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Gettysburg Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

Common mistakes divorcees make

As anyone who's been divorced in Pennsylvania will testify, when people go through a divorce, it is very rarely the case that they are prepared for it. To begin with, divorce is a very emotional process that brings about the end of what was supposed to be a lifelong arrangement. Furthermore, when there are children involved, they usually don't respond well to having their lives as they know it upended.

Consequently, couples who are going through a grueling divorce are liable to make several mistakes. A case in point is how some soon-to-be divorcees can, whether out of sheer exhaustion or a pressing need to get the proceedings over and done with as fast as possible, overlook important details, such as support payments, shared costs and so on.

Modern judges scrutinize alimony regulations

In Pennsylvania, some lawyers have noticed that courts are trending toward awarding alimony payments to men. A survey conducted at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed that 45 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys observed growing legal trends of bestowing alimony obligations on divorced women instead of men. More mothers are also accountable for making child support payments than they were in the past.

Today, more women have jobs with higher salaries, and more men have jobs paying lower salaries. It does not matter to the court whether the man had previously supported the woman during a lengthy marriage: A decision about alimony is made based on the amount of income a parent currently earns. Pew Research has indicated that mothers in today's workforce earn higher incomes in 40 percent of American families. Although awarding alimony payments to men is still in its beginning stage, granting alimony rights to men continues to increase.

Missing assets in divorce? Bitcoin may be to blame

Splitting up assets can be a difficult task when you have been married for quite some time. Unlike couples whose marriages only lasted a few years, your property is likely tightly integrated with that of your soon-to-be ex. In these situations, hiding assets is not uncommon.

In the past, people in Pennsylvania might have stored money in hidden accounts or temporarily gifted valuable property to friends or loved ones. Although not necessarily easy to track down, these are all measures you can track through paperwork or other measures. With digital currency, finding hidden assets is not so easy anymore.

National statistics show reality of U.S. child support

For many single parents in Ohio, child support can be critical to covering the basic educational and medical needs of their children. These funds often help parents to make ends meet, and contrary to stories about high-profile celebrity cases, the funds that they receive are often the bare minimum. The U.S. Census Bureau tracks facts about child support across the country, and the results may be surprising to many. Among the statistics maintained by the bureau are the number of single parents receiving child support, how much is owed and how much is actually paid each year.

While there are 13.4 million single parents with custody of their children across the country, only a minority receive child support payments. Less than half of them - 48.7 percent - have a child support agreement in place with the non-custodial parent. Of the parents who do receive child support, the vast majority have formalized their agreement through the family courts or a state agency.

College costs complicate divorce negotiations

Whether a couple in Pennsylvania has already saved money for their children's college education or not, the decision to divorce could impact the ability to pay. The marital income that once covered the costs of one household will switch to paying for two households. In addition, judges will prioritize child support for minor children or spousal support above setting aside money for college. However, parents can work with financial advisers to build an educational payment plan.

To save money, an education strategy may have to move away from more expensive schools. The College Board calculated that families currently pay an average of $46,950 per year to send someone to a private college. A public institution, however, charges a family an average of $20,770 per school year. Due to high educational costs, a spouse cannot expect a court to impose the expense on another parent in the absence of sufficient income.

When a shift in careers leads to divorce

Pennsylvania marriages that start off with the husbands and wives in more traditional roles and then shift to situations in which the wife earns as much or more than her husband may be less stable than those that began on equal footing in the first place. This was the finding of Swedish researchers who looked at the effect of career success on women in marriages.

There are several reasons why these marriages may fail. For example, some husbands become resentful when their wives start making more money than they do and react by becoming controlling. In other cases, a husband may welcome the opportunity to cut back on his own work hours since that income is no longer needed, but he may not pick up the slack when it comes to the child care duties and household chores that his wife took care of when her career was less demanding. The resulting resentment may lead to a couple divorcing.

Wealthy children are often asked to sign prenuptial agreements

Pennsylvania residents may think about celebrities and business magnates when prenuptial agreements are mentioned, but these documents are also often signed at the request of wealthy parents who want to protect family fortunes. Prenuptial agreements can strengthen relationships by removing uncertainties over money, but they should be approached with care. Discussions about important financial matters can turn into vitriolic arguments when these issues are handled less than diplomatically, and resolving things amicably may be impossible once emotions have been roused and tempers have flared.

Financial planners may encourage wealthy parents to broach the subject of prenuptial agreements before their children enter into long-term relationships. Parents who raise these issues after wedding plans have been announced may be accused of interfering, or their genuine concerns for their children could be taken as signs of mistrust or suspicion. Discussing family estates and the steps that should be taken to protect them relatively early allows these conversations to be about general financial matters rather than a prospective husband or wife.

Using social media wisely during your divorce

As you and your spouse go through your divorce proceedings, you will have many decisions to make. Hopefully, you will be able to arrive at agreeable terms for many of those issues without stressful disputes that can further break already damaged relationships.

Achieving a balance for child custody, property division and other areas without a court order requires open communication and cooperation. One issue you and your spouse may wish to discuss early in the process is how you will manage your use of social media during this sensitive time.

Divorce for business owners requires accurate business valuation

The private owner of a business in Pennsylvania will encounter challenges when dividing assets during a divorce. The valuation of a business generally requires an assessment by an appraiser knowledgeable about business accounting. The final figure assigned to the business could influence settlement distributions and child or spousal support amounts.

A valuation professional will examine financial records, business assets, income and the how the market could impact future earnings. An appraiser might also tour business operations and meet with managers to gain a better understanding of the state of affairs. In some cases, a business owner might attempt to conceal value by hiding income or exaggerating expenses. The desire to reduce a payout to an ex-spouse motivates deceptions of this nature. An independent appraiser might spot these tricks and avoid being misled.

How to value a company in a divorce

For those who get divorced in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, their company could be their biggest asset. Therefore, it is important to know how much it is worth to ensure that a fair settlement can be reached when dividing it at the end of the marriage. Knowing how much the company is worth can also be useful if one person has to buy out the other as part of a settlement.

It is critical for business owners to find out what their company should be valued at. There is no room for guessing or estimating; an independent appraiser should be hired to complete this task. This is usually a good idea even if the other spouse is transparent about how much money the company makes, what its liabilities are and what it could make in the future.

Law Office of
Katrina Luedtke LLC

Law Office of Katrina Luedtke LLC
43 West Middle Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-253-9951
Fax: 717-420-2151
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