Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Blog

Sunday, July 31, 2016

What’s in the Best Interest of the Child? A Summary of Child Custody Law in Pennsylvania

There are typically two things that divorcing couples fight about: money and children. Resolving disputes over finances is relatively straightforward - the judge decides what is fair and slices up the pie accordingly. Resolving disputes over who gets child custody is much more difficult since the Biblical solution of “splitting the baby” is today, thankfully, only an expression.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Child Support at a Glance

In a divorce involving minor children, the courts in Pennsylvania base child support decisions on a number of factors, such as the child's standard of living during the marriage, the income of the custodial and noncustodial parent, if the custodial parent is receiving alimony, as well as the health, medical and educational expenses of the child. The amount of monthly child support payments will be stated in the child support order, which the noncustodial parent must obey until the child reaches adulthood.

Enforcing a Child Support Order

Some parents may not make the monthly payments according to the order, or stop making payments entirely - and are often referred to as deadbeat parents. In order to enforce the order, it is necessary to prepare and file a legal document with the court known as an Order to Show Cause, which must also be served to the non-paying parent. The court will then schedule a show cause hearing where the noncustodial parent must explain why the failed to abide by the terms of the child support order.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Why Prenuptial Agreements are a Good Idea

What are the benefits of having a prenuptial agreement?

Most people get married not planning on the possibility of divorce even though the statistics tell us otherwise. If the divorce becomes contentious, deciding how to divide the marital property can become quite complicated, even though Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. This means that the courts will divide the property fairly, based on a number of considerations. For those who want to take control of the matter and avoid intervention by the courts, however, having a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial.


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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pre-Nups Are Not Just For the Rich and Famous

Pre-Nups Are Not Just For the Rich and Famous

When celebrity couples get divorced, one of the things the gossip columns are sure to mention is whether the couple has a pre-nuptial agreement in place. We saw this play out most recently when it was announced that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are splitting up after getting married a little more than a year ago. It turns out they did not sign a pre-nup, which is sort of shocking for a celebrity couple in this day and age, but is actually quite normal for most couples. This is unfortunate in two ways.

First, not having a pre-nuptial agreement in place means Depp and Heard’s divorce is more likely to be messy.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Conditions under which child support payments may be adjusted

Much like a marriage may evolve or in fact dissolve, so to might the circumstances of one or both spouses. For example, consider the case of a spouse who, after a divorce, has been paying a certain amount of child support, but who loses his or her job and remains unemployed or perhaps underemployed for an extended period of time. Can this spouse ask the court to adjust his or her child support payments?

In Pennsylvania, the law requires that a spouse attempting to vary the child support payments submit evidence supporting claims that the unemployment was involuntary in order for a change in child support payments to be considered. This loss of employment can range from a long-term job as a professional or tradesperson to work that is seasonal or commission based.

Other circumstances that may cause one to change child support payments include a change in income which results when a parent or partner moving in or a child who no longer requires expenses, for example, like daycare.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dividing Property in a Divorce

Is Pennsylvania an equitable distribution state?

When a couple divorces in Pennsylvania, the marital property will be divided according to state's equitable distribution law. This means the court will divide the property fairly, but this does not necessarily mean equally.

What is marital property?

Marital property includes property that was purchased by each spouse during the marriage (regardless of who held title), property that was acquired by the couple while they were married (such as a house or car), each spouse's income during marriage and retirement benefits that each spouse earned during the marriage.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to our new website and blog!  Please check back often for updates.

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