TO KEEP OR SELL THE HOME DURING A DIVORCE

Making a decision regarding the marital home in a Pennsylvania divorce can be an emotional experience for couples, especially if their children were raised in it. However, ending a marriage can have a major impact on a person’s finances, meaning retaining ownership of the home may not be financially feasible.

Before a person can refinance the mortgage, most lenders will need evidence of income. While alimony and child support can count as income, the person could need six months of receipt. Further, the person will need to have the cash for a down payment and have an appropriate credit score to be eligible for a loan. There are generally options for those who have a minimum credit score of 580, though the higher the person’s credit score the easier it is to refinance.

Further, the person who wants to retain ownership of the home should be prepared to buy out the former spouse’s portion of the home. This could potentially take a significant amount of time and would require the former spouse to have to wait. If the person cannot afford to do this, it may be in the person’s best financial interest to consider selling the home in order to find housing that is more affordable based on his or her new financial circumstances.

The divorce process is never easy, especially if the two parties are having trouble working together to come to a solution. The asset distribution process can be a particular point of contention, especially if one person is dead set on retaining ownership of the family home. However, if the other party is open to postponing the sale of the home so that the children can continue to have stability during the divorce, a family law attorney could draw up negotiations that allow the person to keep the home in exchange for other marital assets.

STRESS AND OTHER FACTORS CAN RESULT IN DIVORCE

When a Pennsylvania couple gets married, they most likely are not considering that a divorce could be in their future. However, there are certain factors that could ultimately cause a couple to end their marriage. Even though the divorce rate for younger couples has gone down, those who work in high-stress careers often have divorce rates that are higher than those who work in lower-stress positions.

Although stress can have an impact on most, if not all, married couples, those who work high-stress jobs, such as in the military, likely have additional factors that have an impact on their marriage. Some jobs, for example, require one spouse to be absent from home for days, weeks or even months, if not longer. Further, some careers can leave a spouse with mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, couples often find themselves getting married young due to the fact that a spouse could be deployed at any time.

Due to the numerous factors, military service members have the highest rate of divorce by the age of 30 with a divorce rate of 15 percent. Within this career, first-line enlisted military supervisors had the highest with a divorce rate of 30 percent. Automotive technicians, mechanics, and logisticians had the next highest divorce rates.

Many people believe that if it is time to get a divorce, they must go to court and litigate the matter. While this is certainly an option, there are other ways to go about ending a marriage. If the estranged couple can work together and there is no history of domestic abuse, their respective attorneys could assist in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that deals with the applicable legal issues and can then be submitted to the court for its approval.

DIVORCE COULD BE MORE LIKELY IF HUSBAND DOESN’T WORK FULL TIME

Pennsylvania couples might be fascinated by the results of a study on divorce that sheds light on how changing times and gender roles have played a part in divorce statistics. An analysis of 46 years of data shows that while a wife’s employment status is not a large factor in divorce, a husband’s is.

The Harvard professor who did the analysis found that divorce rates went up in the mid 1970s. An examination of married partners’ employment outside of the home revealed that contrary to what is sometimes believed, a woman’s having a job or gaining economic independence did not play a big role in divorce. What did matter though was the husband’s employment. Men who were not employed full time were more likely to get divorced than men who work full time.

A conclusion drawn from the research is that even as the number of women in the workforce increased, the expectation that the man be the primary breadwinner still continued. The study also considered housework and the willingness of each partner to do household chores, as well as the stigma of being divorced diminishing over the years.

The fact of times changing is often reflected in divorce negotiations when it comes to issues like alimony, child support and child custody. In the past, women usually were granted custody of children and men usually had to pay child support and sometimes alimony, depending on state laws. Today judges take into account the income of both spouses as well as many other factors when deciding on financial and child-related issues in a divorce. A couple could avoid having a judge decide matters for them by negotiating outside of the courtroom and attempting to reach an agreement with the assistance of their respective attorneys.

POLITICAL DIFFERENCES LEADING TO MORE DIVORCES

While finances are frequently a major cause of arguments in a marriage, a study by Wakefield Research found that in the six months after the election of President Trump, over 20 percent of couples said they had argued more about Trump’s policies than money. People in Pennsylvania may be among the 22 percent who said they knew a couple whose relationship was directly affected in a negative way by the election of Trump.

