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Greensburg Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Key divorce pitfalls to avoid

It can be easy for divorcing spouses in Pennsylvania to make mistakes that cost them money. For some, it is because they have no formal financial education. At a minimum, an individual should create a balance sheet that lists their assets and liabilities. They should also be able to analyze a tax return, and an accountant or other adviser could assist the spouse in doing so.

When negotiating a divorce settlement, it's a good idea to consider one's financial situation both now and in the future. For instance, it could be worth thinking about what would happen if a job loss were to occur or some other unexpected expense were to come up. Parents should also be aware that the decisions they make could influence their children's view of money.

Alimony payments aren't just for men anymore

According to a study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, women in Pennsylvania and throughout the country are increasingly being asked to pay alimony. Of the lawyers surveyed, 45 percent said that the number of women paying spousal support had gone up in the past three years. Furthermore, 54 percent said that a larger number of women were paying child support. This is largely a consequence of females earning more money than they did in previous decades.

A Pew Research study found that 40 percent of families had a woman as the primary breadwinner. Although some ex-wives may be surprised about having to make alimony payments, it was ruled to be a gender-neutral issue by the Supreme Court in 1979. Furthermore, the concept of alimony has changed from being a lifelong source of income to a temporary one. In many cases, it is used as a bridge until an individual can return to the workforce.

Surprising reasons for gray divorce

People over 50 are getting divorced at higher rates than any other age group. There are several potential reasons for the dramatic increase in divorce rates among seniors in Pennsylvania, but researchers found some interesting trends when they interviewed individuals in this age group. Although the aging American population may play a role in the overall numbers, the findings were somewhat surprising.

Researchers speculated that because people in their 50s came of age in the era of hippies and social unrest, they might be likely to get divorced simply because the marriage was no longer fulfilling. They found out this was not the case at all. Rather, seniors were more likely to end the relationship because one spouse failed to meet the responsibilities they promised to the other. Marriages among people in this age group tend to end due to infidelity, emotional abuse, drug or alcohol use, mental illness or excessive spending.

Less than half of parents receive all child support owed

Pennsylvania parents know that child support agreements are one of the most important parts of a divorce settlement. However, according to the latest federal statistics, less than half of single parents receive all the child support payments they are owed.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are approximately 13.4 million custodial single parents in the U.S., and 48.7 percent of them have legal or informal child support agreements with the noncustodial parent. Of those child support agreements, 89.8 percent were formally arranged through the courts or a Title IV-D agency. Just over 10 percent of the agreements were informally negotiated between the parents. Meanwhile, 22.4 percent of custodial parents filed for some sort of government assistance while receiving child support payments.

Why children of wealthy families might want a prenup

Some wealthy Pennsylvania parents may want their children to sign a prenuptial agreement in order to protect the family legacy. However, their children might perceive this as an affront to their spouse-to-be and may resist doing so.

One way parents may avoid this is by bringing up the idea of a prenuptial agreement when their children are young adults, long before a potential spouse is in the picture. This shifts the focus to protecting assets and away from any particular individual. Parents may also want to frame the conversation towards their children making sure that when they have children of their own, there is still wealth to pass down to them.

Business and divorce can come hand in hand

Pennsylvania entrepreneurs can face the same challenges as everyone else when it comes to marriage; statistics show that almost 50 percent of marriages in the country end in divorce. However, business owners can also deal with unique challenges that are exacerbated by their responsibilities and commitment to their company. Some divorces can be related to an entrepreneur's ability to prioritize their marriage and their business. There are some specific conflicts that can arise among couples for whom entrepreneurship is important.

Finances can be one of the biggest strains on any marriage, often leading to divorce. When a business is struggling financially, it can be both stressful and distracting. This is especially true when one partner is less involved in or committed to the business than the other. The other partner may worry about sacrificing their financial future for the business, especially if the future of the business itself is uncertain. This highlights another key point of conflict: risk.

Steps for an estate executor

People in Pennsylvania who have been appointed executor of an estate might wonder what their duties are. The job of an executor is to locate the will and any other relevant estate planning documents, locate and protect assets, pay creditors and taxes, and distribute assets to beneficiaries. This is a significant responsibility, and an executor may want to work with an attorney throughout the process.

The will may be located with an attorney, in the decedent's files or in a safe deposit box. An executor will also need to order multiple copies of the death certificate. Credit cards should be cancelled and institutions notified about the person's death.

How your family business will be treated during your divorce

You may never have dreamed that you and your spouse would consider divorce, but that day has come. You feel overwhelmed just thinking about the process and are concerned about property division.

To complicate matters, there is the family business. Both you and your spouse had a vision that became a reality. What will happen to the business because of your divorce?

Estate planning can help avoid confusion and pain

Estate planning in advance can help to prevent later problems and complications for Pennsylvania residents after they pass away. The death of a loved one can, all too frequently, be accompanied by bitter struggles over the estate. By developing wills, trusts and other documents earlier in their life, people can help to make sure that their assets will be passed on in a way that reflects their wishes. When there is no will left behind, people can be left to debate the disposition of an estate. Resolving these complexities can be particularly important in families where ongoing disputes over money, businesses or other issues are a factor.

If people die without a will, they are considered to have died intestate and their assets will be distributed according to a statutory scheme that defines the percentages that should go to a surviving spouse, children and others. The distribution of the estate itself would take place after the probate process dealt with outstanding debts and the final tax bill of the deceased.

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