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Hollidaysburg Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Could trusts help you qualify for Medicaid?

Many Pennsylvania residents have varying views when it comes to getting older. Some may feel that reaching their golden years will act as a time of enjoyment and relaxation, and other people may believe that reaching their elderly years will rob them of their abilities. No matter which category you may fall into, planning for the latter scenario may work in your best interests.

Though knowing for certain how the future will play out is out of the realm of most individuals' abilities, you could still take steps to plan for particular situations. For instance, the majority of people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care. This need may arise due to illness, injury, disability or incapacitation. Whatever the reason, paying for such care can often prove difficult.

How the rise of autonomous vehicles could affect divorce cases

Driverless or autonomous vehicles could impact many aspects of society, from commercial development to divorce. As cars requiring little or no human intervention become more prevalent in Pennsylvania and across the country, it's predicted that the demand for parking space may decline by as much as 90 percent. One of the less obvious ways that AVs may impact daily life is divorce proceedings, especially contentious ones.

With family law cases involving separation or divorce, data collected from driverless vehicles may be used to make a case for adultery. In addition, autonomous vehicles could become a valuable business asset for companies that use self-driving cars to make deliveries or transport employees. There could conceivably be disputes over who owns such assets if a business using driverless cars this way is owned jointly.

Getting ready for a divorce

Pennsylvania couples who think filing for divorce at the beginning of a new year are not alone. According to statistics, this is one of the periods in which filings increase sharply. Some estimates show that 20 percent of married couples consider getting a divorce after the holidays. There are some things these couples can do to get prepared.

Knowing where they stand financially will help the divorce attorney determine how certain financial issues should be addressed during the divorce. Although year-end financial documents may not be ready until towards the end of January or the first part of February, the final pay stubs of the year can provide important information. Additional financial documents that should be collected include previous tax returns, bank statements and credit card bills. People should also obtain free credit reports for themselves and their spouses to determine if there are debts about which they should be concerned.

Why people may get divorced in Pennsylvania

When Pennsylvanians get married, they likely do so without considering the fact that their marriages might later end in divorce. Unfortunately, many couples do eventually divorce. Research has demonstrated that there are several common reasons that cause couples to end their marriages.

According to Business Insider, the top cause cited by people for their divorces is infidelity. Some couples are able to work through infidelity and save their marriages with counseling, but many are simply unable to overcome it. Substance abuse is also often cited by people who get divorced as the reason that their marriages ended. Not being committed to working through issues that arise in marriages may also contribute to divorces.

Parental alienation and divorce

Parents in Pennsylvania who are divorced from a spouse who has been diagnosed with a borderline or narcissistic personality disorder might want to be particularly vigilant for signs of parental alienation. This involves one parent manipulating a child so that they turn against the other parent.

It often begins subtly. For example, the parent who is creating the alienation might try to shift plans for a visitation by saying that the child is sick. That parent may also begin putting down the ex in various ways. Later, the targeted parent might begin to notice behavioral changes in the child. The kid may become oppositional and request that the parent stop attending extracurricular activities. In extreme cases, the child could experience explosive rages and attack the targeted parent using language that is similar to that of the other parent. However, the child might deny that the other parent has been an influence in any way.

An omitted clause in a divorce agreement can be costly

Few parties to a divorce wish to pay excessive alimony to an ex-spouse. However, it is worth noting that alimony is a tax deduction for the paying party. In order to take advantage of the deduction, the divorce documents must be drafted properly. Those required to pay alimony in Pennsylvania should be aware of a recent Tax Court ruling.

In a Tax Court decision filed on November 27, payments intended as alimony were denied a federal tax deduction due to failure to have a termination clause in the divorce decree. The IRS has six requirements for alimony payments to qualify as a tax deduction. They are as follows: the parties must file separate returns, payments must be in cash, payments are made pursuant to a divorce decree or separation agreement, the payment is designated as alimony, the parties live apart and the obligation terminates upon the death of the recipient.

Planning to make your parenting plan work for the future

As you prepare for divorce, you know that there are many challenges ahead for you. One of most complex issues in many divorces pertains to child custody, and you may be wondering how you can minimize the negative impact that the end of your marriage will have on your child. One of the ways you can do this is with a thoughtful, carefully crafted parenting plan.

When Pennsylvania parents divorce, they have options other than to let an impersonal family law court decide how child custody and visitation will work for their family. You have the right to work with your spouse to craft a custody plan that will work for your family long-term, providing security and stability for the kids.

Preventing credit issues after divorce

When couples in Pennsylvania divorce, finances are typically a primary area of concern. This is particularly true if a couple has joint debt in the form of loans, mortgages and credit card accounts. Therefore, it is crucial that debt and credit related issues be addressed during the divorce process.

Each spouse has his or her own credit history and score. Debts taken out by one spouse in his or her name only appear only in his or her credit history. However, many couples have joint debt, which can be reported on both credit histories.

Issues faced by older people who divorce

People of any age in Pennsylvania who get divorced must deal with numerous issues, but those who are older may face special problems. It is important for individuals who are near retirement age or past it to carefully consider the pros and cons of getting divorced before they proceed.

When people file for divorce after they have retired, they may be left facing dire financial circumstances. They will have to divide their retirement accounts and other assets with their spouses, and both parties may be left living under difficult circumstances during their remaining years. When people choose to divorce near retirement age, they may be unable to retire when they planned to and may have to continue working beyond when they intended.

Entrepreneurs can face challenges during divorce

Divorcing couples that also are entrepreneurs may find that the emotional and logistical challenges of ending a marriage in Pennsylvania are only exacerbated by the difficulties of dealing with a business during a divorce. When one or both partners own a family or personal business that's subject to inclusion in asset division, the financial and emotional impact of dealing with it during a divorce can be major. Beyond its financial value, a business can have a high level of emotional resonance for one or both partners involved in the divorce.

For many couples, the business may be a family asset with the highest financial value subject to the divorce settlement. In order to properly handle the business during divorce negotiations and the settlement, it is important to have a verified and accurate valuation of the business. An outside professional, like a forensic accountant or business appraiser from an accounting firm, can help to provide a correct, full understanding of the monetary value of the business. They will take into account assets, inventory, real estate, debts and other liabilities as well as intangible factors like reputation, trade name and growth potential.

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