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Berks County Divorce Law Blog

Miguel Cabrera sued for child support

Berks County baseball fans might be interested in learning that Miguel Cabrera, a slugger with the Detroit Lions, has been sued by a woman in Orlando for allegedly failing to pay her enough child support for two children who he fathered with her. Cabrera, who has been married to his wife since 2002, reportedly fathered the two children with the Florida woman in 2013 and 2015. He has three children with his wife as well.

According to court documents, the woman claims that Cabrera helped her to purchase a home with a mortgage of $924,744. After helping her to purchase the home, Cabrera reportedly reduced her child support payments to $6,400 per month. He has paid her child support since 2013.

Hidden assets, division of property and sharing information

Pennsylvania is not a community property state, so property is not split 50/50 in a divorce as it might be in a state like California. One California woman was concerned because although she had been the main earner for around a decade, her husband wanted the entire home and half of her 401(k) in the divorce. He also was sharing information about her finances with his sister. The woman suspected that he was also hiding assets.

In any state, an individual may be able to draw social security benefits on an ex-spouse's earnings. The person drawing benefits must remain unmarried, and the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years.

Former actress granted full custody of daugher

Berks County, Pennsylvania, residents may have heard of Audrina Patridge from her time on the television show "Hills." On Oct. 6, she was awarded full custody of her 15-month-old daughter as well as the former couple's dog. The father is allowed to have visitation with the child, but she must be picked up at a police station due to a restraining order. Other conditions of the divorce include that Patridge must pay her former husband $35,000 for work done on a home that they used to share.

As a stipulation of the child custody ruling, the former couple must take part in a program called Talking Parents. The purpose of the program is to record their communications. Patridge reportedly filed for a temporary restraining order as well as protection against the child being abducted two days prior to filing for divorce. This was supposedly done because she was worried about how her former husband would react to the divorce filing.

What to do if one spouse seizes assets

People in Pennsylvania who notice unusual financial activity from a spouse may wonder whether that spouse is planning for divorce. For example, one man's wife took the $90,000 they had both received from a house sale plus the $40,000 she got after losing her job and used it to open an account in her own name. The man asked that the money be returned to their joint accounts or that his name be added to the account, but the woman would not do either.

The man's spouse might have done this because he was irresponsible with money. However, a person who is in a similar situation might want to talk to an attorney about what steps to take if it appears the spouse may be considering divorce. One step may be to document all communication regarding the money. The person might also want to talk to the bank about how the money might be retrieved.

Majority of wage garnishees are men

Companies in Berks County often have their hands full processing wage garnishments when they do payroll. A study produced by the ADP Research Institute examined payroll records and identified trends in wage garnishment. These court orders that require collections of child support, back taxes or other debts directly from paychecks overwhelmingly affect men. Among people having their wages garnished, 71 percent of them are men. Child support is the leading cause of these types of court orders.

Wage garnishments strike most often to people between 35 and 54. The institute's data analysis showed that 62 percent of people with payroll deductions fell into this age group. Different industries have different levels of employees with debt obligations. Wage garnishments apply to 26 percent of men between the ages of 35 and 55 who work at large manufacturing companies in the Midwest. Service sector companies might have as few as 7 percent of their workers affected by garnishments.

Protect yourself before getting married again

Divorce is often such a difficult experience that those who go through it swear they'll never get married again. However, for many individuals, the first marriage leaves them wanting to do better with another partner, to try and improve on past mistakes.

Getting remarried after a divorce is very common, but it doesn't make the matter any less risky. If you are considering getting married again, be sure that you take proper steps to protect yourself and learn from the divorce you've already weathered.

Dividing marital property fairly in a high-asset divorce

Pennsylvania residents going through the divorce process will want to negotiate an equitable division of marital assets to protect their future financial health. Even when they work diligently to achieve this, however, they may overlook certain things that can actually result in an unfavorable division.

The first thing to remember is that not all assets have equal value. In a high-asset divorce, the parties might negotiate the different types of accounts each person will keep. These could include checking accounts and retirement accounts. For example, there may be a 401(k) account worth the same as a checking account. In the division, this might seem like an equitable division if each person gets one of the accounts. However, there are tax implications that would show differently. While the money in a checking account can be used without being taxed, the money in a 401(k) will be taxed as income if it is withdrawn early.

How parents can resolve custody matters jointly

Pennsylvania estranged parents don't necessarily need to go to court to resolve their child custody issues. Instead, it may be possible to do so through informal negotiations or through alternate dispute resolution methods such as mediation or collaborative law. In many cases, child custody issues are resolved before it becomes necessary to ask a judge to make a ruling. In fact, parents may be able to resolve a child custody matter without the need for attorneys.

It is important to note that informal talks or other alternate methods generally work best if parents are willing to negotiate in good faith with each other. However, for those who are willing to work together, it may allow each person to take an active role in the talks. It may be necessary for parents to at least try to negotiate between themselves before a judge will agree to issue a ruling.

Importance of consistent rules between parents' homes

Pennsylvanians who are getting divorced should focus on helping their children to deal with the situation in healthy manners. As children are very dependent on structure, it is important for parents to try to determine in advance what rules they will have in each of their homes for the children.

If parents are able to establish similar rules in both of their homes for their kids, the children may feel more secure. Parents may want to make consistent rules in both homes for such things as bedtimes, video game use, and homework. If one parent feels adamant about a specific rule that the other parent does not want, the parent who feels strongly about the importance of the rule might give in on another rule in exchange.

Handling a difficult co-parenting situation after a divorce

Some Pennsylvania parents who are divorced may be struggling to co-parent with a difficult ex-spouse. As long as these struggles are not related to issues such as addiction and abuse and instead have more to do with ongoing conflict between parents, there may be steps that can be taken to improve the situation.

Focusing on the child is the first step. The parent should remember that the child's well-being should be the first priority and refuse to engage in rehashing issues that led to the divorce. Several strategies may help with this. One is only communicating with the other parent about issues that involve the child. Parents should create firm boundaries around their personal lives and avoid sharing this with a former spouse. It may also help to understand what tends to upset the other parent. Having this information means a person can avoid or at least prepare for conflict.

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