5 EASY STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF DURING DIVORCE

There are several steps you can take during an uncontested divorce to protect yourself. Though your divorce may be “amicable”, it’s wise to take measures ahead of time to safe guard yourself and your property. We are talking about your personal property, not jointly owned or marital property. So, don’t start hiding jointly owned property, or you can easily set yourself up for a contested divorce – meaning more time, money, hassles, and stress before your Pennsylvania divorce can be finalzed.

Keep a daily journal. This may sound like an imposition with everything else going on, but will come in handy later on should you need it. Address each entry to your attorney. Should your spouse try to subpoena your journal, this will make it harder since it could be considered privileged communication between you and your lawyer. That being said, keep your journal in a safe place. If it’s on your computer, then use a password that only you know in order to get into your computer. Remember to record only the facts, this is especially important if your spouse tries to use the journal against you. Some of the items you want to include in your daily journal are:

1. Bills you have paid;

2. Money you have give to your spouse and/or children;

3. Time you have spent with your child(ren);

4. Any item which you feel is important to your divorce;

5. Arguments with your spouse;

6. Significant events;

7. Telephone calls; and

8. Emails.

Record all of the property in your home. Walk through your house and take pictures and/or videotape each item in each room. Don’t forget to turn on the date on your camera or video camera. Think of items which not only have a monetary value, but also a sentimental value. Some of the items to include in your inventory are: jewelry, clothes, furniture, antiques and electronics. Remember to record items in your attic, basement and detached structures such as a shed. If something is missing later on, this will serve as evidence to its existence in your home. You may want to store the pictures or videos in your private safety deposit box in order to make sure it’s not subject to being tampered with by your spouse.

Reduce your bills. Meet right away with your spouse and see how you can cut down on your bills. This would include extra phone lines, perks such as caller id, cable, shopping around for cheaper insurance and call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate.

Secure your personal documents. Move your documents such as: birth certificate, passport, diplomas to a trusted friend’s home or get a safe deposit box in your name only. For communal documents such as tax forms and bank records make a copy and add the copy to your safe stash of documents.

Start establishing your own credit. Get a credit card in your name only and start building up your own credit rating. Be prudent when using the card. You may want to initially store it in your safety deposit box as well. It can be a good backup source of funds if an emergency arises, as well.

Once you’ve taken the above steps to protect yourself, you’re ready to file for an uncontested divorce. Contact No Contest Divorce Law, LLC for a free consultation at 215-398-6760.

For an immediate free virtual consultation click on THE DIVORCE MASTER.

The Divorce Master will analyze and qualify your case for an online Pennsylvania simple, no-fault, uncontested divorce, calculate your legal fees, and file your case immediately. It’s just like sitting in our office for a free consultation.

Read client testimonials to see learn about our clients’ experiences.

HOW MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS SAVE YOU MONEY

A marital settlement agreement, also referred to as a MSA, is an opportunity for couples to save money on the division of their assets and debts, without having a judge decide for them. If a couple is not able to come to an agreement they will spend a considerable amount more in money and time fighting the issues out in court. The trend of today’s savvy divorcing couples is to spell out their own settlement agreement terms. This means that the couple saves considerable attorney’s fees by deciding the terms for the dissolution of their marriage. They then have their attorney draft the marital settlement agreement and file it with the divorce court. By doing it this way, the couple then does not have to go to court.

Marital settlement agreements are legal contracts which define the terms of a divorce for couples with or without children. This option is available when both parties consent to the terminating conditions of their divorce and plans for the future. Conditions for an agreement can include a range of items such as: wedding debt, personal property, spousal support, child financial responsibilities, involvement of grandparents, pets,and frequent flier miles.

Couples have the freedom to decide which items are of importance and should be included in their marital settlement agreement. They become the authors of their lives after divorce; instead of being forced to accept the order of a Master or Judge after lengthy and expensive divorce litigation. If divorcing couples can find mutual ground they can tailor their agreement to their personal needs. This means saving headaches, time and money and is one way to divorce “on budget”.

