Jetting off to Tokyo or Paris has always been on your bucket list, and now that your ex is in the rearview mirror, you make plans to do just that. Not so fast, though. Traveling abroad with a child post-divorce isn’t something you can do on a whim. You’ll probably need to ask your ex for permission to avoid violating your custody arrangement.

Below, learn everything you need to know about traveling after divorce with your child.

Refer to Your Custody Agreement

Before packing your bags, look over your parenting plan. Does it say anything about taking your child out of the country? Many custody plans limit the number of days per year that you can travel internationally with your little one.

If you have sole physical and legal custody, you may not have to ask your ex for permission to travel, but it’s a good idea to at least let them know of your travel plans. If you have joint custody, you’ll need to ask for passport consent.

Should you fail to ask permission before leaving the country, your ex could have you charged with parental abduction under the Hague Convention.

Apply for Passports for Kids After Divorce

If you plan on traveling internationally after divorce, both you and your child will need a passport. You must supply proof of parentage (such as a birth certificate or DNA test results) to procure a passport for children under 16.

If you have joint custody, you must supply a court order that permits you to travel abroad with your young one. You might also need to show customs officials a written statement from your ex that permits international travel.

Note that you may be ineligible for a passport if you’ve been neglecting child support payments. In Pennsylvania, you’re ineligible for a passport if you owe more than $2,500 in child support.

Bring Must-Have Paperwork With You When Traveling After Divorce

If your ex gives the thumbs-up to travel abroad with your child, be sure to bring written permission from them with you. You should also bring copies of your custody agreement and the child’s birth certificate. Never let these documents out of your sight.

What If Your Ex Won’t Play Ball?

Understandably, the prospect of you taking your child abroad might make your ex anxious. They don’t like the thought of missing out on parenting time, and they may worry that you’ll flee overseas and never return.

Talk to your ex to figure out what’s bothering them. You may be able to reach a compromise. For instance, in exchange for allowing international travel, you might agree to give your ex more visitation for the rest of the year.

If your ex still refuses to grant permission, contact a divorce and custody attorney to discuss your situation.

Learn More About International Travel Restrictions After Divorce

Traveling after divorce can be exhilarating, but before you buy plane tickets or book a hotel, you must ensure you can leave the country with your child. If your ex says no, contact Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., at (215) 752-6200 for a confidential consultation.

Your ex was supposed to pick up your child three hours ago, but they still haven’t arrived. Not only that but they can’t even be bothered to call you and tell you what’s going on. You’re annoyed, to put it lightly, and your child keeps asking, “Why isn’t daddy here yet?”

Below, a divorce and child custody attorney explains how to handle non-compliance of court-ordered visitation here in Bucks County.  

Why Is Your Ex Not Complying With the Parenting Plan?

If your ex is only late occasionally, that’s understandable. But if they’re always late, they might be trying to annoy you. Some exes enjoy wasting your time and they do it to “punish” you.

“How dare she divorce me?” these people think. “I’ll show her.”

Of course, your ex might just as well have a problem with time management. Regardless, that’s not an excuse to be constantly late for drop-offs and pickups.

Chronic Lateness Impacts You and Your Child

Your child gazes out the window as they eagerly wait for their parent to arrive. Your ex was supposed to arrive at 10, but 30 minutes later, they’re still not here. You try to assure your child that mommy still cares about them. They’re not convinced, though, and you can’t blame them.

Young children can’t understand why mom or dad is always late. It makes them sad and frustrated. They might even feel like their parent doesn’t love them anymore.

Chronic lateness affects you, too. You might be late to work or miss an important meeting because of your ex’s behavior. If your ex’s lateness is impacting your life, call a divorce and child custody attorney for guidance.

How To Handle an Ex Who’s Always Late

If your ex is fairly amicable, you can try talking to them. Simply ask why they’re always late. Maybe they have a good reason. For instance, perhaps they have a new job schedule that interferes with visitation. If this is the case, you might consider custody modification.

Mediation can also help you sort out tardiness. During mediation, you and your ex will meet with a neutral party to find a solution to their chronic lateness.

When Should You Hire a Lawyer?

