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Berks County Family Law Blog

The most common reasons for getting divorced

Almost all marriages in Pennsylvania begin with an earnest effort to stay together with a spouse for a lifetime, but a variety of factors can cause a relationship to deteriorate over time. By surveying people who've experienced a divorce, the National Center for Biotechnology Information learned what the most common causes of separation are. At the top of the list was lack of commitment with 75 percent of respondents saying that it contributed to their divorce.

Lack of commitment was followed by a few other obvious factors, including infidelity, domestic violence and too much arguing and conflict. There were also some less glaring causes. Almost half of the people surveyed said that getting married too young was a major influence on their divorce. The average age of getting married has been steadily rising over the past few decades, which might explain why the divorce rate has dropped.

The child's best interest standard

When a family court decides who is going to get custody of a child, they consider a variety of factors. The first is parenting ability, meaning how well each parent is able to satisfy the physical and emotional needs of their children. Next, courts try to maintain as consistent of an environment routine for the child as possible. They also factor in safety and the child's age. Accounting for these factors is commonly known in courts in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country as the child's best interest standard.

Parents can demonstrate to the court that they have the best interests of their children in mind by providing attentive and loving care on a consistent basis. Enrolling kids in school and other activities, helping with homework and making a variety of parenting decisions can all help demonstrate this. Family court judges do not like situations where the child is unable to visit or live part-time with one of the parents.

Virtual visitation can make life easier on parents, children

As a parent going through a divorce, you may have questions about what will happen in the future regarding your relationship with your children. This is particularly true if you won't be living with your children.

Even though many things are sure to change, there are steps you can take to alleviate some of the stress and ensure that you still get to spend as much time as possible with your children.

Child support the top reason for wage garnishment in US

Around one in 14 workers throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation have their paychecks garnished, according to a recent study by the ADP Research Institute. However, the study finds that some demographics are hit with more wage garnishments than others.

The study analyzed pay data and wage garnishments on 12 million American workers. The types of wage garnishments included in the study were child support, bankruptcy, tax levies and general garnishments like consumer debt and student loans. The study found that 7 percent of American workers are subject to wage garnishment, but these garnishments are not equally proportioned across all workers. For example, 26 percent of men between the ages of 35 and 55 employed in large Midwestern manufacturing jobs have their wages garnished. These workers earn an average of $44,000 per year.

Preventing international parental child abduction

Abduction of a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, some divorced parents endure the additional nightmare of an international parental child abduction.

These types of abductions occur when a parent kidnaps a child and takes him or her outside of the country. Bringing internationally abducted child home can be a complicated and stressful process for a parent at home.

Child support: Decisions with long-lasting consequences

Most people don't derive pleasure from their divorces. Especially at first, it can be painful on a lot of fronts -- emotionally trying, socially straining and financially taxing -- but there are ways to control the damage and begin to create the life you want.

If you are a parent in the middle of a divorce, it is important to protect yourself and your money starting NOW, particularly when it comes to child support. Whether you expect to pay or receive support, it is crucial to have proper guidance when making legal agreements about payments; these decisions can affect you for MANY years and have a direct impact on your quality of life.

Common divorce mistakes: 5 things that could go wrong for you

Divorce is painful, and it can be messy -- emotionally, financially and socially. But there are things you can do to make the process less complicated and reduce your stress as you move through a difficult phase of your life.

It's a fact: You can avoid certain pitfalls with the right legal guidance. Or you can risk allowing one or more of these things to happen to you by making the wrong choices or opting for quick fixes to complex problems.

How immigration enforcement can change children's lives

While many people in Pennsylvania expect to consider child custody only in the case of divorce, emergency situations could bring custody matters to the surface in unrelated cases. The escalated immigration enforcement actions against undocumented people -- and alsome documented immigrants -- have led to children being left in the hands of grandparents and other family members if their parents are deported. Since the children in question are often U.S. citizens, their parents may want them to remain behind.

Of course, extended family situations are not limited to immigrants facing detention or deportation. Around 20 percent of all kids being raised by grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts or other extended family members come from immigrant backgrounds. These number more than 500,000 children across the country. Researchers have noted that if the harsh immigration policies continue, this number can also be expected to rise. When the new carers are also vulnerable to attention from immigration authorities, they may be hesitant to make their child custody arrangements known or seek assistance from social services.

Alex Rodriguez in child, spousal support dispute

Pennsylvania fans of baseball player Alex Rodriguez may have heard that he and his ex-wife are in a dispute over child and spousal support. Rodriguez currently pays her $115,000 per month to his former spouse.

The initial support agreement was supposed to be revised when Rodriguez retired from the MLB. While the now-retired star used to make $30 million a year playing for the Yankees, his income has since dropped to $3 million annually as a broadcaster. Meanwhile, his ex-wife has a masters in psychology as well as a new fiancé with whom she also has a child. Rodriguez has cited these as reasons why she no longer needs as much spousal support. Allegedly, she has several cars, three homes and millions of dollars.

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.

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