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Pennsylvania divorce recovery

Pennsylvania Divorce Forms

Y ou may do your own search for divorce forms Call Now: 888-804-8996(just below), or you can select one of the featured forms. When you click on a form link, you will see:
  • A description of the package or form
  • Notes related to the selection
  • Pennsylvania laws that are related to that form
Once you have viewed a legal form, you can return to
this page by clicking the back arrow on your browser.

Do A Divorce Forms General Search, or…

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Divorce Forms General Search

Most frequently ordered Divorce Forms
Separation Forms

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Annulment

S imilar to other states, Pennsylvania divorce laws
Annulment of marriageallow for void and voidable marriages to receive marriage annulments in certain circumstances. Marriages are void and qualify for a marital annulment if one of the parties was already married, they were too closely related, some mental incapacity existed, or the parties were below 18 years of age. Marriages are generally voidable if either party was:

  • under 16 years of age at the time of marriage
  • either party was intoxicated and one of you initiated the petition within 60 days of the marriage
  • impotency
  • fraud
  • duress, coercion or force were used to secure the marriage
  • consanguinity – marrying mother, father, sister, brother, first cousins, etc.

[Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 4322]

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Child Custody

I n the consideration and award of child custody, the family court will
Alt Textdetermine which parent is more likely to encourage, permit and allow frequent and continuing contact and physical access between the non custodial parent and the child
.

Read that line again.

Those that do permit the child’s close contact with the other parent are seen as having good parenting skills. The court will also consider each parent and adult household member’s present and past violent or abusive conduct in its determination. [You might interpret this as a suggestion that if you make the proceedings too contentious, it could backfire on you].

An order for shared custody may be awarded by the court when it is in the best interest of the child: upon application of one or both parents; when the parties have agreed to an award of shared custody; or in the discretion of the court. ‘Upon application’ means that you and your spouse are given an opportunity to put together and agree upon a Parenting Plan and Child Custody Schedule. Make every effort to be successful with this effort, as the court’s ‘plan’ may be less favorable to one of you (and you don’t want the you to be YOU).


Factors the court considers when awarding custody:
  • Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party
  • The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household
  • The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child
Alt Text
  • The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life and community life
  • The availability of extended family
  • The child’s sibling relationships
  • The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment
  • The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent
  • Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child’s emotional needs
  • Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child
  • The proximity of the residences of the parties
  • Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate childcare arrangements
  • The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another
  • The history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • The mental and physical condition of a party
  • Any other relevant factor
Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you
State laws give the court the option to require the parents to attend counseling sessions and may consider the recommendations of the counselors prior to awarding sole or shared custody [If you go to counseling, be aware that if you appear uninvolved or disengaged, that indifference can be reported back to the court]. Parents may be required to submit to the court a Parenting Plan for the implementation of any custody order. A child’s desires with regard to custody and partial custody are given more weight as the child gets older. Until age 12 such expressions of interest carry very little weight.

Should the court require you to submit a Parenting Plan for the care and custody of your child, you will be required to include in the Parenting Plan the following:

  • The schedule for personal care and control of the child, including parenting time, holidays and vacations
  • The education and religious involvement, if any, of the child
  • The health care of the child
  • Child-care arrangements
  • Transportation arrangements
  • A procedure by which proposed changes, disputes and alleged breaches of the custody order may be adjudicated or otherwise resolved through mediation, arbitration or other means
  • Any matter specified by the court
  • Any other matter that serves the best interest of the child
  • Types of custody that can be awarded

Will the Ex manipulate you with the kids’ schedule?


Custody can be granted in a number of ways:

Shared physical custody - The right of more than one individual to assume physical custody of the child, each having significant periods of physical custodial time with the child.

Primary physical custody – The right to assume physical custody of the child for the majority of time.

Partial physical custody – The right to assume physical custody of the child for less than a majority of the time.

Sole physical custody – The right of one individual to exclusive physical custody of the child.

Supervised physical custody – Custodial time during which an agency or an adult designated by the court or agreed upon by the parties monitors the interaction between the child and the individual with those rights.

Shared legal custody – The right of more than one individual to legal custody of the child.

Sole legal custody – The right of one individual to exclusive legal custody of the child.

