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Gettysburg Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

Parents could benefit from divorce mediation

By the time people in Pennsylvania decide to divorce, the marital relationship has often deteriorated beyond repair. In many cases, people decide to end their marriage after serious fights and incompatibilities about major issues like finances or parenting. Problems like infidelity and addiction are also major contributors to divorce. As a result, people may have a difficult time viewing themselves coming to an agreement about anything with their spouses. Still, many people also want to avoid an expensive and contentious divorce with raging disputes over child custody and finances.

This is one reason why many people can benefit from a more collaborative approach to divorce. Divorce mediation involves both spouses, as well as their family law attorneys, in a process that aims to achieve a successful settlement after the end of a marriage. After all, it may be too late for a positive marriage, but it is not necessarily too late for a positive divorce. This can be particularly important for parents, who will need to retain a co-parenting relationship for years and even decades to come. Reducing unnecessary conflict between parents can be important for the physical and psychological well-being of the children, who deserve both parents' involvement in their lives.

What grandparents should know about visitation lawsuits

The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild may be a strong one. However, grandparents in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may find that they have been denied visitation rights to their grandchildren. Grandparents who wish to sue for visitation rights to a grandchild need to consider the financial cost as well as the impact it could have on the entire family. Generally speaking, the cost of legal representation depends on the complexity of a given case.

A plaintiff who loses a child custody or visitation case may be required to pay the legal fees of the other party involved. It is also possible that the case returns to court in the future even if a grandparent is successful in obtaining visitation rights.

Family courts base custody decisions on best interests of child

Family law guides Pennsylvania judges when they make decisions on child custody cases. This could cover a wide range of issues. For example, safety represents a top priority when authorities review child custody petitions. Any indication that living with a specific parent could endanger a child may prompt a court to deny a request for custody or visitation.

Aside from threats of abuse or neglect, family courts want to confirm that parents have the resources to adequately meet their children's physical and emotional needs. All children need access to proper housing, food, clothing, health care and education. Courts will want to see evidence that a parent has a loving and supportive relationship with the child. For young kids, courts might favor primary caregivers who have had the strongest parental bond. Older children might get to express their wishes regarding custody to a judge.

What to do about a child's college education after divorce

Studies show that most families do not have a financial plan in case of divorce or the death of a spouse, so parents in Pennsylvania who get a divorce might be concerned about how they will pay for their child's college education. After a divorce, spousal and child support may need to take precedence over saving for college. However, with college costs continuing to rise, parents may also want to include provisions for these expenses in the divorce agreement.

Maintaining two households can be expensive, and families might have to scale down their expectations for college and look for scholarships and loans. If they already have a 529 savings plan, they may want to address its use in the divorce agreement. Withdrawals from a 529 plan are not taxable if they are used for education, but usually, one parent owns the account. That parent can change the beneficiary or account owner. In addition to specifying that the account should be used for education, parents may want to both have the ability to monitor it, or they might want to split it.

Infidelity: These signs often lead to divorce

When you got married, you undoubtedly felt that you could trust your new spouse with your life. While the two of you may have had a few differences in personality and perhaps may have even disagreed on numerous topics, you knew in your heart that this was the person you wanted to spend a lifetime with, raising a family and supporting each other as you work together to make your dreams come true.

It can be devastating to stay true to your vows only to wind up suspecting that your spouse has not done the same. There's a big difference between suspecting infidelity and proving it, however. Catching a spouse cheating is a common factor in many Pennsylvania divorces.

Studies show divorce risk higher when wives get ill

Couples in Pennsylvania might be more likely to get a divorce if the wife becomes ill. According to a study that appeared in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in 2015, the divorce risk increases only when it is the wife who gets sick.

This is supported by other research that has found a higher divorce risk for women who develop cancer. Furthermore, researchers at Purdue University and Iowa State University looked at more than 2,700 marriages and found heart problems and stroke were an even bigger predictor of divorce than lung disease or cancer, but only for women. One sociologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham reports that research also indicates that the health benefits men enjoy from marriage generally do not apply to women.

The dynamics of super-wealthy divorces

Corporate divorces usually don't generate much attention in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the country unless high-profile people are involved. One such individual is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, who announced plans to split from his wife of 25 years in early 2019. As the pair begins the process of dividing up assets estimated at nearly $140 billion, the buzz surrounding their spit has put a spotlight on the unique dynamics of high-asset divorces.

One noticeable difference in a divorce involving a wealthy couple is the nature of joint assets. Oftentimes, funds are in sizeable stock options. Asset division can also get complicated if there are things like rare collectibles or stocks held in overseas accounts that need to be assigned a specific value. The physical location of the couple also affects asset distribution. In this instance, the Bezoses reside in a community property state where assets are split in half. However, the exact distribution may vary based on who contributed what to marital assets.

Spouse attractiveness and divorce

When people in Philadelphia consider getting engaged, it is typically because they have fallen in love. The reasons why can often be hard to define, but romantic love is usually triggered by a mixture of physical attraction, emotional compatibility and similar interests. Of course, the feelings are not always lasting, which can sometimes lead to divorce.

In fact, a study indicated that if there is a significant gap in the perceived attractiveness of the spouses, there can be an increased risk of divorce. Specifically, if a man marries a woman who is significantly more attractive than he is, there can be a greater risk of her flirting with other men. In addition, there is some indication that less attractive spouses may become jealous and possessive, damaging the marriage.

Pennsylvania dads: joint custody is better for your children

The fact remains that having good relationships with dads is equally as important to children as their relationships with their moms. Both parents play unique and different roles to their children, which is why co-parenting even after divorce can create a positive situation for everyone.

However, for a multitude of reasons, dads don't seem to always get equal time with their kids. Sometimes one parent relocates a significant distance away from the other. If the divorce was particularly volatile, a mother's discontent with her ex may even cause problems in relationships between the children and their father.

Things to keep in mind to avoid co-parenting problems in divorce

There may have been one or multiple issues that led to your decision to divorce. Such issues may involve your children. In fact, many Pennsylvania spouses cite parenting disagreements as causal factors toward their marital break-ups. Getting divorced, however, doesn't guarantee that all your co-parenting problems will disappear. In fact, your divorce may spark new ones, especially if you have an uncooperative ex who refuses to adhere to the terms of your parenting agreement.

You can be proactive to protect your parental rights and your children's best interests. If you know where to seek support when problems arise, you are already ahead of the game. In addition to tapping into such resources as needed, you may want to keep several helpful ideas in mind as well.

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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