Laws set the ground rules for how we operate as a society. Because every state has its own laws, each state also has its own persona or brand if you will. It's a characteristic that can even filter down to the city level, which is why Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love.
The best interests of the children are the standard by which the courts in Pennsylvania and all other states have adopted to guide decisions when it comes to child custody and visitation issues in divorce.
Joyce Craig died in December leaving behind an extended family and two children; a teenage son and a toddler daughter. She died doing her job as a Philadelphia firefighter. In the wake of her tragic death, the first of a female firefighter, city leaders declared her a hero and pledged to do all they could to support the family. But family members say they're still waiting for some solace and recovery.
Mention the name Henny Youngman today and only a very few people in Pennsylvania are likely to know who you're talking about. Chances are good that they are all over 50. Youngman was a 20th century comedian who was famous for one-liners such as, "Why do Jewish divorces cost so much? They're worth it." And, "Take my wife, please!"
Just a couple of generations ago, the average family dynamic was quite a bit different from what it is today. If you had a question about what to wear or how to take care of your clothes, you asked your mother. If you had money questions, the general rule of thumb might be father knows best.
There can be a great deal of value for a couple to have either a pre- or post-marital agreement in place as a means of protecting personal assets in the event they go their separate ways. Whether the couple is heterosexual or of the same sex, individuals these days often bring a lot of personal assets with them into the union.
Why don't more people go through the process of assembling an estate plan and keeping it up to date? This question is perhaps one for the ages. The reasons why a person or a couple should have a plan have been pretty well documented and spelled out in a lot of forums, including this blog. But still there are a lot more people without estate plans than there are with them.
Divorce isn't something couples pursue when everything is going right. As we noted in a previous post, physical issues can degrade relationships to the point of divorce. The reasons why aren't fully understood, but what some research suggests is that the risk of divorce is higher for wives who contract some serious illness later in life.
No one can stop the aging process. We all get older. Some may maintain the mental acuity that's needed to make decisions and fulfill the obligations of life right to the end, but often that clarity erodes. Before that happens and some loved one or some person you don't trust is tapped unexpectedly to start making decisions on your behalf, assigning power of attorney seems to just make sense.