There are different ways to work on a Pennsylvania marital settlement agreement with a spouse. Some couples have an initial conversation and go from there. Another option is to have one party write up a draft and then email his/her spouse, they go back and forth a few times until they have terms they feel are acceptable. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that each person will have to compromise in order to create a fair agreement. It’s very rare for a person to get everything he/she wants.

If you hire No Contest Divorce Law, LLC to draft your Pennsylvania marital settlement agreement, you will be emailed a marital settlement agreement questionnaire. Just fill out the questionnaire and No Contest Divorce Law, LLC will draft your agreement promptly. The questionnaire will help you to address important areas that you should consider. This is a good way not to overlook critical issues. You can always contact No Contest Divorce Law, LLC if you have questions about the terms of your marital settlement agreement.

In addition, couples who come to an agreement with their spouse will be spared additional emotional trauma. Divorce tends to catapult people into uncharted emotional territories where they find themselves experiencing unsettling emotions. Couples who decide to battle it out in court increase the frequency of painful episodes and often take a lot longer to emotionally heal. With an agreed upon marital settlement agreement, divorcing couples tend to emotionally recuperate quicker.

Once you and your spouse have agreed to the terms of your divorce, contact No Contest Divorce Law, LLC to file the legal paperwork at 215-398-6760 or start right away by clicking on MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.

You are also invited to read our client testimonials. See what others have to say about our services.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UNCONTESTED & CONTESTED DIVORCE

When considering getting a divorce in Pennsylvania, there are two basic options. Uncontested divorce and contested divorce are the two options available to couples who are ready to be divorced in Pennsylvania. A contested divorce is when the couple cannot come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce such as assets division and debt division. An uncontested divorce means that the divorcing couple agrees on the terms of their divorce.

An uncontested divorce does not mean the couple is amicable towards one another. It does mean that that they are going to save a considerable amount of money by not fighting out the terms of their divorce in divorce court. There is less financial burden due to high attorneys fees and a quicker dissolution of the marriage in an uncontested divorce.

A contested divorce allows for a high level of conflict and stress. With a contested divorce both parties will have to go to court and pay fees for litigation and having the lawyers work out an agreement. Also, after a judge’s ruling, the losing party can file an appeal – meaning you may have to go back to court and restate your case. All of this costs considerable time and money for both spouses. Many times, the attorneys end up getting more that the spouses in the end.

An uncontested divorce does not mean couples are in agreement about why the divorce ended, but they are able to put aside their difference to efficiently end their marriage. Couples who decide on a simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce also have the opportunity to create their own marital settlement agreement. The agreement allows couples to decide for themselves how they want to divide their assets and debts – versus a judge telling them how they are going to divide them. Attorney James Cairns offers his clients a free marital settlement agreement questionnaire which is an easy to use guide to figuring out a marital settlement agreement. Also, you can contact him with any questions you may have about your divorce or marital settlement agreement matters.

If you and your spouse are able to leave the fighting outside the courtroom and are ready for a Pennsylvania simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce, then contact Attorney James Cairns for a free initial consultation at 888.863.9115.

Are you ready to start right away? Use the DIVORCE MASTER to analyze, calculate your legal fees and give you the option to file immediately. It’s just like sitting in our office for a free consultation.

You can also read what our clients say about us in their email testimonials.

THE RISKS OF NOT HAVING A MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

What is a Fair Settlement Agreement?

What constitutes a “fair” marital settlement agreement is a headline that has recently been blasted across media circuits. Most recently, Tom Cruise has been accused of getting out of his divorce easily, since his ex-wife Katie Holmes will “only” receive a stated $400,000 for child support. The comparison has been made to his $250 million fortune.