The survey by the Virginia-based polling group spoke to 1,000 people between April 12 and April 18. It found that 24 percent of couples said they had been experiencing more conflict about politics than they ever had before.

One New York divorce attorney said that she had been practicing law for 35 years and had never seen so many marriages ending because of politics. According to Wakefield, 22 percent of millennial couples and 10 percent of couples across all age groups had ended their relationship because of political disagreements.

Some relationships may end for reasons, such as political differences, that may indicate a significant difference in values between the two people. If there are children, each parent might feel that this difference in values makes the other person an unfit parent. However, it is important for parents to remember that a court is unlikely to view the situation in this way, and an attempt by one parent to argue that the other parent is unfit based on factors like this may have the opposite of its intended effect. Genuine reasons that may make a parent unfit for custody include a history of domestic abuse, substance abuse or something like military deployment that means the parent is frequently away. In other cases, mediation might help parents come to an agreement about child custody and

JESSE WILLIAMS’ DIVORCE: SORTING OUT THE DETAILS

Even the hottest of celebrity romances can come to an end, just like the relationship of any Pennsylvania couple. Jesse Williams, a star of “Grey’s Anatomy”, has filed for divorce from his wife of five years, Aryn Drake-Lee. The two dated for five years before they wed, and they met while Jesse was still a schoolteacher in New York City.

Like many couples dealing with the dissolution of a marital relationship, Williams and Drake-Lee are sorting out the details of their divorce. The split is reportedly amicable. However, there are still questions that could be challenging for any divorcing couple, especially those with children. Williams and Drake-Lee have two children, their 3-year-old daughter, Sadie, and their son Maceo, who is nearly 2 years old.

When Maceo was born, Williams and Drake-Lee were excited about becoming parents again together. Like all couples looking at a future of co-parenting, the two now need to determine custody, parenting plans and child support schedules that work for them and their children. Williams is requesting joint legal and physical custody.

Williams has also filed to terminate Drake-Lee’s spousal support. While their split is not rancorous, they were last seen together in public more than a year before the divorce filing.

Parents going through a dissolution of their marriage will need to wrangle with the division property as well as the deeply emotional issues of child custody and parenting plans. For families with a significantly higher earner, issues of spousal support may also be relevant to divorce proceedings. Because of the complications that come along with even the most amicable divorce, legal advice from a family law attorney can be a real benefit.

Buyout clauses aid the divorce process for business owners

The prospect of negotiating a prenuptial agreement often causes romantic partners discomfort. If the estranged Pennsylvania couple runs a business together in Pennsylvania, then the importance of discussing the possibility of split becomes even more important because a divorce could force the sale of the company. Whether the founders of a company are romantically linked or simply good friends, the preparation of a buyout agreement could head off future problems if disputes erupt.

When buyout clauses are included in the documents that set up a business, the partners establish rules for separating from the company if a relationship turns unpleasant. Without these guidelines, the partners could be left negotiating the division of business assets during an acrimonious time.

When a former couple cannot agree on terms, then a court might make the final decisions. For example, the squabbling between the estranged partners who founded TransPerfect resulted in a court ordering the sale of the company that employs 3,500 people. In another case, a woman who started an online diaper service lost the company in court to her ex-husband.

Someone who owns a business and wants to end a marriage could enlist the help of an attorney. Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, suggested by an attorney might allow a client to engage effectively with the estranged partner and come to terms about the divorce settlement. An attorney might also support the process of a collaborative divorce in which the parties along with their respective attorneys meet with accountants and other professionals to gain information pertinent to negotiating a reasonable resolution.

Increasing numbers of older Pennsylvania residents divorcing

The number of couples who are older and decide to divorce is increasing, but their divorce rate is still lower than that of younger couples. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the gray divorce rate has doubled since the 1990s. Gray divorces are those that involve a married couple who are at least 50 years old.

As of 1990, for every 1,000 married couples at or over the age of 50, five sought to end their marriage. In 2015, that number rose to 10 out of every 1,000 married couples. The divorce rate for individuals at or over the age of 65 increased even more drastically in this time frame. Between 1990 and 2015, the divorce rate for couples who were at least 65 went from about two couples per 1,000 to six per 1,000.

