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Domestic

Divorce: Litigation, Mediation, Or Collaborative

Litigation is the traditional method of filing through the court and seeking information through court filed documents.  Depending on parties' willingness to cooperate and willingness to compromise or reasonably negotiate, the process may move very smoothly or may be difficult and somewhat frustrating.  Divorce is not an easy decision.  It is my goal to make it as painless as possible. 

Mediation permits both parties to utilize one attorney but that attorney is not able to give legal advice to either individual, but instead simply advises as to the what the divorce code provides. 

Collaborative permits a situation similar to mediation but each party comes to the table with an attorney.  The Collaborative method focuses on goals and objectives rather than simply looking at dollar figures.  To learn more about the collaborative process, I would invite you to review information on the Collaborative Association of Southwestern PA's website (http://www.clasplaw.org/) or the International Association of Collaborative Practitioners (https://www.collaborativepractice.com/).   It is important to note that this method is only available if both parties agree and if both parties are wiling to be forthcoming with information. 

Regardless of the method or process that you choose, the focus remains on the client's interests, desires, goals, and objectives.    

Reconciliation Agreements:  Although Pennsylvania does not recognize legal separation, a reconciliation agreement provides couples the opportunity to live separate and apart, without pursuing divorce.  This document will clearly delineate the duties and responsibilities of each party in the relationship.  This document is enforceable as a contract.  It ultimately provides parties the opportunity to separate, truly consider whether they want to divorce or not, and then act accordingly. 


Custody

Fighting for what the parent views as the best interest of the child is my primary goal.  Working with you directly to ensure that we address all sixteen factors in the PA Code so that the best possible case is put forward is my objective.  I encourage parents to come to an agreement and work out custody where possible.  I feel strongly that when parents have a direct say in terms of the custody arrangement, they feel better about the process and more likely to actively engage in cooperative  co-parenting.  This typically provides for a much more positive experience for the children. 


Support: Spousal or Child

Making sure that you and/or your child is adequately provided for is an integral part of the custody and/or divorce process.  My focus is on making sure that you are receiving every penny to which you may be entitled based on support guidelines.  If there is proper reason to seek a deviation from the guidelines, I will advise and pursue based on my client's desires. 

When you are the individual responsible for paying, we work to ensure that your children and/or spouse is properly cared for while minimizing the impact on your wallet.  I understand that often times, individuals responsible for the payment of child support often times end up paying many additional expenses out of pocket in addition to the support paid to the other spouse.  Minimizing your support payment helps you to ensure you are free to adequate provide for yourself as well as for your child directly. 


Reconciliation Agreements

Perhaps you are considering divorce or have already separated, but are not sure who will be responsible for what bill in the interim.  Although legal separation in Pennsylvania is not recognized, a Reconciliation Agreement is an enforceable agreement as a contract which clearly lays out the parties respective expectations during the time of separation.  It can contains items such as who is responsible for paying a given bill or that parties will agree to go to marriage counsel.  It is your agreement and will be tailored to your specific needs.  Divorce is not always an easy decision.  This agreement aims to fill in the gap between either a broken marriage and complete reunification or a broken marriage and divorce.  


Adoption

Adoption, whether by a step-parent or through an agency is typically an exciting time.  There are some hurdles in the legal process that can make it expensive and frustrating.  It is my goal to make the adoption process smooth and positive process. 


Protection From Abuse (PFA)

When you find yourself facing a Protection From Abuse Order or PFA, you may have many questions about the process and impact that a potential PFA may have against you.  Having represented numerous PFAs over the years, I am fully prepared to put forth the most appropriate defense possible. 


Cohabitation Agreements/Prenuptial Agreements

As more and more people choose to not get married, it is important make sure that your rights are protected when you choose to cohabit with another individual.  Cohabitation agreements work to ensure that lines are clearly drawn to protect both parties should the relationship terminate.  Similarly, prenuptial agreements focus on what would happen in the event of a failed marriage.  Where an individual is bringing in significant assets into a marriage or has the potential to significantly increase his or her assets during the course of the marriage, it is a particularly good idea to have this put in place.