What the media has failed to cover is that this amount is what Holmes felt was suitable for her daughter Suri’s annual needs. In addition, we still don’t know details of how other expenses will be covered, such as medical coverage or a college education. The sensationalism of the dollar amount has overlooked other components of the divorce, such as Holmes being the primary caretaker and the restrictions she has placed on Suri’s exposure to Scientology, Cruise’s religion.

A marital settlement agreement is not just about a lump sum of money for child support. A properly prepared marital settlement agreement also covers several other areas, including: involvement of grandparents in the children’s lives, division of the residential home and other assets and debts, family business and even the household pets. It’s rare for an individual in a divorce to get everything s/he wants; a marital settlement agreement is a compromise between both parties. The agreement should be fair and reasonable, and ensures that both parties will have a more certain future with clearly written conditions.

Also, when a divorced couple has a signed settlement agreement between them, it allows them to save time and money and stress, because they do not have to battle out their disagreements in front of a judge. For example, Grammy Award winning R&B singer, Usher Raymond IV, fought for over a year and a half to win primary child custody. Tameka Foster Raymond, Usher’s ex-wife, now suffers the result of not working out an agreement under more amicable conditions, such as shared custody, but is also dealing with the recent death of her son Kile.

Tempers can flare and emotions tend to run high during a divorce. It’s in the best interest of the divorcing couple to find healthy ways to channel their emotions and quickly move towards a marital settlement agreement. Some of the odd items fought over in divorces include: David Hasslehoff wanting his golf-cart back, Kris Humphries fighting for the engagement ring from Kim Kardashian, and Beth Shack battling it out over 1,200 pairs of designer shoes.

Michael Douglas has battled with ex-spouse Diandra Douglas about intellectual property rights to Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. The coupled reportedly have been fighting over this for fourteen years. Do you want to spend a considerable amount of our future fighting out matters because you didn’t write it up in a marital settlement agreement?

Once you’re ready to file for an uncontested divorce and/or martial settlement agreement contact No Contest Divorce Law, LLC for a free consultation at 215-398-6760.

For an immediate free virtual consultation click on the DIVORCE MASTER.

The Divorce Master will analyze and qualify your specific case for an online uncontested Pennsylvania divorce, calculates your total legal fees, and allows you to file your case immediately. It’s just like sitting in our office for a free consultation.

Read client testimonials to see learn about our clients’ experiences.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SEPARATION AGREEMENT AND A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT?

The terms sound very similar, and many people call both by one or the other’s name and they are used interchangeably. In fact, they are slightly different.

A Separation Agreement is a contract between husband and wife that is entered into prior to a divorce being final. The Separation Agreement is meant to settle any issues that may exist between the parties, such as property, alimony, debts, insurance, taxes, child custody, child visitation, child support. It is an agreement that is entered into in contemplation of divorce. It does not have to be filed with the court at the time it is entered into.

Once divorce paperwork is filed, a Separation Agreement is often incorporated into what is called a Settlement Agreement. In other words, a Separation Agreement becomes a part of the Settlement Agreement. Separation Agreements may also be written to function as Settlement Agreements if both parties can agree on how to handle issues in contemplation of divorce and after the divorce decree is ordered. The Settlement Agreement is filed with the court, and becomes a part of the final divorce decree. The Settlement Agreement can contain the same terms and govern the issues between you as the Separation Agreement, or it can have different terms.

Sometimes a Separation Agreement is used as a temporary agreement between the parties to govern the relationship while they are separated and not divorced yet. While the parties are separated, they can then work on a more permanent agreement called a Settlement Agreement.

Both a Separation Agreement and a Settlement Agreement may state whether the agreement is to survive the decree of divorce as a separate contract (“incorporated”), or whether it should be merged along with the decree.

If you have questions about settlement agreements, call for a free initial consultation with an attorney at 888-863-9115. You can get started with your divorce now by CLICKING HERE (can can also choose your settlement agreement when at the same time).

