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Divorce/Support


Bucks County Spousal/Child Support Lawyer

More experience means better results. Gallant, Parlow, & Lang, P.C. handles divorces in Bucks County ranging from simple cooperative/collaborative divorces to highly complex, asset intensive divorces. We also provides services regarding Bucks County child custody and visitation, alimony/spousal support and child support, post-divorce changes or enforcement of child support, custody or spousal support orders and violations of Marital Separation Agreements among other services.

While known for our experience and aggressive representation, we are also very cost effective and serves our clients with the highest ethical standards.  Whether your finances are simple or complex, being armed with accurate information will allow our Bucks County divorce lawyers to advocate for the financial security for you and your children.

Our first priority is the well-being of our clients. While we understands that divorce is the only option for some people, we makes every effort to explore all the options in keeping with each person’s circumstance.

An informed client makes the best decisions, so the attorneys at Gallant, Parlow, & Lang, P.C. keep you updated on the status of your case and any relevant changes in the law.

Types of Divorce in Bucks County

The Complaint for Divorce is the initial document filed with the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. It is in this document that the filing will request the court to terminate the marriage under certain specified grounds.

Every divorce case that is filed in the state of Pennsylvania and Bucks Conty must declare the grounds in which the divorce is to be granted. The grounds for divorce must be substantiated with evidence or testimony otherwise the court may dismiss the case. When you are petitioning the court for a divorce, or agreeing to a divorce, make sure that you completely understand the grounds and any potential legal repercussions.

No-Fault Based Grounds:

The court may decree a divorce where it is alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the date of filing or when the marriage is irretrievably broken and an affidavit has been filed alleging that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years.

Fault-Based Grounds:

The standard for fault-based divorces in Bucks County is normally very difficult to reach and, often times, very time-consuming.  The standards are:

1.  Committed willful and malicious desertion period of at least one year.
2.  Adultery.
3.  By cruel and barbarous treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse.
4.  Bigamy.
5.  Incarceration for at least 2 years.
6.  Offered such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome. (Citation:  Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes – Title 23 – Sections: 3301)

Separation:

In Pennsylvania there is no such thing as a legal separation. It is presumed that the date one files for divorce is the date of separation unless you can prove otherwise. In some rare cases, spouses can prove to be separated even if they live under the same roof. The amount of time you have been separated can be important in some cases if you are looking to obtain a quick divorce.

The “Traditional” Path for a Bucks County Divorce

In general, the most simple divorce in Bucks County moves along this steps:

1. Filing necessary papers in the office of the prothonotary in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.
2. Notifying the spouse by sending him or her a copy of the filed court papers via certified mail or process server.
3. Negotiating the marital property settlement.
4. Both spouses signing an agreement called an Affidavit of Consent.
5. Filing a form called a Praecipe to Transmit Record with the prothonotary.

To be eligible for the Mutual Consent Divorce, a couple must:

a) Meet the residency requirement (at least one spouse must be a resident for at least six months prior to filing).

b) Have no minor or dependent children, or be in accord about custody and child support, so that there is no need for a hearing.

c) Be in accord about the terms and conditions of the Marital SettlementAgreement.

d) Each sign an Affidavit of Consent.

While the procedure for a Mutual Consent Divorce in Bucks County is simple, the action requires a number of forms. Not all of these forms are required in all circumstances and some may be filed at the conclusion of the 90-day period.

Alimony/Spousal Support in Bucks County

In a Bucks County divorce, spousal support and alimony may be awarded or agreed to between the parties.  The dissolution of a marriage can have significant financial impact on one or both spouses.  This impact may leave one party unable to pay certain bills or to pursue effective legal representation.  Although alimony is not applicable to every divorce, it is considered when one party’s financial status will be impacted by the separation of marital finances.  The Bucks County divorce lawyers at Gallant, Parlow, & Lang, P.C. have extensive years of experience and will advocate for your financial security throughout the divorce process.  We will represent you post-divorce as well, if a change in circumstance requires a modification to the alimony order.

Title 23 of the Consolidated Pennsylvania Statutes allows for spousal support payments when the circumstances warrant them. Alimony or spousal maintenance payments can be incremental or made in one lump sum, and they can be indefinite or temporary. Many times spousal support will be ordered as a “rehabilitative” measure, allowing the dependent spouse some time to complete his or her education or otherwise obtain the financial footing that is needed to move forward independently.The explanations for each type of monetary award are:

Spousal Support in Bucks County  – Whether or not a divorce is pending, spousal support can be awarded if there is a separation.  It is determined by statutory guidelines and is generally awarded if one party is determined to be a “dependent spouse”, which generally includes an individual who is unemployed or has a disability.

