Family Law FAQ
Our Bucks County Family Attorneys Can Answer Your Questions About Divorce, Child Custody or Child Support in Pennsylvania
The attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand understand the sensitive nature of family matters. Our family law attorneys have nearly four decades of experience representing clients in a wide variety of family law matters. Whatever you are facing, we want to make the process easier for you and your loved ones. Below, we have answered frequently asked questions in Pennsylvania about divorce, alimony, child custody and child support.
Pennsylvania Family Law Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does a divorce take in Pennsylvania?
- Who gets alimony in a divorce?
- What is alimony pendente lite?
- How is child custody determined?
- Can the custodial parent move out of state?
- How is child support calculated in Pennsylvania?
- When does child support end in Pennsylvania?
- How can I find a family law attorney near me?
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Pennsylvania?
The length of the divorce process ultimately depends on the circumstances surrounding the divorce. There are two types of divorce in Pennsylvania: a fault divorce and a no-fault divorce, however the court must approve the grounds for divorce in a no-fault divorce. Application for a grounds order can be made 90 days after service of the divorce complaint by mutual agreement of the parties. If there is no mutual agreement, then one party can unilaterally seek grounds one year after the parties separated.
Once the grounds order is entered, the parties can begin to resolve equitable distribution of property. The more agreeable the parties, the shorter the property division phase will last.
Who Gets Alimony In a Divorce?
In the event of divorce, the court may grant alimony, or spousal support to either party if they believe it is necessary. The court will consider a variety of factors when determining alimony. For example, the court will evaluate the relative needs of the parties and each party’s sources of income including earned income, assets and expectancies. The court will also consider each party’s liabilities, mental and physical health, and whether each party is incapable of self-support. If alimony is awarded, the court will determine the amount and duration of alimony.
What Is Alimony Pendente Lite?
In Pennsylvania, alimony pendente lite is a type of spousal support that can be issued from the court after a divorce is filed and while the divorce is pending. Alimony pendente lite provides financial support to the lesser earning spouse during the divorce process. However, it is a short-term order. It is terminated once the divorce is finalized.
How Is Child Custody Determined?
There are two parts to child custody: legal custody and physical custody. In many cases, the court will adopt a reasonable custody agreement decided upon by both parents. If both parents cannot agree upon a custody agreement, the court will decide. The court makes their decision based on a variety of factors that determine the child’s safety and best interests. The court will consider factors such as each parent’s ability to provide for the child, the child’s preference and history of criminal activity and abuse. In Pennsylvania, under certain circumstances, grandparents or great-grandparents may be awarded partial physical custody or supervised physical custody.
Can the Custodial Parent Move Out of State?
The custodial parent cannot move out of state with the child without first filing a notice of the proposed relocation. Each individual who has child custody rights must consent to the proposed relocation or the court must grant the custodial parent permission.
If the non-relocating party objects to the proposed relocation, then a hearing will be scheduled and the court will decide. The court should grant or deny the relocation request after evaluating a variety of factors with the child’s safety and best interests in mind.
Failure to meet Pennsylvania’s child relocation provisions could result in child custody modifications, a court order to return the child to the other party and fines.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Pennsylvania?
Once a child custody order is in place, the court will use a formula created by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to determine the amount of child support that the non-custodial party must contribute each month. The formula emphasizes each party’s net income and earning potential. However, the amount of child support awarded depends on other circumstances too. The court may consider factors such as the child’s health and potential medical expenses, whether each party is responsible for other children, and the child’s best interests.
When Does Child Support End in Pennsylvania?
Child support ends when the child becomes 18 or graduates high school, whichever occurs last. However, there are exceptions. If both parents agreed upon certain provisions of child support, they must be adhered to. For example, Pennsylvania does not require university support; however, if both parents agreed that child support would continue through university, then child support would end after graduation.
How Can I Find a Family Law Attorney Near Me?
If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend that you contact the Bucks County family law attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Call us today at 215-968-6602 to discuss your situation. You can also fill out our online contact form and someone from our office will be in touch with you shortly.