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET: – YOUR HOUSE

Marital homes tend to be the biggest asset of a couple and can also be the largest liability of a couple. As you are considering who gets to keep the house, put aside the memories and emotions tied into it and seriously consider how the house is going to affect your financial future. Don’t let your home become a financial nightmare.

When it comes to your house and the mortgage there are four basic options:

  1. Purchase the house from your spouse;
  2. Sell your home and share the profits or debt;
  3. Sell the house to your spouse; or
  4. Continue to share ownership with your spouse.

Purchasing house from spouse

There are several important factors to consider when purchasing the house from your spouse. The number one consideration is how your monthly income will change. Will you be able to comfortably continue the mortgage payments? Are you financially prepared to incur the cost of a major house repair, for example a pipe bursting and flooding your kitchen? If the mortgage is in both of your names then you may have to refinance in your own name. Refinancing means taking into account your debt, job history and credit history.

Selling your house

An important consideration when selling your home is to take into account the expenses which come along with selling the house. Don’t forget the real estate commission and also possible tax implications. Also, be discreet of why you are selling your home. Homeowners have lost on the average $10,000 when buyers realize that the house is being sold due to divorce.

We strongly urge you to put the details of selling your home in a settlement agreement, making it legally binding. Some of the items to consider in your settlement agreement are:

  1. Steps each spouse will take to sell the house;
  2. A timetable – how long are you going to have the house on the market; and
  3. What action will you and your spouse take if the house is not sold within your specified timetable?

Selling house to spouse

If you are on the title and mortgage make sure your name is taken off. Not taking this measure can possibly ruin your credit because of late mortgage payments and back taxes. You can use a settlement agreement to legally spell out how the title will be transferred to the spouse who is buying the house.

Shared Ownership

Another use of settlement agreements is when spouses decide to continue to share ownership of the house. You can spell out the financial agreements. Who will pay for the mortgage, taxes and insurance? How will repairs be handled? Will you sell the house after the children become adults?

The value of a settlement agreement can not be understated. It it always better and less costly to have a settlement agreement prepared now than it is to go to court to settle a dispute later. A marital settlement agreement is the legal document which will protect you when your ex-spouse becomes emotional or has a change of heart. Attorney James Cairns concentrates in settlement agreements and can help you secure the future of your home and finances. You can either call 888.863.9115 for an initial free consultation or learn more about settlement agreements by clicking on the words SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.

TIPS ON STARTING A MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

Negotiating a marital settlement agreement during an uncontested divorce can seem overwhelming. You are trying to figure out the best way to get what you need and survive after the divorce; add the emotional aspects and you might feel like giving up before you even start. We’ve put together some tips to help you get started with your marital settlement agreement.

The first item to keep in mind is you are not usually going to get every single thing you want. Remember, it’s a negotiation. Both parties should walk away with some sense of a secure financial future. This is not the time to try to take advantage of your spouse or “stick it” to him or her. The goal is to save money by not having to go to court, where a judge will tell you what you get.

Keep focused during your negotiations. This is not the time to bring up complaints or emotional hurts, consider it a business deal which will affect the rest of your life. When communicating with your spouse:

  1. If you can’t be nice, at least be civil;
  2. Listen to your spouse, but don’t get dragged into a fight;
  3. Be patient, you may have to meet a couple of times to get the details finalized. It’s unusual to work out a marital settlement agreement in one meeting;
  4. Know what to compromise on; and
  5. Pick a neutral place to negotiate. The last thing you want are reminders of what went wrong or someone butting into your personal situation.

Don’t show up to your meeting and figure whatever happens is what was meant to happen. Show up prepared with a list of items you want to negotiate. Some individuals show up with a timer. This helps them not to linger on a topic and move on to the next issue. If you use a timer, negotiate how much time you’ll spend on each topic with your spouse. If you are having a hard time on a topic, leave it for another day.