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

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Do It Yourself Divorce in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania allows two ways to divorce by no-fault. A mutual DIY Divorceconsent divorce can be granted 90 days after you filing for it if you both file an Affidavit consenting to the divorce. You can opt to include a Divorce Settlement Agreement with the Affidavit, and it will expedite the process. The second no-fault method is after a two year separation. Once you and your spouse have filed, and have signed an affidavit that you two have lived separately for 2 years, a divorce can be granted.


Determine residency

In order to file for divorce in this state, you must meet residency requirements. One or both spouses must have resided in this state for at least 6 months prior to filing for the divorce. You must file your completed forms with the principal clerk of the court (sometimes called the Prothonotary) in the county where you live, your spouse lives, or a county you both agree on. Your spouse has 20 days to object to allegations and present his or her own claims.

You can divorce one of three ways:
  1. Divorce by mutual consent – both agree the marriage is over and cannot be saved. A Complaint is filed, and you must wait 90 days. Each spouse submits a statement declaring the marriage is irretrievably broken
  2. One spouse wants the divorce and the other does not. The Plaintiff files for divorce after living separate and apart for at least 2 years
  3. One spouse claims the other has caused the demise of the marriage, and cites grounds for divorce. This process often causes disagreement and re-characterizes the divorce as contested, requiring an attorney

If you choose to cite grounds (reasons or causes) why your DIY Divorcemarriage should be dissolved, you will cite one or more of the following:
  • Desertion of the home and/or family without reasonable cause after a period of one year or more
  • Committed adultery
  • By cruel treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse
  • Knowingly entered into a bigamous marriage while a former marriage is still subsisting
  • Been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two or more years upon conviction of having committed a crime
  • Cruelty toward the innocent and injured spouse
  • A divorce based on separation (separation of 2 years or more)
  • Mutual consent divorce

Determine which packet of forms applies to your situation:
  1. Pennsylvania No-Fault Uncontested Agreed Divorce Package for Dissolution of Marriage with Adult Children and with or without Property and Debts  select
  2. Pennsylvania No-Fault Agreed Uncontested Divorce Package for Dissolution of Marriage for people with Minor Children  select
  3. Pennsylvania No-Fault Agreed Uncontested Divorce Package for Dissolution of Marriage for Persons with No Children with or without Property and Debts  select
All of the above packets come with instructions. See Divorce Forms in the tab above or search for forms that better fit your situation.

With your forms filled out correctly…
  1. Gather your forms together. Make at least 2 copies of all forms. Separate them so you have one original set, and two sets that are copies. Leave one set copy at home. Take the original and copy to the The Court of Common Pleas. Bring your check bookDIY Divorce
  2. The clerk of the court will accept and process your Complaint and will take your payment for court fees. As of this writing, it is $316.98 (the cost to answer a complaint: $144.54).
  3. Your spouse must be notified, or served. You cannot do this yourself. If your spouse is cooperative, you can get him or her to sign and have notarized Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons. Look for it in your package of forms or find it here. If you are not on good terms with your spouse, you must have him or her served. The clerk will guide you on the process (you complete the form, a deputy from the Sheriff’s office picks up the summons, and delivers it to your spouse). Service by registered or certified mail is also available
  4. The court will schedule a hearing and notify each of you. You must attend, but your spouse may opt out. To prepare for the hearing, bring 3 copies of the Divorce Decree (see your package and instructions) and a person who can testify to your residency and the breakup of the marriage. The judge may sign the divorce decree at that meeting, or notify you by mail that you are divorced.

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Enforcement

When a marriage ends, the court will make Alt Textorders about assets and debt, financial support, and (for those that are parents) parenting time. Those orders can be a result of an agreement (settlement) by the parties, a resolution using mediation or collaboration, or by decision from the judge. In the final divorce decree, the court will resolve:

  • Child Support
  • Parenting Time (Visitation)
  • Child Custody
  • Spousal Support (Alimony)
Child Support

Once an order for child support has been granted, the parent required to pay (usually the non-custodial parent) must adhere to the specifics of the order, and pay on time and in full until the child reaches the age of majority (18) or graduates from High School (whichever occurs later), or the court order is changed by any judge with appropriate jurisdiction. When a parent fails to pay, or falls significantly behind (Pennsylvania considers significant to mean more than 30 days behind), the custodial parent may make a complaint to the local support enforcement unit in an attempt to enforce the order. The custodial parent may want to request of the noncustodial parent that s/he get caught up one last time before making the complaint, as there is always a delay in enforcement. Should that effort fail, then make the complaint. PA Child Support Resources list the contacts you will need to lodge your complaint.  They will contact the noncustodial parent and encourage him/her into compliance by taking away other privileges the owing parent enjoys. The following denials can occur (Note: parenting time cannot be denied, by law):

  • wage assignment or garnishment
  • income tax refund intercepts
  • license suspensions and revocations – driver’s, professional, sporting, recreational
  • liens against property

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

Common violations of custody orders
  • Interfering with the communication between the child and the other parent
  • Denying parenting time for non-payment of child support
  • Preventing scheduled parenting time
  • Taking the child without notifying the other parent

The noncustodial, non paying parent can also be charged with contempt by the court that issued the order, and can face fines, jail time and probation for non-compliance.

