Berman & Asbel, LLP

March 2016 Archives

Moving from separation to divorce when children are involved

One psychoanalyst and author who works with children and divorcing parents tells couples who are contemplating divorce to be mindful of their actions as parents who are trying to do right by their children can cause more problems by prolonging a separation. Pennsylvania parents who are facing the end of their marriages could help minimize negative results for their children by making decisions and being upfront with their offspring.

Wills may lead to family disputes

Preparing a will isn't necessarily a sure-fire way to maintain peace among a Pennsylvania testator's beneficiaries. In some cases, parents whose inheritance terms demonstrate favoritism may actually contribute to disputes. One poll reports that 44 percent of all will disputes are caused by siblings who believe they have been treated unfairly. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that between 1995 and 2010, the amount of parents who didn't create equal inheritances increased by more than 200 percent.

Celebrity divorces can be instructive

While every couple going through a divorce faces different circumstances based on the situation, there are some fairly common denominators such as property division, child custody and alimony. Pennsylvania residents may benefit from some lessons that have been illustrated by some high-profile breakups, although some of the publicity that the events received turned out to be false.

Parents ordered to pay child support to surrogate

Pennsylvania parents who wish to have children but cannot may decide to turn to a surrogate. However, the laws surrounding surrogate contracts in many jurisdictions are vague. One couple, who hired a surrogate in 2008, found this out when the surrogate decided to keep the child and the couple ended up being responsible for paying child support.

Settlors of trusts

Many legal terms are confusing, including some that are used in estate planning. The word "settlor" is used in association with trusts, but some Pennsylvania residents may not be aware of what it means.

Structuring the estate for the long term

Many Pennsylvania citizens wish to control their estate by encoding their legally binding last wishes in a will, a trust or a specific account beneficiary designation. All three methods have their strengths and benefits, and a contingency plan is an essential part of any of them.

Is a pet trust right for you?

For many people, pets are just as important as family members. A favorite pet gives unconditional love, is always happy to be around their human friend and is perpetually cute. It’s no secret that some pets are a person’s best friend. Because of this, some pet owners don’t know if they could live life without their furry friend.

Sherri Shepherd loses appeal, will pay child support

Pennsylvania residents following actress Sherri Shepherd's surrogacy case may be interested to learn that the court denied her appeal to hear her child support case on March 1. Shepherd was ordered to pay more than $4,000 per month for a child that was born through surrogacy with her former husband.

Making retirement planning a part of divorce negotiations

All of the work Pennsylvania married couples put into planning for their retirement can unravel when they go through a divorce. A property division order could force the sale of their home as well as the liquidation of other assets that might have been key elements in the retirement planning for each of the parties. There are, however, steps people can take to lessen the damage or hasten their recovery from it.

Preparing for a contested divorce

Although a Pennsylvania couple whose marriage is coming to an end can try to keep their divorce low-key, it may not always be possible to resolve the case without having it decided in a courtroom. For those who are going to trial, it is important to know the rules ahead of time. The complexity of the case as well as the issues that need to be resolved could determine how long it may take to finalize.

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