If your ex doesn’t abide by your custody arrangement and no amount of talking helps, it may be time to call a divorce and custody attorney. Your lawyer can send a letter to your ex laying out the consequences of their chronic lateness.

Should that fail, your attorney can file a motion for contempt of court. A judge may give you more parenting time or fine your ex to discourage further lateness.

Is Your Ex Always Late for Custody Exchange? Contact Our Firm

Your ex may think it’s funny to annoy you by constantly showing up late, but chronic lateness is no laughing matter. If your ex refuses to show up on time, contact Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.

For a confidential consultation with a divorce and child custody attorney, call (866) 349-4265.

Filing for a restraining order — legally called a “Protection From Abuse” (PFA) order here in Pennsylvania — can keep you and your children safe from an abuser. Initially, the process of filing for a restraining order in Pennsylvania may sound overwhelming or confusing. But it actually just involves a few simple steps, and once you complete them, you can gain peace of mind. 

What a Restraining Order Can Give You

You can file for a restraining order against an intimate partner or a family member, including a spouse or ex-spouse, parent, child, domestic partner, or person related by marriage. In Pennsylvania, these orders do not protect victims who experience abuse from a stranger or a person with whom they are not “intimately involved.”

A restraining order or PFA offers these protections:

  • The abuser cannot go near the victim’s home — even if the abuser owns it.
  • The abuser cannot have any contact with the victim or their kids.
  • The abuser will need to turn over their weapons.

A judge may order a restraining order to stay in place for up to three years to protect the victim’s safety. In some cases, a victim can use a restraining order to require the abuser to provide financial support. 

How To File for a Restraining Order in Pennsylvania 

If you are in immediate danger of domestic violence or abuse, you will file for a temporary PFA that will go into effect instantly. A judge will review this temporary order at a hearing and determine whether to order a final PFA. 

This is the process to file for a temporary PFA:

  1. You will fill out a petition: If you are filing on a weekday, go to the courthouse to fill out a petition for a restraining order. If you are in immediate danger on an evening or weekend, call the police; they can provide protection until you file at the courthouse the next weekday. 
  2. A judge will review the petition: A judge may ask questions about your reasons for filing the petition. Then, they will grant or deny the temporary PFA and schedule a final hearing within 10 business days. 
  3. The sheriff will deliver the petition to your abuser: A local sheriff will deliver the temporary PFA order, a petition, and the notice of the final hearing to your abuser. 
  4. You will attend the final hearing: You can have an attorney and/or a domestic violence advocate with you at the final hearing. If you and the defendant agree on the terms of the order, the judge will grant it; if either party disagrees, they will share their account with the judge. Your attorney can provide evidence of why the restraining order is necessary.

Your abuser does not need to be present when you file. However, they can attend the final hearing. 

Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., Can Help You Through This Process

We understand that filing for a PFA (Protection From Abuse) can be scary and overwhelming. Our compassionate attorneys at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., are here to guide you through the process and provide legal representation. Contact us today at (866) 349-4265 for assistance filing for a restraining order. 

Artificial intelligence has the potential to streamline many rote tasks across virtually any industry. If your divorce attorney mentions that they have begun using AI to aid certain processes, you may initially feel a little wary—and rightfully so. If they aren’t careful, your attorney’s use of AI could negatively impact your case. 

Review these considerations for divorce attorneys using AI.  

Ways Your Attorney Could Be Using AI in Your Case

Recently, attorneys across numerous practice areas have begun using AI to aid their research and documentation processes. In theory, AI could help attorneys save time. However, because the divorce process is very sensitive, using AI could lead to serious mistakes or violations. 

These are a few ways your attorney may be using AI and they may not be a good idea. 

Creating Documents

AI software can help divorce attorneys draft property settlement agreements and other legal documents. The attorney just needs to input the agreement’s details, and the software will turn it into a full-length legal document. 

However, AI doesn’t have the same legal training as an attorney, and it may unknowingly generate a document that is not legally binding. Inputting a client’s personal information into this type of software could also violate client confidentiality, as you never know what software companies do with such data. 

Predictive Analysis

Predictive AI makes predictions based on past data. Many lawyers have begun using this technology to analyze datasets or legal cases and identify patterns. For divorce attorneys, this type of AI could help with analyzing a client’s assets and looking for potential discrepancies.