For guidance, review the state’s Pennsylvania Child Support Handbook

finger pointing rightHaving an on-line Parenting Plan will give your ex no room to interfere with scheduled activities, since s/he can check it when there’s an urge to change things at the last minute. This puppy is worth its weight in gold. See our Parenting Plans page. You can inform the ex that if you put an activity on the schedule, it ain’t changing without discussion. Your kids can view it too and get a greater sense of security.

You will get ONE shot at winning custody – Learn How Here

Parenting Time (Visitation)

By law, the custodial parent may not alter the terms of a visitation schedule ordered by the court. There are no exceptions, except in an emergency situation that threatens the welfare of the custodial parent, the child, or the child’s siblings. These exceptions are usually tied to domestic violence and an imminent court order that will likely change the terms of the visitation. Enforcing Parenting Time can be problematic, and is more an exercise in close documentation of times and events that can be presented to a judge as a pattern of denial. If you are being denied parenting time, write everything down. Take careful notes. Include dates, times, what occurred, who said what, and what the result was. Judges frown on interference, and if it is serious enough, will revert primary (physical) custody to the other parent. In the end, if you are being denied visitation, you must take the other parent back to court, a cost you may or may not be able to recover from the other parent.

Child CustodyChild Custody

Parents must conform to the letter of the court order for custody. A final divorce order will contain a parenting plan (a schedule), indicating when the child(ren) will be with each parent, and for how long. Some parents abuse the schedule, keeping kids longer than approved, or attempt to disrupt the other parent’s life by making pick-ups and drop-offs more difficult. Custodial parents have been known to not be home when the other parent arrives for a pickup. The list is endless, and unfortunately, the parent suffering the game-playing must initiate a court action to bring the other parent into compliance. That means more cost aggravation and effort.

You will get ONE shot at winning custody – Learn How Here

Alimony

When one party fails to pay spousal support (alimony), it can become a burden to the receiving party. The recourse for the party suffering the delinquency is unfortunately similar to violations of visitation and custody; you must take the other party back to court and ask the judge to encourage compliance. The court has the ability to garnish (assign) wages of the non-payor, and have the deductions sent directly to the party due the money. Other remedies include seizure of property for sale, or jail time in extreme circumstances.

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you

Custody and significant distance between parents

As time passes, lives change, and with those changes come living in more than one location. When addresses change of people parenting their children, challenges arise, and the courts attempt to proactively deal with those changes. Most courts include in the parenting plan provisions for when either parent wishes to relocate. When the custodial parent wishes to move the child’s residence, and the move is greater than 60 miles, the custodial parent must get either the other parent’s consent, or the approval of the court. In cases where the custodial parent has moved the child without consent of either, they are subject to sanctions by the jurisdiction they left. The fleeing custodian can be forced to return to where they left, and extreme case, lose primary custody. The custodial parent faces an uphill challenge, in that s/he remains a resident of the State s/he left until residency is established (usually 6 months). This presumes, of course, that the noncustodial parent goes to court to recover his/her child and parenting time.

finger pointing rightLooking for divorce forms? All divorce or separation processes require that you gather all relevant forms, fill them out correctly and file the forms as directed by the court. The most efficient way to get them in front of you is to download the divorce forms, complete with instructions that hand-hold you through the process.
Temporary visitation

A court of this state which does not have jurisdiction to modify a child custody determination, may issue a temporary order enforcing:

  • A visitation schedule made by a court of another state
  • The visitation provisions of a child custody determination of another state that does not provide for a specific visitation schedule, or
  • The visitation provision of a child custody determination of another state by implementing makeup or substitute visitation

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Grounds For Divorce

S tate law requires that marriages be dissolved Grounds for divorceeither through fault grounds or irreconcilable differences. The court may grant a divorce to the innocent and injured spouse whenever it is judged that the other spouse has:

