A Prenuptial Agreement is an agreement between two individuals who intend to marry. The Agreement can limit many things or only a few things. The content of the Agreement depends on what the parties (potential Husband and potential Wife) desire to address. Some of the reasons that engaged couples prepare and sign Prenuptial Agreements are the following.
• The protection of existing assets.
• Avoid paying spousal support, temporary alimony, and alimony.
• The protection of business interests, particularly family businesses.
• The protection of assets that were received as a result of a gift or inheritance or from a prior relationship.
• Estate planning.
If you created a Living Trust or a Revocable Trust years ago when the Federal Estate Tax Laws were completely different than they are today, it is a good idea to have the Trust reviewed by an attorney. It may no longer be appropriate to have your assets titled in the Trust, and it can even be harmful from both a tax standpoint as well as an estate administration standpoint. It may now be advantageous to have the Trust updated or even revoked. In some instances, a Trust may have been created, but the assets were never properly transferred to the Trust, which entirely defeats the purpose of the Trust.
The key question in nearly all divorce matters is the division of property. Spouses typically have property acquired before the marriage, during the marriage, and after the marriage. Under 23 Pa.C.S. §3501, marital property is defined as all property acquired by either spouse during a marriage and the increase in value of non-marital property. The “entirety” of the marriage is from the date of marriage to the date of separation. Any property acquired or any growth of a marital asset after date of separation is non-marital property, unless marital funds are used to acquire the new asset. The increase in value of non-marital property may be offset by losses on non-marital property. For example, if one spouse brings two investment accounts to a marriage as pre-marital property, the gain in one account may be decreased by the loss in the other account.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently recognized the custody rights of non-biological parents in R.L. v. M.A., 2740 EDA 2018. In the case, a couple decided to have a child using the egg from the biological mother and the sperm from a relative of the non-biological mother. The non-biological mother helped decorate the nursery and selected the child’s first name and was present at the birth of the child. The couple broke up soon after the child was born. Initially the non-biological mother had custody of the child every other weekend and when the child was two (2); but the couple agreed to share 50/50 custody. When the child turned five (5), the couple had a dispute and the biological mother attempted to stop all custody rights of the non-biological mother. The trial court gave 50/50 custody, finding the non-biological mother in loco parentis and therefore eligible for any form of custody. In loco parentis means “in the place of a parent.” Under Pennsylvania Custody Law, an individual who has in loco parentis status can seek primary, shared or partial physical custody of a child.
There are many circumstances in which an individual may need government financial assistance and one of those circumstances is the need to apply for social security benefits. Fortunately, the experienced Attorneys at Pyfer Reese Straub Gray and Farhat are well-versed in these circumstances and recognize when you may be eligible for such benefits.
Most people are not aware that if they have a domestic partner or significant other residing with them in their own home, it may be difficult to force that person to leave the house. If your paramour/significant other refuses to leave the house when you request that they do so, and you change the locks on the door and put their possessions in the front yard, the police may advise them that they have a right to enter the house because it is “their residence.”
On June 28, 2019, the second phase of Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law went into effect. Under this law, criminal history information about eligible summary and misdemeanor offenses will automatically be sealed, i.e., removed from public view if an individual has been free from arrest or prosecution for ten (10) years after conviction or release from prison or supervision, whichever is later.