Of course, predictive AI isn’t 100% accurate. Attorneys need to be careful to check the facts generated by AI to ensure that they are legitimate and trustworthy. 

Ethical Considerations for Using AI in Divorce Cases

Some divorce attorneys remain wary of using AI because of its inability to adhere to ethical standards. Artificial intelligence does not consider ethics when completing tasks. Instead, ethics are human creations. 

Because of this fact, AI does not have the capacity to determine what is ethically “fair” for divorcing couples, or to consider morals when drafting documents or coming up with suggestions for attorneys. Divorce attorneys using AI need to be careful not to violate ethical standards. 

Potential Pitfalls of AI in Family Law

AI tools are still relatively new and are nowhere near foolproof. This technology has several limitations that attorneys need to keep in mind:

  • Inaccuracy: AI can generate completely false information and present it as fact.
  • Security risks: Like any virtual tool or platform, AI platforms are vulnerable to security breaches and hacking.
  • Emotionless: AI does not feel human emotions and eliminates the humanity within legal practices.

Contact Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C. for Reliable Divorce Assistance 

If you feel unsure about your divorce attorney using AI, you aren’t alone. AI may not be reliable or accurate enough for usage within serious legal processes.

At Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., our family law services and legal advice are completely human-led. Contact us today at (866) 349-4265 for a divorce consultation.

Divorce, alimony, child support, and lump sums — many people struggle through the details and consequences of these systems as they pursue a legal separation or divorce. 

In many marriages, one spouse earns more than the other. The higher-earning spouse may have relied on the other spouse to hold a less time-consuming and lower-paying job and do more of the household tasks. Similarly, one spouse may have given up career growth to be a stay-at-home parent and save the family money on childcare costs. 

When these couples divorce, the higher-earning spouse is often responsible for some form of spousal support. This support can help the other party maintain their living standard while pursuing education and career growth.  

The amount and timeline of alimony payments depend on several factors, including the length of the marriage. In some cases, higher-earning spouses can be responsible for paying permanent alimony to their spouses. 

Child support is intended to financially support a child, not the adult. There are several types of alimony and child support payment plans. Whether you should advocate for lump-sum or monthly payments in your court case depends on specific considerations. 

Benefits of a Lump-Sum Payment 

Guaranteed Money 

A lump-sum payment could be a wise choice if your ex-spouse is unstable or has a history of money trouble. It can eliminate the monthly stress of not knowing if your ex-spouse will make the required payment.  

Protects You Against Your Spouse’s Future Financial Troubles 

With uncertain financial times, there is no guarantee your ex-spouse will be able to continue making the agreed-upon monthly payments. Their business may go under, or they may make bad investments. A lump-sum payment ensures you will not be affected even if your ex comes into major financial trouble. 

Support Your Future 

Perhaps you have a major financial goal. Maybe you want to open your own business, buy a house, or go back to school. A lump-sum settlement can help you make that investment stress-free without waiting to receive alimony payments. 

Benefits of Monthly Payments 

Most of the benefits of lump sums are best suited to couples negotiating alimony. Many attorneys do not recommend a lump-sum payment for child support payments and instead recommend monthly payments. 

Best Interest of a Child 

Child support is designed to support a child’s basic life necessities, like food, housing, and education. Because these necessities remain constant throughout a child’s life, monthly payments tend to make the most sense to support a child’s best interests. 

If you have concerns about your ex-spouse’s ability to commit to monthly child support payments, an attorney can help discuss your options and rights. 

Contact an Experienced Attorney 

Divorce cases are challenging enough emotionally. Adding in the stress of negotiating spousal support and child support payments can feel very overwhelming for many people. An experienced legal team, like the lawyers at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., can help you answer any questions you have about divorce, alimony, child support, and lump sums.

Married couples tend to mix many elements of their lives: friend groups, finances, and hobbies. Some couples go even further and mix their relationship with their careers by running a business together. 

A family-owned business requires unique considerations during a divorce — the two parties aren’t just spouses; they are also business partners. The team at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., can help you navigate these legal challenges. 

