Divorce laws in the state only allow one partner to claim adultery as the grounds for a fault divorce if the infidelity was not forgiven and if the non-cheating spouse did not take back the unfaithful partner. In addition, adultery cannot be named as the grounds for a fault divorce if both partners sought sexual relationships outside the marriage. Proving Adultery in PA If you want to use adultery as grounds for a fault divorce in PA, you must prove your spouse cheated. You can do this with pictures, hotel names and dates where various rendezvous took place, text messages, online activity or the testimony of a partner’s lover. How Adultery Affects Alimony in PA Alimony is a form of spousal support paid in some Pennsylvania divorces from one spouse to another after the divorce. It is awarded in the final divorce decree. This support is intended to ensure each partner has the financial resources to reasonably live their lives and meet their financial obligations. In some divorces, alimony may be for a set time period, while in others it may continue until the individual receiving the alimony no longer qualifies for such support. Divorce courts in Pennsylvania take many factors into consideration when determining alimony, including the financial resources of both partners and the potential for future earnings. One factor considered is any marital misconduct, such as adultery. Any infidelity occurring before the final separation can mean the at-fault partner may be asked to pay alimony. However, a partner’s health and financial resources may mean they get alimony, even if they were not faithful. Pennsylvania courts can also use accusations of infidelity to reduce the award of other forms of spousal support. For example, an attorney may argue that because a partner cheated, he or she should not be eligible for temporary alimony before the divorce is finalized. Courts can determine even an unfaithful partner should get some spousal support, however. If your partner has been unfaithful and you are the higher-earning partner, you may find it difficult to accept you still may need to pay alimony to your former spouse. If you are concerned and seeking to leave your partner after they cheated, consult with a divorce attorney. Does Adultery Affect Child Support? In general, divorce laws in PA are interested in protecting the best interests of any children in the marriage. For this reason, adultery does not affect visitation, custody or child support unless the infidelity may negatively affect the children. Even in such a situation, child support is unlikely to be affected by accusations of cheating. Do You Still Have Questions About Adultery and Divorce? If your partner has cheated and you are now facing divorce, contact a divorce attorney as soon as possible in the process to ensure your interests are protected. The attorneys at MPL Law understand the end of your marriage may affect your financial, personal and professional life, and they will carefully listen to you to make legal recommendations based on your current and future needs. Contact MPL Law for a...

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How to Deal With a Divorce in the Workplace

Posted by on May 3, 2019 in Family Law | 0 comments

Deciding how to deal with divorce is always difficult, but chances are that you will need to continue working, even as you go through the legal process. Dealing with the stress related to divorce along with work projects can quickly become overwhelming, but there are ways you can stay professional and positive on the job despite the turmoil at home: 1. Report the Divorce to the Appropriate Parties at Work You may want to let HR, your supervisor and your employer know about your divorce, especially if you have court dates coming up or if you may need to take some calls. You may also want to let your team members know, in case they notice mood changes. In addition, talk to HR about any benefits that can help you now, such as childcare, paid time off or counseling services. When speaking about your divorce at work, stick to the facts and keep things brief. Your employer does not need, or likely want, details. 2. Be Discreet While divorce is stressful, try to keep the impact on your work to a minimum. Avoid making it the primary topic of conversation and work hard to avoid any slowdown in your performance. Try to arrange your life so you miss as little work as possible as well. If you need to vent, try to do it with friends and family at home so you can keep your work life as professional as you can. 3. Have a Plan for When Things Feel Overwhelming Working through divorce can cause many emotions to unexpectedly arise. One day you may feel hopeful and upbeat about your future, and just hours later, you may feel despair and intense grief. Expect the emotional ups and downs and have a plan for dealing with them. Consider going to a private area in the workplace or going for a walk to clear your head. Use soothing music or deep breathing and meditation to get a handle on your emotions. You might also try working out your feelings before work, so you are clear-headed and prepared for your day. 4. Minimize Calls, Texts and Emails With Your Spouse When going through a divorce, you will likely have some contact with your spouse to discuss childcare or other urgent matters, but try to keep contact to a minimum. Not only will the calls, emails and texts impact you emotionally, but any disagreements you have can potentially affect your case in court. Trying to handle personal matters at work can also affect your work performance and can be a big distraction. The best course of action may be to work with a divorce attorney, who can contact your spouse and their attorney when information needs to be passed on. 5. Create a Focused and Positive Environment Take good care of your health and be kind to yourself so you can create the best environment possible. Consider speaking with a therapist if you are struggling or having trouble sleeping. A professional can teach you how to work through a divorce by showing you how to manage your emotions and navigate the uncertainty of the divorce process. Speaking with your divorce attorney is also helpful as they can often set out a firm plan or timeline for how the process with progress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and informed. At work, create the best possible environment, whether that means asking to be placed on specific projects you are good at or removing all memories of your marriage from your desk. Where possible, try to keep your work place as divorce-free...

