Posts Tagged ‘divorce lawyer reading pa’

Spotlight Issue: Social media and family law

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

You may not realize the significance of social media posts in your Berks County family law case until it is too late. For that reason, think before you post! Having a social media presence is expected and common these days, but when you’re embroiled in a contentious custody, divorce or support case, what you post on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other sites, could negatively impact your chances of success.

Let’s examine some possible scenarios.

You’ve made an argument in domestic relations that your support obligation should be reduced because your hours were cut at work. But, the week before your modification hearing, you post pictures on Facebook of the new vehicle that you just purchased. The attorney for your ex brings those pictures to the conference officer’s attention and argues at the conference that your support obligation shouldn’t be reduced because there obviously hasn’t been a significant change in your circumstances. The conference officer agrees and recommends to the judge that the support order not be amended.

You’ve filed a petition asking the court to grant you more custodial time with you children. However, the last 3 weekends that you’ve had your children, you hired a babysitter to stay with them and went out with your friends. You also posted pictures on Instagram while you were out. The attorney for your ex brings those pictures to court and argues that you aren’t taking advantage of the time that you currently have with your children and that modifying the custody schedule would not be in the best interest of your children. The judge denies your modification request.

You’re in the middle of a difficult divorce and negotiations have been ongoing. Your attorney tells you that you are finally getting close to a resolution and it looks like you’re going to end up keeping the marital residence, which is what you really want. Late at night you decide to write a tweet talking about karma which is obviously about your ex even though you don’t mention any names. You get a call from your attorney the next day that the deal is off.

How can you prevent the above situations from happening? Well, aside from the obvious answer of not making the posts in the first place, we have a couple of tips to keep in mind. Be sure that all of your social media accounts have high “privacy” settings so that strangers can’t access your pages. Remember that social media posts and text messages are very easily preserved and can be used against you in court. Be aware that social media posts can inflame emotions and make negotiations in Berks County family law cases more difficult. If you’re questioning whether it’s a good idea to post something, it probably isn’t.

The scenarios we’ve discussed may seem extreme and obvious, but similar situations are not uncommon and it’s important to think about how something you post on social media could affect your own case. If you’re already involved with divorce, support or custody case in Reading, PA or are about to be, it’s important for you to have a Berks County family law attorney who pays attention to the details of your case. Contact our knowledgeable attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@enmlaw.com.

Spotlight Issue: New tax law will affect alimony deduction

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

The new tax law makes many changes to the existing tax structure, but for our purposes we will only discuss the one which clearly impacts Berks County family law clients: the removal of the alimony deduction.

Alimony is a regular payment made to a spouse during the pendency of a divorce (alimony pendente lite) or a payment scheduled put in place after a divorce is finalized. Alimony can be part of a prenuptial agreement or a marriage settlement agreement or it can be ordered by a judge following a hearing. The purpose of both types of alimony is to place spouses on equal financial footing for some period of time. The amount of alimony pendente lite is generally determined by statutory guidelines, just as with child support. Alimony, on the other hand, is a discretionary award and the court uses statutory factors to determine the amount. The amount of time that alimony will be paid is also determined by the court. Some relevant factors considered by the court in determining amount and length of time for payments are length of marriage, earning capacity of each party, assets of each party and the degree to which one spouse has contributed to the education and career of the other spouse.

So, while there are a variety of factors that determine amount of alimony and alimony pendente lite awards, all payors and payees followed the same tax rules regarding these payments: recipients included the payments as income and payers could claim the money as a deduction. However, for all divorces commenced after December 31, 2018, these tax rules will cease to exist. The person paying alimony can no longer claim it as a deduction and the person receiving alimony will no longer need to include it as income. This change will not affect anyone with a current alimony award. This will bring the the tax rules for alimony in line with the rules for child support although the discretionary aspect of alimony prevents the two forms of support from being equal.