No Prenup or Postnup? 

The best way to mitigate stress and contention over a family-owned business in a divorce is to create and sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement prior to the divorce, agreeing on how the two parties will divide or trade all assets. 

If you do not have either of these documents, you must determine an equitable division of assets during the divorce process. This can be much more challenging, so we recommend hiring an experienced attorney to help you through negotiations. 

Unique Challenges of Family Businesses and Divorce 

Business interests are always tricky to navigate in a divorce, especially if the business owner is the sole income provider. However, a family business owned by both parties presents its own set of considerations. A court must first determine whether the business constitutes marital property and is thus subject to equitable distribution under Pennsylvania law. 

To make this determination, a judge will consider factors like the funds used to start the business and the business’s value before, during, and after the marriage and divorce.  

Who Owns the Business? 

It is crucial to have a complete understanding of who owns the business to determine whether it is a marital asset. For example, if a trust or a previous generation owns the business, and neither party technically owns it yet, it follows different rules for property division. 


If one party inherited the business or received it as a gift, even during the marriage, the business is considered separate property, not marital property. Additionally, if one party may receive a portion of the business as an inheritance in the future, that portion also counts as separate property. 

Alimony and Child Support 

Many people wonder how the income from a family-owned business will be divided after a divorce. If you are pursuing a divorce, you can use your ex-spouse’s salary for alimony and child support settlements. 

What If the Business Goes Under? 

Some people try to continue co-owning the business after a divorce when considering the division of assets. Others opt to receive a business valuation and have one partner buy out the other’s portion. If you choose to do this, you can receive a lump-sum payment upfront and avoid any financial repercussions if the business goes under. 

There are always complicating factors when pursuing a divorce. Tied-up assets, like co-owning a business, can make an already-challenging process even more complex. Reaching out to a trusted divorce attorney from Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C. can help you navigate dividing a family-owned business during a divorce with confidence. Call or email today. 

Divorce is a challenging process, both emotionally and legally. Many people wonder how they can speed up the divorce process. The time it takes to get divorced will vary depending on a variety of factors, including whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. Here in Pennsylvania, Act 102 changed the waiting period for a contested divorce from two years to one year. After being separated for one year, someone can lawfully file for a contested divorce and begin legal proceedings.  

However, an uncontested divorce will almost always take less time than a contested one — on average, around 4-6 months. If you are looking to expedite the process, we recommend pursuing an uncontested divorce. This means you must agree with your soon-to-be ex-spouse about the grounds and terms of the divorce, including asset distribution and child visitation schedules. 

An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system and negotiate a divorce agreement efficiently. You must be prepared to take a couple of steps before beginning this process. 

Commit To Negotiating 

It’s important to have realistic expectations when you file for divorce. With so many legal elements involved, like child custody agreements, child support payments, property division, and alimony, even the most amicable of divorces can lead to disagreements during negotiation. From the beginning, anticipate that you will need to make some concessions. 

Find Emotional Support 

Making compromises during negotiations can feel particularly challenging when emotions are running high. Seek out emotional support from friends, family, and loved ones. Their support can ground you when you feel stuck, making it easier to work toward settlement agreements and obtain a fast divorce. 

Do Your Research 

When it comes to child support and visitation rights, both parties in a divorce have a right to spend time with their children, as well as a responsibility to contribute financially. Your legal team must have a clear picture of your financial situation. 

Share baseline truths about your finances with your divorce attorney. Come to meetings prepared with tax documents and receipts. Being honest about your finances, with documents to back it up, will help speed up your divorce by eliminating future surprises. 

Avoid a Long Battle 

Above all, don’t just accept that all divorce cases will be long, arduous battles. This does not have to be the case and is usually unnecessary. Drawing out the process will cost both parties a lot of money, time, and stress.  

By entering divorce discussions with a fully informed legal team and an expectation that you will need to compromise, you are setting yourself up for a smooth and quick divorce. 

Contact an Experienced Bucks County Divorce Lawyer 

The legal professionals at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., are experienced in helping clients navigate the legal systems of divorce. We prioritize clients’ peace of mind and well-being. Call or email us today for a confidential discussion to address your concerns and learn more about how we can help you speed up your divorce. 

