Divorce Mediation

Have you considered divorce mediation as a way of handling your divorce? Some couples agree on getting a divorce and agree on how to resolve the other claims, such as their property division. For such couples, our firm offers mediation. Our firm represents both the husband and the wife. We meet with both of you, where we gather the needed information. We then prepare the legal documents, for the wife and husband to sign. Those documents are then filed with the Court. There are no hearings in Court.

The advantages are numerous. First, we can answer any questions you have about the process and divorce law. Second, the needed legal documents are prepared correctly and efficiently. Third, the overall cost is usually far lower than if both of you hire separate lawyers. The husband and wife can each pay half, if they choose.

Feel free to contact our firm for more details.

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Written by Attorney Andrew Glasgow
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Separation: Losing the House

A common property division (or equitable distribution) question is whether I’ll lose the house if I leave it. The scenario is as follows. The married parties are still living together, but one of them wants to separate and leave the house (the marital residence). For the sake of this example, suppose the wife wants to leave. She is afraid that, by doing so, she will lose her marital interest in the house. She will not.

A Pennsylvania divorce court will typically divide the property that existed when the parties separated. If the parties own a house, two cars, some furniture, and a pension when they separate, these are the assets the court usually divides. If you have been separated for several years, the court will still usually look back at what property existed when the parties separated. Thus, leaving the house at separation does not remove it from the marital estate.

The practical effect of leaving the house, however, is that (in my example) the husband is more likely to get the house from the final property division. He continued residing there after wife left it. But, he is usually required to pay wife her share of its value (or give her another asset of equal value.)

If you want some clarity on how your property division is likely to play out, you are welcome to contact our firm.

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Written by Attorney Andrew Glasgow
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Post-Nuptial Agreements: What are they?

People frequently get confused over the difference between pre-nuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, separation agreements, and marital settlement agreements. What are the differences?

In Pennsylvania, a pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement entered into by two people before they get married. The purpose is usually to state what happens when the parties die and if the parties get divorced later. The agreement usually covers the parties’ respective assets, debt, and the issue of alimony.

A post-nuptial agreement does the same thing, except the parties enter into it after they get married. It is essentially a pre-nuptial agreement entered into after marriage. It is not entered into because the parties are about to get divorced.

A separation agreement is usually just a different name for a marital settlement agreement in Pennsylvania. The parties are getting divorced and want an agreement to divide their assets and debt, and to address how alimony will be handled.  Its focus is not what happens at death, but rather what happens right now as the parties get divorced. It can be used in place of the parties going to trial and having the court divide their assets and debt and rule on alimony.

Our firm can assist you with drafting any of these agreements. Beware of using form agreements from the Internet, as they may not comply with Pennsylvania law and usually are not tailored to your individual situation. They can also be poorly written, being hard for the court to interpret later or by not being comprehensive enough (that is, leaving something out). Our fees are low, and you can have peace of mind that your assets are protected.

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Written by Attorney Andrew Glasgow
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Property Division

Once you separate, you will need to divide your assets and debt–known as property division. Pennsylvania law requires an equitable division (i.e. a fair one). However, property divisions are not always 50/50. This division should be done sooner rather than later. If not addressed, debt can go unpaid, damaging your credit and increasing the debt with penalties and collection services.

An attorney usually helps the parties reach an agreement about the property division, an agreement which is reduced to writing. That document is then presented to the court to be converted into a court order. As you might expect, that court order is then enforceable. If one party later does not follow the property division, then the non-compliant party can be taken to court for compliance. The property division is usually concluded before the divorce decree is issued.

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Written by Attorney Andrew Glasgow
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