Here are some topics you may want to consider as you move through your marital settlement agreement:

  1. Lawyer fees and legal divorce costs;
  2. Spousal support and/or alimony;
  3. Child support;
  4. Pets;
  5. Grandparents’ role;
  6. How to handle the needs of a special needs child;
  7. Creating a list of marital property;
  8. How to divide the marital property;
  9. Creating a list of marital assets and debts;
  10. How to handle the house;
  11. How to handle your child’s school year;
  12. How to handle your child’s birthday, holidays and special events;
  13. Taxes,
  14. Health insurance,
  15. Timeshares;
  16. Frequent flier miles;
  17. Pensions;
  18. Changing names on deeds;
  19. How to handle items of transportation – i.e. car, motorcycle, boat;
  20. What happens when an ex-spouse does not fulfill an obligation – i.e. child support or spousal support;
  21. How to handle any business you or your spouse are involved in;
  22. How to handle counseling for you and/or children; and
  23. How to handle religious training for your children.

Also, don’t be shy about asking your divorce attorney for a guide and/or some tips on negortiating marital settlement agreements.

Residency Requirement for Divorce in Pennsylvania

In most parts of the United States, people cannot move to a new state and file for divorce shortly afterwards. Instead, most states require that people meet what is called the “residency requirement” before they can file for divorce. Does Pennsylvania have a residency requirement? Yes, like most other states it does. In order to file for divorce in Pennsylvania, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing. Additionally, the spouse who files for divorce must file the papers in the court where the other spouse lives. This is not usually an issue because in many cases, the spouses live in the same county at the time of filing for divorce, but not always. If you wish to file for divorce and your spouse now lives in a different county than you, you have options. You can file for divorce:

  • In the county where you both lived while you were married providing you have lived in the same county continuously since you separated from your spouse,
  • In the county where you live as long as your spouse agrees to it, or
  • In the county where either of you currently live if neither of you still live in the county that you lived in when you were married to each other.

If you wish to file for divorce and your spouse moved out-of-state, you may file in the county where you live. Since travel can get expensive, the family courts in Pennsylvania have several filing options available so spouses can minimize the travel associated with obtaining a divorce.

No-Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

At Cairns Law Offices, we help people obtain low-cost, no-fault divorces throughout Pennsylvania. If you and your spouse are willing to reach an agreement on matters pertaining to child custody (where applicable),property and debt division, we would be happy to help you achieve a quick, expedient divorce.

To learn more about our divorce services, contact us today!

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN PENNSYLVANIA

Are you contemplating divorce? If you decide to take the plunge, in your divorce papers you will need to indicate on what “ground” you are divorcing. In other words, you must note the reason why you’re filing for a divorce. In Pennsylvania, spouses can file for divorce on both fault and no-fault grounds.

If a spouse wants to file a “fault” divorce, he or she is essentially accusing the other spouse of engaging in some sort of misconduct, for example, they are saying that their spouse committed adultery, or they walked out on the marriage for at least a year, or they committed domestic violence.

A spouse can file for a fault divorce on the following grounds:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Abandoning a spouse for a year or longer
  • Spousal abuse, or another form of cruelty
  • Convicted of a crime and sent to prison for at least two years
  • Humiliation to such an extent, it makes marriage intolerable

Does misconduct impact property division?

This is a good question! Generally, judges do not consider misconduct, such as committing a crime, or family violence, or cheating when dividing property, however, a judge is entitled to consider a spouse’s misconduct when they are deciding whether or not to award spousal support or alimony.

No-Fault Divorce: a Better Way

A fault-based divorce can lead to costly litigation and a protracted divorce. Often, fault-based divorces are more stressful on all involved and they can literally drain the marital estate. If you want to avoid a full-blown court battle, you may want to consider the benefits of having a no-fault divorce instead, even if your spouse made his or her share of mistakes.