  • Demonstrated desertion of the home and/or family without reasonable cause after a period of one year or more
  • Committed adultery
  • By cruel treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse
  • Knowingly entered into a bigamous marriage while a former marriage is still subsisting
  • Been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two or more years upon conviction of having committed a crime
  • Demonstrated cruelty toward the innocent and injured spouse
  • Mental illness – tour spouse has been confined to a facility for 18 months or more and is expected to be confined for at least 18 more months

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

[Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 3301]

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Legal Separation

T echnically, there is no such thing as Separationa legal separation in this state, but rather, a process of creating and agreeing to a private civil agreement a Separation Agreement), where the parties address child custody, child support, alimony, division of assets and debt, insurance issues and how the expenses, bills and other finances should be handled during the separation period.

There is no need to go to court, nor is there a legal requirement that husband and wife be separated for a period of time to file for divorce. A separation occurs when a couple stops living with one another, although the official date of separation can be a bone of contention when valuations of assets and debts are done later. Separation Agreements resolve any question as to the date of separation.

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

When the parties have lived separate and apart for two years or more, either party may seek a divorce without obtaining the consent from the other party.

You can maintain health insurance and life insurance while separated

Legal separation is frequently pursued when one of the parties wants to stay married for religious reasons, wants the advantage of deductibility of spousal support payments for income tax reasons, wants to maintain various insurance coverage’s, or do not want to wait the state statutory waiting period for termination of marital status.

Residency Requirements

An action for divorce or annulment may be brought in the county: where the defendant resides; if the defendant resides outside of this Commonwealth, where the plaintiff resides; the marital domicile, if the plaintiff has continuously resided in the county; prior to six months after the date of final separation and with agreement of the defendant, where the plaintiff resides or, if neither party continues to reside in the county of matrimonial domicile, where either party resides; or after six months after the date of final separation, where either party resides.

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Mediation

A court may establish a mediation Mediationprogram for the parties. A variety of conditions can cause the court to order mediation or marriage counseling. The parties can also be requested to attend one or more counseling sessions.

[Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 3302 and 5303]

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Modification Of Court Orders

In the normal process of divorce (or separation), the Alt Textcourt will issue orders that must be followed. At the conclusion of the divorce, the court will make permanent those orders that require continuity. Typically the orders involve:

  • Child Support
  • Child Custody
  • Parenting Time (visitation)
  • Alimony (spousal support)

It is important to note that the court order(s) reflect a permanent condition until or unless there is a dispute, a request by one of the parties to adjust an order, or the natural expiration of the order. Requests to modify require the appropriate form to be filed with the court.

finger pointing rightLooking for divorce forms? All divorce or separation processes require that you gather all relevant forms, fill them out correctly and file the forms as directed by the court. The most efficient way to get them in front of you is to download the divorce forms, complete with instructions that hand-hold you through the process.

Child Support – set by a mathematical formula used throughout the State by its courts and judges. The amount of support can be adjusted higher (or lower) depending upon the changing circumstances of the child or either parent. Requests to adjust the amount of support generally go back to the court that issued the original order, and require a substantial change in circumstances to be accepted.

Child Custody – As you might imagine, this is not the court’s first rodeo, so they see most everything coming from far away. Should a parent wish to modify the court order, that parent would need to file the petition with the court that issued the order. This court has jurisdiction. Requests to change the original custody order must be made to the court that has jurisdiction, and must cite new facts that were unavailable to that parent in the original action, or that there has been substantial changes in circumstance. In extreme circumstances, where you look to change custody because the other parent has become unfit, you would use the form: Motion for Modification or Amendment of Prior Custody Order in Divorce Decree to Obtain Sole Custody of Minor Child Due to Unfitness of Custodial Parent

For change of custody and relocation, see our section on Relocation of your child on this page

Parenting Time (Visitation) – A change in your child’s schedule can be agreed to by the parents without the approval of the court. You should consider having the court approve any changes, so that they become an official part of the custody order, because things change, and verbal agreements are just that – verbal, and difficult to enforce once the winds shift again (and they will). In cases where there is no agreement to alter visitation, the noncustodial parent must convince the court that an increase in visitation is in the best interests of the child(ren).