While divorces among older individuals has increased sharply, the divorce rate for younger individuals is still greater, and this is in spite of the fact that the divorce rate has fallen slightly for many in the under-50 age group. Likely due to the fact that people are putting off marriage until they are older, the divorce rate for couples between the ages of 25 and 39 fell by about 20 percent between 1990 and 2015.

One thing that couples of all ages should consider when they end their marriage is to go through mediation. When a divorce is litigated, matters are decided by a judge based on legal guidelines. However, this may not always provide the best outcome for a divorcing couple. In mediation, a neutral third party tries to get the estranged spouses to reach an accord on their own.

Divorce disputes over frozen embryos

Couples in Pennsylvania who are divorcing also have to decide what to do with their frozen embryos if they’ve been undergoing IVF treatments. Prospective parents usually sign a contract with the facility that stores their embryos that presents them with the choice of continuing to freeze the embryos or donating them in the event of a divorce. Divorcing couples can also choose to have them destroyed.

Estranged couples often disagree about the fate of their embryos. Further complicating the issue is the fact that there are few legal precedents and laws in place that advise divorcing couples about how the custody of their frozen embryos should be handled. Additionally, some of the contracts that IVF facilities make prospective parents sign may not even be legally binding. This can create a legal dilemma because courts generally take the position that a person should not be forced to become a parent against his or her will. However, courts will take into consideration whether the destruction of the embryos will end an individual’s opportunity to become a biological parent.

It is important that people keep up with the payments for storing their frozen embryos. In some cases, disputes over frozen embryos have gone on for years, and if a couple stops paying the storage fees, their embryos could end up being destroyed without them knowing.

Resolving a sensitive and emotional issue like the custody of frozen embryos through negotiation instead of litigation is usually the most effective course of action. Mediation is a civil method for deciding the fate of frozen embryos. In a collaborative divorce, a couple endeavors to come up with a solution that works for both parties. Litigation, on the other hand, is inherently an adversarial process and usually ends with one party winning and the other losing.

Options for your house in divorce

Pennsylvania couples may wonder what happens to large assets like a house when they get divorced. Deciding what to do with a house is a major legal and financial decision. Making the right decision allows the asset to retain most of its value. Making the wrong decision could be extremely costly for both spouses.

There are several options a divorcing couple has when it comes to a house that is used as their primary residence. A common one is for one spouse to buy out the other.

Another one is to sell the house and divide the proceeds of the sale. The risk here is that a considerable amount of the home’s value may be lost if the sale is not done carefully. The home will need to be sold before the divorce can be finalized. If the couple is in a hurry to complete the process, they may need to accept a price lower than what their home is worth in order to sell it quickly.

If neither the buyout nor the selling option is agreeable, then the couple may choose to accept joint ownership of the house. This option delays the financial decision, but it can cause problems later on. The owners will be divorced, but they will have to deal with the house at some point, and they will no longer have the legal structure and protections the divorce proceeding provides.

Choosing what to do with the house in a divorce is not any easy decision to make. It is nevertheless a critical part of the property division process, and family law attorneys will keep this in mind when negotiating these types of settlement agreements.

Social media faux pas can be damaging in a divorce

Many Pennsylvania residents share their cherished moments with others by posting videos, images and accounts of significant events on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Posting this kind of content can sometimes backfire badly if the individual concerned becomes embroiled in a bitter divorce. Angry spouses and savvy family law attorneys will often scrutinize social media accounts for uploaded content that contradicts claims of financial hardship or fidelity being made during asset division, child custody and spousal support negotiations.

Spouses who feel that they may be placed at a disadvantage by their online activity may seek to limit the damage by removing potentially embarrassing posts or deleting entire social media accounts. However, these efforts usually come far too late to do any real good. Individuals who are thinking of pursuing a divorce often begin preparing well in advance of filing any paperwork, and they may check emails, social media activity and financial records long before their spouse knows anything is amiss.

Even when sensitive online information is deleted before it can cause real damage, it may not really be gone. Several online resources archive websites. In some cases, Facebook friends or Twitter followers may have reposted or retweeted potentially inflammatory content and set off a chain reaction that even the most capable technology experts would find impossible to contain.

Social media posts sent out in anger can make reaching a negotiated settlement extremely difficult in a divorce case. When emotions are running high and divorcing couples appear headed toward a costly showdown in court, family law attorneys may suggest taking an alternative approach such as mediation or collaborative divorce.

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