When you file a no-fault divorce, you are not blaming your spouse, at least not “on the record.” You’re not airing your dirty laundry; you are filing your divorce on the ground of “irretrievable breakdown,” which means your marriage is broken beyond repair, period.

In Pennsylvania, there are two types of no-fault divorce. A mutual consent no-fault divorce and irretrievable breakdown without mutual consent. The first is self-explanatory and by far, the most ideal of the two options.

With a mutual consent no-fault divorce, you and your spouse agree that your marriage is irretrievably broken, and you both agree to get divorced. In a mutual consent divorce, you can obtain be divorce as soon as 90 days after the divorce action is filed.

No-Fault Divorce Without Mutual Consent

If you want to end your marriage but your spouse refuses to consent to the divorce, you could file a no-fault divorce, however, you would have to file an affidavit with the court stating that you have lived separate and apart from your spouse for at least two years before the court could grant you a divorce.

If your spouse is willing to agree to a divorce, we recommend filing a no-fault, mutual consent divorce. This way, you can achieve the most cost-effective divorce possible and you can begin the next chapter of your life as a divorced person within a few months of filing the divorce papers.

Learn all about our affordable, no-fault divorces by contacting our firm directly!

How Long Will it Take Before my Pennsylvania No-Fault Divorce is Final?

HOW LONG DOES A DIVORCE TAKE IN PA?

Depending on the service you choose (NORMAL, FAST, or RUSH), your divorce can be completed in as little as 4-6 weeks. Find out why below.

The number one questions we get is “how much time does it take until I’ll be divorced?” Everybody wants a speedy divorce, but just how much time it will it take depends on which type of divorce you are qualified to get. There are two kinds, called a 3301(d) divorce and a 3301(c) divorce. A 3301(d) divorce is called a “separation divorce”. A 3301(c) is called a “mutual consent” divorce. If you or your spouse is a resident of Pennsylvania and are both willing,cooperative, and available to be divorced, we can get you your divorce fast.

If you have been separated 1 year or more,then you qualify to get a 3301(d) separation divorce. The law in Pennsylvania requires a 20 day waiting period for this type of divorce, but we use a special waiver so you can get divorced much faster. If you are prompt in responding to our instructions, we can get your uncontested Pennsylvania divorce in as little as 4-6 weeks, depending on what service you choose (NORMAL, FAST, or RUSH). The typical time for a 3301(d) Pennsylvania uncontested divorce, from the date of filing to the court granting a divorce decree is 4-6 weeks for RUSH service, 8-12 weeks for FAST Service, and 13-16 weeks for NORMAL Service. We do not control how long the court takes, so times are approximate.

If you have been separated less than 1 year, then you qualify to get a 3301(c) mutual consent divorce. The law in Pennsylvania requires a 90 day waiting period for this type of divorce. There is no waiver of the 90 day waiting period. The typical time for a 3301(c) divorce the divorce, from the date of filing to the court granting a decree, is 3.5 to 4 months. The typical time for a 3301(c) Pennsylvania uncontested divorce, from the date of filing to the court granting a divorce decree is 3.5-4 months for PREMIUM service, 4-5 months for FAST service, and 5-6 months for NORMAL service. We do not control how long the court takes, so times are approximate.

At MyPaDivorceLawyer.com, we always handle your case as efficiently as possible. We also email you proactive case updates to let you know where your case stands all along the way. Our method uses computer technology to serve you efficiently, accurately, and make life easier for you. You can start your divorce faster and cheaper since you can start your divore ONLINE at a time and place that is convenient for you. You don’t have to wait for us to mail you your divorce complaint, since we’ll email it to you for confirmation (usually the same day) after you complete The Divorce Master and make payment with your credit card, debit card, checking account, or Paypal account. Once you confirm the complaint and make any necessary payments, we will file it with the court according to which service you chose. Our goal is to provide professional service that is inexpensive, fast, simple, and easy to use, so your divorce can be granted by the court and you can move forward with your new life.