You will get ONE shot at winning custody – Learn How Here

Alimony – this too requires a court order to change the terms. Adjusting the amount and frequency requires a material change in circumstances. Most modifications for alimony come from the payor of spousal support, and generally cite a drop of income or increased costs as a result of a life-altering event (decrease in pay, loss of job, medical expenses, etc.). Less frequently, a petition to increase alimony is requested when the receiving party learns of an increase in income of the paying party. These requests usually are based on the dependent ex-spouse being entitled to a portion of the increase due to his or her efforts during the marriage.

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Parenting Plans

W hen any element of custody is in Parenting plansdispute, the court may order that the parties jointly or separately submit parenting plans for the care and custody of the child to aid the court in resolving the custody dispute. State law prohibits a parenting plan and the position of a party to be used as evidence by another party.

The plan must include
  • The schedule for personal care and control of the child, including parenting time, holidays and vacations
  • The education and religious involvement, if any, of the child
  • The health care of the child.
  • Child-care arrangements
  • Transportation arrangements
  • A procedure by which proposed changes, disputes and alleged breaches of the custody order may be adjudicated or otherwise resolved through mediation, arbitration or other means
  • Any matter specified by the court
  • Any other matter that serves the best interest of the child
It’s your plan or the court’s plan – you choose

The court will either approve your plan or issue its Parenting plansown based on the child’s best interest. Key factors that receive scrutiny include:

  • the physical, emotional, mental, religious, and social needs of the child
  • the capability and desire of each parent to meet these needs
  • the child’s preference if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference
  • the love and affection existing between the child and each parent
  • the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  • the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child, except that the court
    may not consider this willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in domestic violence against the parent or a child, and that a
    continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either the parent or the child
  • any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in the proposed custodial household or a history of violence between the parents
  • evidence that substance abuse by either parent or other members of the household directly affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child
  • other factors that the court considers pertinent
Creating the planParenting plans

There are templates on the internet that you can use to draft a simplified version of a parenting plan. Templates can be helpful in organizing your ideas and needs, but they generally
do not offer or prompt details that you might otherwise not think of to include in your plan. Additionally, plans on paper tend to get lost by one of the parents, or the plan gets stale
as the child grows and his or her needs and activities change. Making changes to the schedule become problematic with paper plans (changing it and reprinting it each time).

Custody and visitation

Who gets custody and the terms of visitation are detailed in the plan. Issues such as the specifics for visitation, travel costs, who gets the tax deductions for the kids, health insurance and other choices are included.

The best online plan we have found

There are a handful of online, high-quality parenting plan platforms available. We suggest using Custody XChange©. They have several levels of access that meet parents’ needs. Check them out. They even have a free trial period. The smartest move is to put a plan online and have only one parent be able to make changes to the child’s schedule online (that would be you). With a plan online, your child’s schedule is mapped out months (or years) in advance, and can be viewed by your Ex or your children online. This provides security and continuity to kids, and notifies the Ex that any changes must be discussed and agreed to. In fact, those parents that have used the online version report less chaos with kids schedules than ever before.

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you

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Dividing Marital Property

P ennsylvania is an “equitable distribution” state. When Property Settlementparties are not able to come to an agreement or a divorce settlement regarding property, the court will intervene, first in identifying and separating pre-marital assets to the individual parties, and then dividing the marital assets equitably but not necessarily equally. Relevant factors in determining the division of assets can include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Any prior marriage
  • The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party
  • The opportunity of each party for future acquisitions of assets and income
  • The sources of income of both parties
  • The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as homemaker
  • The value of the property set apart to each party
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
  • The economic circumstances of each party and
  • Whether the party will be serving as the custodian of any dependent minor children. [Effectively, you two can reach your own settlement, or the court has one for you]
Taking inventory of property and liabilities

You and your spouse will need to compile a list of assets and debts early onProperty Settlement

  • Property owned or possessed by either or both of you as of:
  1. the date of separation, and
  2. thirty days prior to the date of hearing on equitable distribution
  •  A list of the value of the property owned or possessed by either or both of you as of:
  1. the date acquired
  2. the date of separation, and
  3. thirty days prior to the date of hearing on equitable distribution.

A list of the liabilities of either or both of you as of 30 days prior to the date of hearing on equitable distribution

If you fail to formally request a division of assets before the divorce is final, you could lose that ability once the ink is dry.

[Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 3501, 3502, 3505]

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Relocation Of A Child’s Home

P ennsylvania’s Child Custody Law was modified in Relocating a childJanuary 2011, including how the process of relocating children when they have more than one parent or guardian entitled to parenting time or visitation. Statutes detail the specific steps a custodial parent must take when relocation would result in substantial interference in the other parent’s custodial rights.