A divorce allows you to start your life over, but your old, married life will impact that new one. Think about how untangling your life from your spouse will affect you legally and financially. What will you not have, or not have enough of, to start this new life?

You can break down what to ask for in a settlement agreement regarding parental roles and property rights or prioritize your ask based on needs and wants.

What Do You Need? What Do You Want?

Think about your priorities. What do you need, and what do you want but can go without? Nearly all divorce cases are settled without going to trial. That means there will be negotiations (and possibly mediation) between you and your spouse through your attorneys.

In any negotiation, there are things that a party needs (or thinks they need) to resolve the issue. Other issues are negotiable, and you should be willing to give things up as necessary to satisfy your needs. After your needs are met, try to obtain what you want. Ideally, both sides will get most of what they need and some of what they want.

State law may entitle you to certain things. If those laws address your needs, that is great! If not, and you are willing to part with the things given to you by state law (partially or totally), they can be bargaining chips to ensure your needs are met.

It is like a chess match. You must protect your king. All the other pieces are expendable if that means you win the game. In this case, winning satisfies your needs, and you are in the best position to start your new life.

What Role Must You Play With Your Kids?

If you have kids, Pennsylvania law makes your child’s interests paramount, so what you need or want takes a back seat. State law presumes a child needs both parents in their lives.

The more time you feel you need with your child, and the more significant role you wish to play, the stronger the facts and legal arguments must be to accomplish that. Unless the other parent is irresponsible or a potential danger to your child, you may have a tough time if you feel a need to be the sole parent or the other parent should have minimal contact with their child.

Most parents meet in the middle. They share legal custody (the ability to make crucial decisions), but their physical custody or parental time may vary. One parent may spend most of the time with the child, or it may be split evenly.

What are Your Financial Needs?

The distribution of a married couple’s debts and assets is supposed to be based on what is equitable and fair, given the situation. When negotiating a settlement, there is a mix of what a person may be entitled to and what they are willing to trade with their spouse to achieve their needs and wants.

You may need more financial help in the short term, so you may forego the ongoing income of spousal support to get more cash or assets upfront. If you need the marital home, what assets will you swap to get it? Ideally, a spouse who needs the home is married to someone who wants to move away and start over, so the marital home (with all the memories that come with it) is the last thing they want.

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust  

If you think getting divorced may be in your future or have decided it is the next step, call us at (215) 608-1867. We can discuss your situation via teleconference, on the phone, or in our Doylestown or Langhorne office.  

You love your child and want the best for them. Your marriage may end, but you are still a parent. You need to navigate the divorce process so you start a new life in the best possible position and ensure that your child’s needs are met, too. 

You Are Not Alone 

Parents with special needs children are more likely to get divorced than other married couples, according to Psychology Today. It is estimated that: 

  • 20% of US homes have a child with a disability, special health care needs, or a chronic illness  
  • The divorce rate of married parents with a child with disabilities might reach 87% 
  • The divorce rate for those with a child who has autism is about 80% 

The challenges and disagreements that can arise when parenting a special needs child may be the reason for a divorce or just one of many that pushed the relationship over the edge. 

Things to Think About 

When you are trying to plan your post-marriage life, think about: 

  • Your child’s needs, whether they are functional, medical, psychological, educational, or social 
  • What will meeting those needs cost in time, effort, and money 
  • Who will absorb those costs, and how 

You may need the help of a life care specialist to come up with answers. If you and your spouse disagree about your child’s needs and care, an outside third party without a personal bias may help bring the two of you together on these issues. 

Child Custody 

Whether your child has special needs or not, decisions about which parent should have what kind of custody should be guided by your child’s best interests. The judge in your case is bound by law to use that standard. If the two of you agree on custody issues, the judge will ensure your plan meets that standard. If you cannot agree and the matter is litigated, that is how the judge will make a decision. 

What is your situation? 

  • With whom will the child live? 
  • How much time will they have with each parent? 
  • How stable will each parent’s household be? 
  • Are both parents up to the task of caring for the child equally?  
  • Is one in a better position to provide care most of the time? 
  • If one parent is unwilling or unable to handle the child’s needs, is the other equipped to be the exclusive caregiver? 
  • How involved will the extended families of each parent be in helping with your child? Will one be alone, while the other will benefit from family members playing active, supporting roles? 