Some experts fear that the loss of a deduction for the person paying the alimony will lead to a reduction in agreed upon alimony awards. Only time will tell whether or not that is the case. However, this is certainly something that should be discussed with your divorce attorney and it will undoubtedly become a more pressing issue as the December 31, 2018, deadline gets closer.

If you have questions about how the new tax law could affect your Berks County divorce case, contact our knowledgeable Reading, PA divorce attorneys at 610-372-5128 or info@enmlaw.com.

Legal Update: Reduced waiting period in Pennsylvania for no-fault divorces

Friday, December 30th, 2016

There is a new answer to the question “How long do I need to wait for a no fault divorce in Pennsylvania?” Since 1988, Pennsylvania law has required that, unless both spouses are consenting to a no-fault divorce, the parties must be separated for a period of 2 years and the court must make a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken before the court will allow the divorce action to move forward. Governor Tom Wolfe recently signed a law which reduces that waiting period from 2 years to 1 year. This change will take effect in 60 days (December 2016). Proponents of the change argued that the 2 year waiting period was unnecessary and didn’t benefit anyone, least of all any children involved. Further, they argued that the long waiting period allowed manipulative spouses to maintain control over the other spouse who wished to move on. Opponents to the bill believed that the shorter waiting period simply made it easier to obtain a divorce and reduced the time that a dependent spouse could receive certain benefits during the pendency of the divorce.

It’s important to remember that a divorce isn’t automatic at the end of the 1 year waiting period; the non-consenting party can still object and argue that the parties haven’t been separated for a year or that reconciliation is possible. However, it allows the court to address the issue in a shorter period of time. Also remember that if both parties are consenting to the divorce, there is still only a 90 day waiting period before the divorce action can move forward. The new 1 year waiting period only applies to periods of separation which begin after December 2016.

This change comes on the heels of a bill signed by Governor Wolfe in April of 2016 which makes allowances in the divorce laws for victim of domestic violence. If one spouse has been convicted of a personal injury crime against the other party then the court will presume consent to the divorce. In addition, if there is an active Protection from Abuse Order in place or the abusive spouse has been convicted of committing a personal injury crime against the other (or admitted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Program) then the victim spouse can file an objection to the court-ordered counseling which can be ordered in a contested divorce.

If you’re considering filing a divorce in Berks County or if you’ve been served with divorce papers already, contact our experienced Reading, PA divorce lawyers today at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@enmlaw.com.

Spotlight Issue: Division of Assets – Prenuptial Agreements

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

A prenuptial agreement is a way that couples can address division of assets in case of divorce. These agreements are generally governed by the law of contracts and the validity of prenups is specifically discussed in 23 Pa.C.S. Sec. 3106.

A prenuptial agreement is signed before the wedding. While we traditionally think about prenups being used when there are large amounts of money or businesses at stake, prenups can also be useful for second or subsequent marriages when there are children that need to be provided for from a previous relationship. A prenup can be written to include anything that the couple wants.

Pennsylvania court used to consider the fairness of prenups when determining enforceability, but that is no longer the case. Sec. 306 states that the party looking to set aside the agreement must show that one of the following is true:

– the complaining party did not sign the agreement voluntarily (fraud or force was used); or

– prior to signing the agreement, the complaining party was not given a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party and the complaining party did not waive in writing a right to a complete disclosure and the complaining party did not have adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party

If no prenuptial agreement is in place, then Pennsylvania’s laws on division of assets will apply. It is difficult to invalidate a prenup in Pennsylvania, so it is in your best interest to make sure that all of your rights are protected before you sign.

If you are considering using a prenuptial agreement for your marriage or need to have an agreement that given to you reviewed, contact our Berks County family law and divorce attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@enmlaw.com.

ENM Law News: Multiple No-Fault Divorces Completed This Month

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

We can typically complete a no-fault divorce in as little as 4 – 5 months as long as both parties are in agreement with the proceedings.  If you have a no-fault divorce that you need finished quickly, contact our divorce attorneys today.