Tick Tock….How long will my divorce take?

Not surprisingly, the initial answer is “it depends.” The most important factor in answering the question about how long your divorce will take is whether and to what extent you and your spouse agree not only to how quickly you want the divorce to be finalized but also whether you agree to the terms of … Read more

Bonuses, Divorce, and Support, Oh My!

bonus money

It’s almost bonus season so it is a good time to talk about how they may factor into your divorce. A former client, we will call her “Victoria,” earned about $200,000 the year before her separation. Her base salary was about $115,000 and $85,000 was a performance bonus. She received papers that her husband was … Read more

Halloween: What Divorcing Parents Need to Consider

Halloween has always been a special holiday for children and parents enjoy reliving it through their eyes. However, divorce can put a damper on things if the parents do not plan ahead and work together. Here are some tips to help things go more smoothly: Decide who is doing what for the costumes. It is … Read more

Five Custody Myths Separating Parents Need to Know

Custody cases can be contentious, expensive and painful for all involved. Parents are often flooded with stories of their cousin’s neighbor’s best friend three states away.  Indeed, well-meaning acquaintances and coworkers love to “help” but that help is usually in the form of misinformation. While every case is different, there are certain myths that are … Read more

Getting Married? Four Reasons Why You Need a Prenuptial Agreement

I hear all the time that Prenuptial Agreements are just for the very wealthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone who has anything they want to protect in the event of divorce (or death) is a candidate for a Prenuptial Agreement. While discussions about Prenuptial Agreements can be awkward, it is far easier to reach an agreement when you are happy, in love, and planning for your wedding than it is when sadness and anger take over at the end of a marriage.

Here are four reasons you need a Prenuptial Agreement before you exchange your vows:

1. You want to simplify your divorce.

Couples without Prenuptial Agreements can spend months and countless attorney fees arguing over the percentage of marital property that each party receives. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. Equitable means fair, which does not necessarily mean equal.   In a Prenuptial Agreement, a couple could decide the percentage distribution ahead of time, along with other issues, such as alimony, which can complicate the resolution of your divorce.

2. You want to protect your business.

The business you own today could become a sticking point in your divorce. If you own a business in Pennsylvania at the time of the marriage, the increase in value during the marriage is a marital asset. Business valuations are expensive. Imagine having to pay for two, one for the date of marriage and one for the date of separation in order to quantify the increase in value. Locating all of the documents needed for the valuation is a job in itself. A Prenuptial Agreement can be written to protect the increase in value of your business.

3. You want to protect your home.

Did you know that the increase in value of the home you own now will be a marital asset? Think about how complicated it will be to figure out how much the value of the home increased, especially if it has been a long marriage. If you put the home in joint names, all of the equity may be considered a marital asset depending on the timing. Imagine being kicked out of the home you bought when you were single. Yes, that can happen without a Prenuptial Agreement.

4. You want to protect your children’s inheritance in the event of your death.

If you have children from a prior marriage, you may want to protect some of your assets for your children in the event of your death. In Pennsylvania, you cannot disinherit or place certain limits on your spouse’s inheritance without a spousal waiver. Prenuptial Agreements commonly have spousal waivers allowing your estate plan to control without the interference of your spouse.

If you are interested in finding out whether you need a Prenuptial Agreement, here is how to get started.

What to Expect at an Initial Consultation with a Divorce Attorney

Your initial consultation with an attorney is your time, especially if you are paying for it.  The goal is to have the client leave with all of their questions answered and a game plan for moving forward in the short term. Getting Started I will start by my asking some introductory questions so that I can understand what prompted you to seek … Read more

Divorce Courtroom Etiquette

Although court is often viewed as a last resort, some cases do end up in the courtroom. How you present in court can be just as important as your actual testimony.  In divorce court, issues are often he-said, she said.  First impressions are formed quickly and credibility determinations are of paramount importance. Here are some suggestions … Read more

Bonuses, Divorce, and Support, Oh My! Part 2

bonus money

The topic of bonuses is so broad it can easily fill two blog posts.  In my first post about bonuses, I focused on how bonuses play into the determination of interim support and child support.  Now, I discuss how bonuses play into equitable distribution. If you are the dependent spouse, you are always better off with the … Read more

Hear Carla Donnelly on the Radio Talking Divorce, Custody

Carla Donnelly Talking Divorce, Custody

Recently, Attorney Carla Donnelly appeared on the KQV Radio Show “Dealing with Divorce” hosted by Nan Cohen.  She talks about getting started with your divorce, custody issues and what happens at an initial consultation.  Listen in! Nan Cohen is recognized as the go-to person on separation and a divorce expert. On the air with “Dealing with … Read more