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Social Media and Divorce: What You Need to Know

Posted by on Apr 29, 2019 in Family Law | 0 comments

Social Media and Divorce: What You Need to Know

If you’re going through a divorce, using social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other sites can seem like a way to feel better during a difficult time. The ability to vent online, keep loved ones up-to-date about proceedings and find new friends is tempting, but social media and divorce are an uneasy combination. In fact, if you use social media, your divorce can be negatively impacted by your online presence. What Not to Do Attorneys routinely turn to social media for divorce evidence, and you can be sure your spouse’s attorney is looking through any sites and accounts you have online for information. There are several key mistakes you’ll want to avoid making: Displaying your spending habits. During a divorce, both attorneys will be looking at ways to split assets, and you may even qualify for alimony. You may be accused of having hidden assets or a better income than you represent if you show lavish spending online. Even a simple new purchase, such as a car, can be misconstrued. Making aggressive comments. It can be tempting to commiserate with friends and family, but be wary of posting negative comments about your spouse. These can be used by an attorney when determining custody and visitation. Venting your feelings can cause harm to your family and be used against you. Negative comments you make can be interpreted to mean you are aggressive or have undiagnosed mental health issues which can directly impact your ability to see your children. Even joking comments can be misinterpreted, so proceed with caution. Providing any evidence of extramarital affairs. Even if you are both dating again, be wary about posting photos of anything that could be used to suggest you had an affair prior to the “official” end of your marriage. You don’t want such claims influencing the division of marital property. Deleting old posts. Some social media users assume deleting old pictures or setting all accounts to private will eliminate any negative impact on a divorce. This is not the case. Deleting old posts or pictures could be considered destruction of evidence, something that may not bode well for you in the future. If you have posts you are worried about, your best option is to speak with your divorce attorney about them to determine how to best address the potential issues going forward. Posting anything without speaking to an attorney. If you have any social media accounts and have filed for divorce, be sure to discuss your online habits and friends with your attorney. Your attorney may have specific advice for you based on your situation. The Basics of Social Media and Divorce If you have social media accounts, don’t forget about them while you are going through the process of a divorce. It is natural to want to post online to show you are doing fine or use your accounts to vent. Unfortunately, you are never the only one looking at your social media. Your divorce is already painful, and it can become more so if an attorney misrepresents innocuous pictures or if your offhand comments online cause a rift between you and family members. Even a simple picture of you celebrating at a bar with friends can be misconstrued in court, so make sure to review your accounts and online habits with your attorney. Share any posts or images online you may be worried about with your attorney and be sure to give your lawyer any aggressive or belittling comments your former partner has made about you online. Being on your best behavior online is key to protecting yourself from the perils of...

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Executor of Will vs. Power of Attorney

Posted by on Apr 26, 2019 in Estate Planning | 0 comments

Executor of Will vs. Power of Attorney

When you make an estate plan, you need to designate an executor for your will. You also need to decide who has power of attorney should you become incapacitated. Many people think these two things are interchangeable, but they actually cover very different territory. While the executor and power of attorney can be the same person, they do not have to be. You may prefer a family member has power of attorney vs. giving executor oversight to a family friend. Here’s a look at the differences between these two important designations. We also answer some frequently asked questions such as does an executor have power of attorney. What Is Power of Attorney? Power of attorney allows you to make decisions on behalf of others. The person with power of attorney can give immediate permission for things such as medical procedures if you become incapacitated. Power of attorney covers your decisions when you are alive. It might be invoked if you are in a coma or suffering from a condition so debilitating you can no longer convey your wishes. Things someone might need to do when power of attorney is invoked include: Filing a lawsuit for you Cashing checks or investing money on your behalf Permitting medical decisions for your minor children When you plan your estate, you can decide how extensive you want your power of attorney to be. Some people opt not to include medical decisions. You should discuss the options with your lawyer to make an informed decision. You can also invoke power of attorney for a short term to accomplish something you need taken care of when you are out of the country, such as signing closing documents on a property sale. Keep in mind that a power of attorney terminates at the death of the grantor. You grant power of attorney to someone when you sign the proper documents. This is different from an executor, whose role does not begin until a judge signs an order giving them the power to carry out tasks related to the estate. What Is the Executor of Will? The executor of a will oversees the assets and estate after someone passes away. If you do not appoint an executor of your will, a court will designate one to make decisions after your death. Responsibilities of the executor may include: Organizing your assets and giving them to designated beneficiaries Paying off creditors and taking care of funeral bills Reviewing all your financial statements and your will The will must enter probate before your executor can carry out their duties. An executor of an estate or will does not have power of attorney unless you fill out a separate document also granting them that duty. Revocation of Power of Attorney It is relatively simple to revoke power of attorney. You must fill out a form entitled “Revocation of Power of Attorney.” You will need to file the form in the county where you live or engage in most of your business. We advise you to also destroy the previous power of attorney document. Removal of Executor of Will Though you can remove power of attorney yourself, the court must remove the executor of a will. Beneficiaries must prove the executor is not working in their best interests. They need to show the assets of the estate are being wasted or other convincing evidence of neglect or malice in the executor’s actions, proving they are not up for the job. Get Assistance With Your Power of Attorney and Executor of Estate Documents Now that you understand the difference between executor of estate vs. power of...

