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Philadelphia Family Law Blog

Decision-making powers can be an area of contention

Parents who are working out child custody agreements have to come to compromises in several areas. One of these is who is going to make decisions for the children. The way that you handle this is up to you, but once it is decided on, there doesn't need to be any deviation. We know that this might be a sensitive topic, but we are here to help you protect your interests during the negotiations.

When you are thinking about this matter, you need to take each category independently. The typical categories that are included are:

  • Health care
  • Education
  • Faith
  • Extracurricular activities

Recognize the complex issues of asset division during divorce

High-asset divorces have special considerations that must be worked through if the marriage is going to legally end. These aren't always easy to figure out, but some patient investigation and thought can often help. We are here to help you to determine what options you have and what must be addressed in your case.

During the property division process, you will have to divide retirement accounts. This requires a special process because you will need a qualified domestic relations order so that you can transfer the correct amounts or make a withdrawal without facing an early withdrawal penalty.

Protecting yourself from financial mistakes during divorce

Deciding to divorce can set into motion a whirlwind of change. Many of those changes can be dramatic, especially in the area of your finances. It is not unheard of for a spouse to struggle financially after a divorce even if he or she was comfortable during the marriage. This occurs often after the spouse makes critical mistakes during the divorce process.

Before filing any papers, you can take steps to protect your future. Even if you and your spouse hope to achieve an amicable split, looking out for yourself and your best interests is still important. You can do this by obtaining solid legal advice and avoiding any of the common missteps in a divorce.

Tips for making the most out of a co-parenting arrangement

When you share children with an ex, life can be difficult. You have to think about what is best for your children, but you have to balance that with a parenting plan and other factors. All of this can make it difficult to do what you feel is best.

There are some ways that you can bolster the likelihood that your parenting arrangement is going to work. When it works, your children have what they need to live their best life. Consider these tips:

  • Present a united front before the children. This lets them know that they can count on both parents.
  • Speak directly to your ex. Never try to relay messages through the children. Not only can the message get altered, but it isn't fair to the kids.
  • Never speak negatively, especially about your co-parent. Keeping things positive can help the children to see that the situation isn't a bad one.
  • Follow through on promises, and don't make ones you can't keep. Your children are counting on you to do what you say you will.
  • Ask your children about their emotions. Having a heart-to-heart talk with the kids lets you know if there are any areas where they feel they need help.
  • Encourage your children in all things positive. Whether this is regarding their schoolwork or their relationship with your ex, offer a kind word and helpful advice.

Set priorities that can help your children to thrive

When you are going through a divorce, you have to set priorities based on what you need as you begin your new single life. By setting these priorities from the start, you can help yourself and your children to thrive despite the major changes that are going on. For some parents, this can be challenging because of the unknowns. Make up your mind to remain flexible throughout this process so that you are able to address issues as they come up.

One thing that you can do during this period of your life is to make decisions about what is important to you. Since you and your kids are dealing with major life upheavals, you might turn your immediate efforts to rebuilding your relationship with your children. This can come from spending quality time with them, but try not to always do something that is overly stimulating. You can balance things like going to the amusement park with evenings at home watching movies.

Trump administration narrows definition of domestic violence

Many people are unaware of one particularly insidious policy change made by the Justice Department under the Trump Administration. Last year, they quietly changed the definition of domestic violence to make it far more narrow.

Under President Obama, the term was defined to include acts of non-physical aggression toward an intimate partner, including "emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone."

A potentially uncomfortable discussion could also be a vital one

As a parent, you may be on the receiving end of a barrage of questions from your kids nearly every day. These queries may range anywhere from what you are fixing for supper to why there are no living dinosaurs, and they may rely on you to give them your full attention with the responses you provide.

Should you and the other parent decide to part ways, this may be no different, as your kids will likely have questions about what is happening to their lives. Since this could be an uncomfortable topic, you could benefit from seeking guidance on how to speak with your kids about the process.

Co-parenting for the children: Making requests

When you and your ex start co-parenting, don't think of it as something that the two of you have to do together -- that you're obligated to do. Instead, think of it as something that you can do for your kids. You want to put them first. You know that staying involved with both parents is best for them, so the two of you can set your differences aside and put the kids first.

This mindset alone can help you get around a lot of disputes and arguments with your ex. Every time you feel angry or frustrated, it helps to remember that it all centers on the kids. Yes, it's not perfect for you. No, you may not always enjoy coordinating with your ex. But if that gives the children the best possible future, isn't it worth a little bit of a sacrifice on your end?

Don't keep domestic violence a secret

Victims of domestic violence often try to keep the whole thing under wraps. They don't want to tell anyone what's going on. They dress in a way that hides the signs of physical abuse. They make up stories about their relationship so that it sounds healthy and safe when it's anything but. Friends have no idea what's really going on. Family members do not even know how far it's gone.

In some cases, people have a twisted view of the relationship. They think that they have brought the abuse on themselves in some way. They feel like it is their fault. They don't want to admit to it as a result, feeling like they have failed.

When you and your divorcing spouse operate a business together

Many small businesses are also family businesses, owned by a couple who shared the same dream and tried to make it a reality. Regardless of how the business does, things can become very complicated if the marriage between the owner breaks down. Suddenly you have two business partners who are ending a very personal relationship and trying to decide what that means for them professionally.

To get an idea of what this looks like, here are a few businesses that couples often own together:

  • Home cleaning services
  • Restaurants, food trucks and catering services
  • Online retail companies
  • Gyms or fitness instruction companies
  • Landscaping companies and consulting firms
  • Pet-sitting businesses or pet boarding houses
  • House flipping companies -- perhaps with one person doing the manual labor and the other doing the design
  • Blogging, vlogging or other online content creation companies
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