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Berks County Divorce Law Blog

Dividing an art collection in a divorce

If a divorcing Pennsylvania couple has an art collection, dividing it may be complex. In several high-profile divorces, what happened to the art collection become a major point of contention.

There are a number of potential issues. For example, a person going into a marriage with a significant collection might want a prenuptial agreement. However, in one case, the prenup was thrown out because it was written in German, and the spouse who signed it could not read German at the time. Another issue is record keeping. While a bill of sale might list one spouse as the buyer, what is actually more important is where the funds came from and whether it was a joint account. Art may need to be appraised, but different appraisers may have wildly different figures. One attorney who works on such cases has pointed out that the only way to truly determine the value of a piece of artwork is to sell it.

How to jumpstart a conversation about prenuptial agreements

You have found the love of your life, and you are looking forward to tying the knot and spending the rest of your life together. Divorce is probably the last thing on your mind, but you may need to consider the fact that something could go wrong with your relationship in the future.

Since divorce is possible, it makes sense to consider creating a prenuptial agreement before your wedding day. If this is something you want, it's important to discuss the agreement with your soon-to-be spouse.

Child support arrearages may hurt credit

When people in Pennsylvania fail to keep up with child support obligations, it can impact their ability to qualify for a mortgage. Delinquent child support, also referred to as child support arrearages or back child support, can harm the person's credit and make it more difficult to secure loans. People who are interested in purchasing homes should know that not every loan program will disqualify borrowers who owe back child support, but high monthly payments may impact qualifying ratios, and loans backed by the government are generally stricter about back child support.

Typically, if a person's credit score is sufficient to get a bank loan or other non-government loan, he or she is unlikely to be disqualified for owing back child support. Mortgage applicants are usually required to list the amounts of current support obligations and any extra payment to cover delinquent support.

Financial recovery from "gray divorce"

An increasing number of older Americans in Pennsylvania and across the country are considering divorce. Since 1990, the divorce rate for people age 50 and older has doubled, a trend that shows all signs of continuing. This has taken place even as the same rate has flattened out or even declined for younger Americans or across demographic groups as a whole. While people in remarriages and those who have been married for a shorter period of time are most likely to divorce, "gray divorce" can impact even couples who have been together for decades.

Dividing retirement funds can be a significant part of divorce at any age, but it can be particularly important for people at or near retirement age themselves. Those savings and investments were often made with the idea of being shared, and planning two retirements on the same amount of money can be far costlier. In addition, people have less time after the divorce is finalized to rebuild their accounts for their retirement. It is possible to divide assets and come out successfully on the other side of divorce, and planning for the financial changes to come can help people do so.

Important questions about modifying your child support

As you pay child support, month in and month out, you recognize that you're doing something that betters the life of your child or children. You may also realize that these payments are taking a toll on your financial wellbeing.

If you become unable to make child support payments in the future, perhaps because of a medical problem or job loss, you have the legal right to request a modification. A modification is a change to an existing court order.

Reasons to have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Pennsylvania couples who are planning their marriages might want to consider a prenuptial agreement, and they might want to think about a post-nuptial agreement if they are already married. While it may be impossible to imagine a divorce before even getting married, a prenup can actually strengthen a relationship and can protect people later if the marriage falters.

Financial issues and poor communication are two of the main reasons that marriages end in divorce. Creating a prenuptial agreement forces people to communicate effectively about finances. Some of the topics that a prenup might address include how assets and debts will be split in divorce, who owns what property, and whether alimony will be paid. Issues regarding child support or custody cannot be addressed in a prenup.

Some advantages of shared custody

If a parent in Pennsylvania seeks sole physical custody during a divorce but a judge decides to grant joint custody, the parent may struggle with that decision. However, there are some advantages to sharing custody. Parents may remind themselves of these advantages, and in some cases, they might even consider sharing custody as a result.

Joint custody creates a predictable schedule for parents. This is not a reason to seek custody, but it can be helpful for parents who want to take time to have coffee with a friend or work on other projects. It can be difficult for parents to adjust to not having children in the home all the time, but when children are with the other parent, there may be opportunities to pursue an exercise program or other activities. Joint custody may even make it easier to date. With joint custody, a parent may also have more opportunity to pursue education or build a career.

Divorced parents can work together for the kids

When parents in Pennsylvania decide to divorce, it can be an exciting and difficult time to navigate the transition to co-parenting. While non-parents can move on from their former spouses, divorcing parents need to remain connected in order to support their children together. Sometimes, the hardest part of co-parenting is establishing that relationship while the divorce itself is in progress. When parents keep some key tips in mind, they can help to set up a framework for long-term cooperation.

In general, parents choose to divorce one another, not their children. Both parents want to remain active in their children's lives, and this is important to show the kids that they are loved by their parents. Children will also feel less insecurity and stress about the divorce when they continue to receive strong support from both of their parents. In fact, co-parenting successfully can make the entire divorce process less conflict-oriented.

What parents need to know about child custody

Separating from a partner is never easy, and couples in Pennsylvania with children will have additional considerations when a divorce takes place. They need to decide who will receive physical and legal custody of the child. When a couple cannot agree on how custody will be divided, it typically becomes necessary to meet with a judge who can determine where the child will live.

When a couple meets with a judge regarding child custody, they will have only a short amount of time to make their statements and arguments. One judge may see several families in a single day, which means that each person involved will need to speak quickly and precisely when presenting their custody requests.

Planning for success in school after a divorce

Starting school again after a long summer break can be difficult for some children in Pennsylvania. However, emotions are especially heightened when a child is dealing with a divorce during the same period. At the same time, transitions can bring about a great opportunity for kids to shift their goals and expectations. Divorced parents should ideally work together to help their kids establish goals for the year and learn to deal with uncomfortable situations. By setting expectations, kids will find it a lot easier to adjust.

A new school year comes with a lot of expenses, including supplies, clothes, fees and payments for sports and extracurricular activities. Divorced parents need to decide how each of these expenses will be split up so that there is no conflict about the issue later. The easier it is for a child to get all the supplies they need, the less overall stress they will experience.

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