Relocation of a child is prohibited unless every individual who has custody rights to the child consents to the proposed relocation, or the court approves the proposed relocation. The party proposing relocation must notify every other individual who has custody rights to the child. Notice, sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, must be given no later than:

  • the 60th day before the date of the proposed relocation; or
  • the tenth day after the date that the individual knows of the relocation, if (A) the individual did not know and could not reasonably have known of the relocation in sufficient time to comply with the 60-day notice, and (B) it is not reasonably possible to delay the date of relocation so as to comply with the 60-day notice.
  • The following information must be included in the notice:
Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you
  1. The address of the intended new residence
  2. The mailing address, if not the same as the address of the Relocationintended new residence
  3. Names and ages of the individuals in the new residence, including individuals who intend to live in the new residence
  4. The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if available
  5. The name of the new school district and school
  6. The date of the proposed relocation
  7. The reasons for the proposed relocation
  8. A proposal for a revised custody schedule
  9. Any other information which the party proposing the relocation deems appropriate
  10. A counter-affidavit which can be used to object to the proposed relocation and the modification of a custody order
  11. A warning to the non-relocating party that if the non-relocating party does not file with the court an objection to the proposed relocation within 30 days after receipt of the notice, that party shall be foreclosed from objecting to the relocation.

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

The non-relocating party may object to the relocation and seek an injunction order to prevent the relocation. An objection will cause a hearing to be held. At the hearing, the judge will accept arguments and will rule on the dispute based on the merits.

Factors that get weighed by the court
  1. the potential advantages of the proposed move, economic or otherwise, and the likelihood the move would improve substantially the quality of life for the custodial parent and the child and is not the result of a momentary whim on the part of the custodial parent
  2. the integrity of the motives of both the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent in either seeking the move or seeking to prevent it; and
  3. the availability of realistic, substitute visitation arrangements which will foster adequately an ongoing relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent
In making a determination, the court will consider the following factors
The relocating parent bears the initial burden to show the move would improve that parent’s and the child’s quality of life. Both parties bear a burden to establish the integrity of their respective motives.Gruber v Gruber, 400 Pa. Super. 174, 583 A.2d 434 (1990)
  • The nature, quality, extent of involvement and duration of the child’s relationship with the party proposing to relocate and with the non-relocating party, siblings and other significant persons in the child’s life
  • The age, developmental stage, needs of the child and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child
  • The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating party and the child through suitable custody arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties
  • The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child
  • Whether there is an established pattern of conduct of either party to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the other party
  • Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the party seeking the relocation, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity
  • Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity
  • The reasons and motivation of each party for seeking or opposing the relocation
  • The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household and whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party
  • Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child

Will the Ex manipulate you with the kids’ schedule?

[PA Title 23 §5337]

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Alimony

A limony is quite the hot potato issue in Pennsylvania Alimonyand is detailed in state divorce laws. In an action for separation or divorce, the court may allow alimony (sometimes referred to as spousal support or maintenance) to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary. In determining whether alimony is necessary and under what conditions, the court will consider all relevant factors, including:

  • The relative earnings and capacities of the parties
  • The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties
  • The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits
  • The expectancies and inheritances of the parties
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning capacity of the other party
  • The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
  • The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment,
  • The relative assets and liabilities of the parties
  • The property brought to the marriage by either party
  • The contribution of a spouse as homemaker
  • The relative needs of the parties
  • The marital misconduct of either or the parties
  • Tax ramifications of the alimony award
  • Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, to provide for the party’s reasonable needs
  • Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment
Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you
Collecting on overdue alimony

When there is an arearrage, the offended party can request a court hearing, and the judge can do any of the following to recover what is in arrears:

  • Enter judgment
  • Authorize the taking and seizure of the goods and chattels
  • Attach no more than 50% of the wages of the party
  • Award interest on unpaid installments
  • Require security to insure future payments
  • Issue attachment proceedings
  • Award counsel fees and costs
  • issue contempt rulings with possible imprisonment

§3706 Prohibits alimony if the petitioner has entered into cohabitation with anyone of the opposite sex who is not a member of the family of the petitioner within the degrees of consanguinity.