Alimony Pendente Lite (also known as “Temporary Alimony”)- If a Bucks County divorce is pending, temporary alimony may be awarded.  It is based on statutory guidelines and is provided to provide the receiving spouse with the financial support necessary while the Bucks County divorce case moves forward.

Alimony in Bucks County– Alimony may be received after a divorce is finalized.  A former spouse may receive Rehabilitative Alimony, which is normally for a fixed-term and is set so that the receiving spouse may recover financially or to go back to school for an education to support themselves independently.  Permanent Alimony may be for a long time and sometimes until the death of the receiving spouse.  It is generally awarded if a spouse is unable to work due to age or disability.

Filing for Divorce and Support & Alimony

Alimony in Bucks County Explained

The Divorce Code at 23 Pa.C.S.A. 3701, which applies to all individuals in a Bucks County divorce, states that when a divorce decree has been entered, “The court may allow alimony, as it deems reasonable… only if it finds that alimony is necessary.”

Alimony does not have statutory guidelines.  Instead, there are 17 factors in Bucks County alimony.  To determine if alimony is reasonable and necessary the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas looks at the following:

(1)   The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
(2)   The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
(3)   The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
(4)   The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
(5)   The duration of the marriage.
(6)   The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
(7)   The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
(8)   The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
(9)   The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
(10)   The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
(11)   The property brought to the marriage by either party.
(12)   The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
(13)   The relative needs of the parties.
(14)   The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party.
(15)   The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
(16)   Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party’s reasonable needs.
(17)   Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.

If the court determines that alimony should be awarded, the judge may then decide the length of time that alimony will be received.  There are numerous factors (i.e. length of marriage) that a judge may consider when deciding length of alimony.  Finally, marital misconduct may be factored in to an alimony award.

Child Support in Bucks County

In Bucks County divorce cases, the financial security of your children is paramount importance.  In Bucks County, either one or both parents may be ordered to provide child support according to their ability to pay. Generally, the primary custodial parent receives the child support.  Many times, child support considers daycare expenses, extracurricular activity fees, summer camp, and other types of costs associated with raising children in and out of Bucks County.

Another consideration under the child support order is unreimbursed medical expenses.  These expenses are co-pays and costs not covered under your insurance coverage.  Orthodontia and vision care often times are expenses that are referenced within the confines of a child support order.

Pennsylvania and Bucks County law calculates child support using a specific formula.  For this reason, it is imperative that income is precisely and truthfully disclosed.  The factors for consideration set out by statute are: (1) the net income of the parents; (2) the earning capacity of the parents; (3) the assets of the parents; (4) any unusual needs of the child or the parents; and (5) any extraordinary expenses. Child support payments may be ordered to be paid through the Domestic Relations Section of the Bucks County Court. There are official, fairly rigid, child support guidelines available which recommend the amount of child support.  The monthly support determined from the guidelines is presumed to be correct unless there is a showing that the amount would be unjust of inappropriate under the particular circumstances of a case. Finally, the court may require that health insurance coverage be provided for any Bucks County child if it is available at a reasonable cost.

If you would like to determine your potential child support payments for your Bucks County child support case, you may do so at the PA Child Support Program or contact your Bucks County divorce lawyer.

Other Factors in Child Support in Bucks County

In Bucks County child support cases, if the obligor (the person paying the support) has significant custodial time with the child or has shared physical custody, a decrease in child support may be warranted.

Filing for Child Support in Bucks County

Either parent may initiate the filing for child support in a Bucks County divorce case.  This can be done by either filing a complaint for child support at the Bucks County courthouse or it may be requested through a Bucks County divorce complaint.  A child support conference or hearing will be scheduled at the Bucks County Courthouse in

Duration of Child Support in Bucks County

Child support is not discharged for a divorce or separation in Bucks County until the child turns 18 years of age or graduates from high school.  If the child is disabled, child support in Bucks County may continue past age 18.

Modification of Child Support in Bucks County

The amount of child support for a Bucks County case may be modified if there are a change in circumstances for the obligor (the person paying the support).  The change in circumstances must be significant.  General reasons for a decrease in child support in Bucks County include loss of a job, disability, or an increase in wages for the non-paying parent.  General reasons for an increase in child support in Bucks County include a wage increase by the obligor.

Generally, if a parent voluntarily leaves the workforce or reduces their hours, this reduction in wages will not be cause for a change in child support in a Bucks County child support case.

Consultations are Available

Time is vital in your Bucks County divorce. Call me now to arrange a consultation to discuss assets, custody, support, and more. If you are a Bucks County resident and are ready to get representation in your divorce, do not delay. Call me at (215) 639-4400.

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