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Estate Planning Mistakes

Posted by on Feb 19, 2019 in Estate Planning | 0 comments

Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate planning is a delicate but necessary topic to address. Whether you are assisting a parent with getting their estate planned or doing it for yourself, you must pay attention to all the details to ensure matters go exactly as you want them to when you or your loved one has passed. There are a number of common mistakes you can avoid with the right approach. Use our estate planning for dummies guide to help you avoid common errors and ensure your beneficiaries get the most from your estate. Designate the Right Beneficiary or Beneficiaries You may want to leave your children a large sum of money, but do you think they can handle it responsibly? Figuring out your beneficiaries calls for an honest assessment of everyone you plan to include. Consider family politics, too, as frustrating as they may be. If you have family members who don’t trust each other, you may need to consider leaving them out of your estate. Consider Trust and Fairness for Your Executor The executor of your estate doesn’t have to be your eldest child or another arbitrary designation. Think about the person you most trust to handle a sensitive matter in your life right now. Even if that’s a family friend, you may want to choose them as executor rather than a family member. Just make sure it’s a person whom your entire family trusts. This will eliminate issues as the will is executed. Update Your Retirement Accounts Often when people leave jobs or take their retirement, they neglect to update the beneficiaries on their 401(k) or other retirement plan. Revisit these designations to ensure your first spouse or a sibling you are no longer on good terms with is not named the beneficiary. That will lead to chaos and conflict when you are gone. Update Your Insurance Policies You should also check the beneficiaries of any life insurance policies and look at the total worth of those policies. Can you adjust them to aid your beneficiaries? Do they understand the tax liabilities associated with the policies? Address What to Do if a Beneficiary Passes Away If you have designated someone as a beneficiary and they pass away, immediately update your estate, your 401(k) and your insurance. Failing to do so can lead to your money going to the estate of the late beneficiary, which could benefit someone you don’t even know. Rethink Selling Your Property for a Small Sum Have you considered selling your $500,000 house to your child for $1 in an effort to get the most for your beneficiaries? Well, this tactic could backfire. The government understands that the value of your house is actually much more than $1, so it will treat your generosity as a taxable gift to your child, and that could result in bills they cannot pay. Beware of Large Taxes When Reselling Unfavorable taxes may occur with just about any transaction, so discuss anything you plan to do with your house with a tax attorney ahead of time to avoid huge penalties for yourself or your beneficiaries. Update Asset Ownership If you have gotten remarried since buying your home or you sold a car to your grandchild but neglected to turn over the deed, now is the time to get all these things in order. It can get messy for an estate when asset ownership claims are disputed. Find the most favorable arrangements for your family when updating these assets, such as putting your new spouse’s name on a mortgage. Make Sure Assets Going to a Minor Mention Their Guardian If you plan to...

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Noxious Weeds Act 46 of 2017

Posted by on Feb 6, 2019 in What's happening in law and at MPL Law Firm. | 0 comments

Pennsylvania recently enacted a new Chapter 15 in Title 3 (Agriculture) dealing with noxious weeds.  The law was signed by Governor Wolf on October 30, 2017, effective December 29, 2017. The law creates a “Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee” that reviews applications and issues permits for the cultivation and control of noxious weeds.  The most important aspects from a municipality’s standpoint are two-fold. First, in the event the Committee issues a “control order” to a property owner regarding a noxious weed, if the property owner fails to abide by the control order, the Committee will notify the municipality to perform the steps set forth in the control order.  Any costs incurred by the municipality in carrying out the control order is recoverable from the property owner who failed to carry out the control order. Second, if a municipality has been regulating specific noxious weeds, such ordinances have now been pre-empted by the new law relative to any ordinances that may be in conflict.  The current list of commonwealth-designated noxious weeds can be found in § 1519 of the law. It bears noting that this new law does not change municipalities’ generally regulating through a “Weed Ordinance” that requires that property owners keep weeds cut and controlled on their properties.  Rather, the new law authorizes only to the Commonwealth the ability to regulate specific types of weeds....

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