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

The court in ordering alimony will determine the duration of the order, which may be for a definite or indefinite period of time which is reasonable under the circumstances. Remarriage of the party receiving alimony will terminate the award of alimony. Temporary alimony (pendente lite) may be ordered during the pendency of a divorce or separation action.

[Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 3701, 3702, 3704, 3706]

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Visitation (Parenting Time)

S tate laws refer to overnight custody as partial custody.
Visitation with kidsFamily law statutes use the term “reasonable visitation”. Parents have the opportunity to fashion a Visitation Schedule and a Parenting Plan without the courts involvement, and if they fail to agree, the court will impose its own judgment. The parent with physical custody has more control over the dates, times and duration of visits. He or she isn’t legally obligated to agree to any particular schedule. For this reason courts find themselves imposing judgment in the absence of an agreement.

A well thought out on-line Parenting Plan will reduce friction and provide continuity to the kids

In all but the most amicable divorces, a fixed schedule of visitation is recommended, in order to reduce the potential for conflict in front of the children. A court, if asked to determine visitation, will typically give to the non-custodial parent every other weekend with the child (or 1st and 3rd, 2nd and 4th weekends), one non-overnight weeknight visit, alternating holidays, shared birthdays, and a liberal amount of time in the summer.

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you
State laws allow parents to agree on and complete a Visitation Schedule and a Parenting Plan. You are best served if you get these documents done so that you avoid getting the court’s less personalized plan. In order to develop a good parenting game plan, you’ll need to gather all of your information and resources in one location. If you are using a lawyer, he or she will do that for you at the going rate ($) per hour. Another way to go would be for you to do the things you can to mitigate costs and create your own.

See our discussion on Parenting Plans.

[Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 1915.4-2]

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Child Support

Who Pays and How Much They Pay
P ennsylvania child support guidelines are based Child supporton the Income Shares Model, and are spelled out in state divorce laws. [What does that mean specifically?] The model is based on the concept that the child of separated or divorced parents should receive the same proportion of parental income that she or he would have received if the parents lived together. [Should you have a need to compute child support payment as it relates to your situation, you may use this link. Be aware that using this link takes you off-site, so you may wish to bookmark this page first].

What are the liabilities for child support? Your state specifies the following:

  • Married persons are liable for the support of each other according to their respective abilities to provide support as provided by law
  • Parents are liable for the support of their children who are not emancipated and 18 years of age or younger
  • Parents may be liable for the support of their children who are 18 years of age or older
  • Provide health insurance for the child

Will the ex manipulate you with the kids’ schedule?

State child support guidelines permit the court to deviate from the guidelines for unusual needs, extraordinary expenses and other factors, and may order selling some of the parties’ assets, as warrants special attention. An order to pay the costs of health care or any other cost not covered under the general guidelines for child support can be put in place. Payment of support in the form of temporary or permanent alimony can be ordered alongside a child support order.

Approximate support obligations: 1 child – 20%, 2 children – 28%, 3 children – 32%, 4 children – 40%, 5 children – 45%, 6 or more – 50%. Support is based on net income, after deductions like:

  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax
  • Social Security (FICA)
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • Union dues
  • Dependent and individual health/hospitalization insurance premiums
  • Prior obligations of support or maintenance actually paid pursuant to a court order or administrative order
  • Expenses to repay debts that represent reasonable and necessary expenses for the production of income
  • Medical expenses necessary to preserve life or health; and
  • Reasonable expenses for the benefit of the child and the other parent, exclusive of gifts
Don’t take actions that can be viewed as punitive

A word of caution: Don’t let anger cause you to cancel insurance or any other benefit to your spouse or child prior to any rulings. Such action can have a rather negative impact on your efforts to achieve a fair settlement. Family court judges have been known to penalize parents who cancel policies out of spite. A fair amount of PA child support should be paid until the court directs how much specifically should be paid. PA child support ends when the child turns 18, or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.

Mandatory child medical support

In every proceeding to establish or modify an order which requires the payment of child support, the court will determine each parties ability to provide medical support. The court will first determine if medical support is available at a reasonable cost to the non-custodial parent, and if it is, will order that parent to provide it. Secondarily, the court will determine if medical support is available to the custodial parent at a reasonable cost, and if it is and the other parent is unable to provide coverage, will order the custodial parent to pay. Should health care coverage not be available to either parent at a reasonable cost on an employment-related or other group basis, the court will order either parent or both parents to obtain children health insurance coverage.
Pennsylvania Child Support Calculator

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you

[Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 4322]

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