Philadelphia Family Law Attorneys
50-Plus Years of Combined Divorce and Family Law Experience
Divorce or separation can be one of the most traumatic events you face during your life.
Whether the issues involved are agreeably resolved outside of court or through trial will depend on your goals and what makes the most sense for you. Our goal is simply to provide legal counsel and representation to help you make practical, informed decisions about moving forward with life.
Contact our office, Schwartz Law Firm, LLC., to discuss how we can help you address your legal concerns regarding:
Divorce and Separation
Pennsylvania doesn’t recognize the status of legal separation: you are either married or you are not. However, you and your spouse can have a separation agreement drafted. In our state, two people can be separated even if they still reside in the same household.
If you do decide to divorce, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, choosing an experienced attorney is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will make. Your choice will influence much of your future, including how you divide assets, whether you are entitled to or will have to pay alimony and support, and child custody arrangements. Get the advice to move through the divorce process with confidence that you are making the right choices.
Alimony and Spousal Support
The purpose of alimony (also known as spousal maintenance) is to provide the Family Court with a way to somewhat equalize post-divorce incomes for a couple. It is also designed to provide the dependent spouse who makes less income with a fresh start. It is not, however, appropriate in all cases. Spousal support, on the other hand, can be critical for a dependent spouse during the divorce process. However, you want to be confident that the amount of support is correct.
Division of Property
Unless there is a premarital agreement or postnuptial agreement, division of marital property and financial asset division, including division of high net worth or complex assets such as retirement assets, stock options and business assets, in a Pennsylvania divorce starts from a premise of equal sharing. In most cases, actual property division does not end up being equal. Pennsylvania’s divorce code lists several factors that can determine whether deviating from equal sharing is warranted. Our law firm helps clients through the use of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and other means of achieving equitable asset division.
Child Custody Lawyers in Philadelphia
We represent both mothers and fathers in custodial disputes. We also represent step-parents and grandparents, and sometimes other nonparents who have a stake in a child’s upbringing. We advise clients involved in paternity actions. We can help clients obtain emergency custody orders.
Child custody and visitation in Pennsylvania can be as creative as you need it to be. In some cases, one party will have primary custody while others have different arrangements. Another possible arrangement includes a 50-50 or a shared physical custody arrangement.
Once a custody arrangement is made, the expectation is that it will be maintained and followed. It is critical that you consult with an experienced attorney if you plan on moving to a different city or state, or if your child’s other parent is moving. Any relocation that impacts the custodial schedule needs court approval before relocating. There is a specific, step-by-step, legally required procedure you must follow before a parent relocates.
Child Support Lawyers in Philadelphia
For the vast majority of people, child support is determined by the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines, which provide a basic child support figure using a formula based on total income of each parent and number of children. Each parent’s obligation is a percentage based on income; however, support paid by high-income individuals involves a much more complicated process. Support modifications also become necessary as circumstances change.
Enforcement of Orders
When parents fail to meet their court-ordered custody and support responsibilities, they may be charged with contempt of court. To work through disputes, the court may assign a parent coordinator to work with the parents to resolve the problems without a judge and without the need of an enforcement order.
Unmarried Couples — Same-Sex Issues
We represent unmarried heterosexual and same-sex couples in a variety of family issues, including cohabitation and dissolution agreements. We have significant experience in dealing with these unique issues.
Support and Custody Modifications
Any custody or support orders in Pennsylvania are open to modification because they are focused on the rights of the child, not the parents. Modifications to support or custody orders can be made following a significant change in circumstances, increase or decrease in income or loss of employment.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Parties involved in Family law matters may choose to resolve their differences through nonjudicial means. The most common forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) include Collaborative Family Law, mediation and arbitration.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
With more people getting married later in life, or entering second and third marriages, people bring an accumulation of property into marriage. While that property is not a marital asset in Pennsylvania, the increase in value during the marriage can be. A prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement allows you and your future spouse to keep accumulated assets separate and to provide for a host of other issues.
Protection From Abuse
Charges of spousal or child abuse are sometimes made in the early stages of a domestic dispute. If your spouse has filed for a Protection Order (also called a restraining order ), or if you believe you need to file for such an order, you and your lawyer need the vision to analyze whether there are long-term implications to such an order. I can represent your interests in a domestic abuse situation, including helping you obtain an emergency custody order if necessary.
Contact a Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer Serving Southeastern Pennsylvania
Contact us at 215-967-9070.