If you have another child without special needs, what custody arrangement is best for them? 

Child Support 

The state’s child support formula does not account for the additional financial burdens of parenting a child with special needs, including specialized care, equipment, enhanced nutrition, or accessible housing. But a judge may order a non-custodial parent to pay more than the guideline indicates if the circumstances call for it. 

Typically, the obligation to pay child support ends when the child reaches the age of majority (18) or graduates from college. But if a child with special needs requires caregiving for an extended period, if not the foreseeable future, that may be extended.  

Depending on the extent of a child’s disabilities, they may qualify for government benefits (including paying for custodial and medical care), help in finding employment, and independent living. The parents must do their best to get as much help as possible for as long as possible.  

The parent receiving child support should not expect the payor to pick up the tab for services that may be free or at a reduced cost, thanks to government or charitable programs. 

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust   

If you are thinking about getting divorced or have decided it is the next step, call us at (215) 608-1867. We can discuss your situation over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in our Langhorne or Doylestown office.   

A properly drafted, enforceable prenuptial agreement may greatly reduce, if not prevent, disputes concerning the equitable distribution of marital property if a married couple divorces. Making such an agreement before you marry is not a sign your marriage is doomed. It only means you are smart and preparing for a life-changing event that may or may not happen, especially if one or both of you own a company. 

If you own a business, do not have a prenup, and the business grows, your spouse would be entitled to half of that growth upon your divorce. You could be forced to give up other assets, pay your spouse over time, or, in the worst-case scenario, close the business. However, a well-crafted prenup can protect you and your business.  

What Is Equitable Distribution? 

Part of the divorce process is the equitable division of marital property. The couple’s assets and debts are organized, and their values are estimated. The parties must decide which are separate or personal and belong to the individual and which are marital (normally property acquired during the marriage) and belong to the couple, or a court will do it for them. 

Marital property is subject to fair or equitable division during a divorce. The increased value of separate property could also be divided depending on the circumstances. The parties can agree to this, or it will be resolved at a trial. 

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement? 

What is a prenup? A prenuptial or antenuptial agreement is a contract entered into before marriage. The parties can agree on which assets and debts are personal and which are marital and identify them accordingly. The agreement should include how marital assets and debts will be divided, possibly preventing disputes during a potential divorce.  

Why Is a Prenuptial Agreement a Good Idea? 

Just creating the document can be beneficial. The two of you need to think about your financial lives and assets and your duties and rights during and after your marriage. These agreements may be particularly helpful if one or both parties have significant assets before the marriage, a well-paying job, or a business. One or both parties may feel more at ease if they know what will happen financially if the marriage ends in divorce, and the outcome will be fair and mutually agreed upon. 

If one or both spouses start a business during the marriage and it is not mentioned in the agreement, who ends up owning what can be determined by a contract made during the marriage (a postnuptial agreement), by amending the prenup, through negotiations during a divorce, or at a trial. The issue can also be part of a business ownership agreement covering what will happen if you divorce. 

What Effect Does Business Ownership Have on Equitable Distribution Without a Prenuptial Agreement? 

Consider what would happen if a marriage ends in divorce and one or both spouses own a business but there is no ownership, prenuptial, or postnuptial agreement. One spouse could argue it would be fair and equitable that they should get part ownership (if they do not already have it) and make the case for how much that should be (whether they own part or not.) The outcome would depend on how actively the spouse aided the business and what sacrifices they made so it could be a success, including contributing personal funds, working for the company, or sacrificing their career to help it. 

The fate of family-owned businesses can be a highly charged divorce issue. A prenuptial or other type of agreement would spell out how this would be handled and should prevent these types of conflicts from erupting. 

Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., Can Help You With a Prenuptial Agreement 

Contact us if you have questions about a prenuptial agreement, want one created, or think you are being forced to sign one. For a confidential discussion with a Doylestown premarital agreements attorney at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., call (215) 752-6200 or email us. We can meet in our Doylestown or Langhorne office or speak with you by phone.