If you suspect your husband is lying during your divorce settlement, it is critical to disprove his statements, since your husband’s lies could significantly decrease your settlement, affect child custody, or damage your reputation. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to advise you on all legal means available to prove his deception.

Lying under oath, whether in court or in signed affidavits, is a serious offense and can carry civil and criminal penalties. A judge has discretion regarding how to punish lying. For example, depending on the severity of the perjury, he or she could require your lying husband to pay your legal fees, increase your settlement, award you sole custody, or apply criminal charges.

It is critical that you yourself do not lie. You must maintain integrity so there is a clear choice for the judge when your husband’s credibility is damaged by the exposure of his lies. Remember to always take the high road. Remain calm during meetings and court proceedings as well as on social media or email. It is best not to comment at all about your spouse publicly, especially online. 

Lying about finances

Unfortunately, lying about one’s finances is fairly common in divorce proceedings, but it can also be somewhat easy to prove with the right documentation. The difficulty is recognizing the different ways money can be hidden. Review our blog post, What if Your Ex Hid Money During the Divorce, for the many subtle ways money can be hidden. You can provide evidence that your husband is hiding assets in many different ways:

  • Bank, investment, and retirement account statements
  • Income tax returns
  • Household bills
  • Credit card statements 

It is possible your husband has income streams of which you are unaware. Your attorney may recommend you enlist the service of a financial auditor to dig deeply into your husband’s financial matters. 

Lying about you or your relationship

Character assassination is taken seriously by the courts, and your lawyer will know what legal recourse can be taken to stop the intentional damage to your reputation. Although it is uncommon for a husband to accuse a wife of physical abuse, emotional abuse could be alleged. In addition, your husband could lie about having another relationship or might accuse you of infidelity. Whatever the lies, take these steps to disprove them: 

  • Keep copies of social media posts and emails that support your position.
  • Maintain a log of conversations, situations, or events, including dates and times, describing the events and keeping track of quotes to the best of your ability. Indicate if it is a direct quote or a paraphrase.
  • Collect witnesses to the events in question who will sign affidavits supporting your position.
  • Find character witnesses who can speak for your character as well as your husband’s. 

You may need to secure the help of a private investigator to follow your spouse and collect more information.                                                                                                                                                             

Lying about children

As with lies about you, lies about the children or the husband’s involvement in child-rearing are best proven with logs, pictures, social media posts, and witnesses who can give evidence to the level of involvement he had with the children, his behavior toward them, and yours. You may also be able to provide documentation from the schools regarding who attended parent-teacher meetings, who picked the children up or dropped them off, and whose signature was on checks. See our blog post, Obtaining Sole Custody in PA, for additional information. 

One final note, if you want to try to “catch” your spouse lying it is critical to talk with our office immediately, especially if you believe you can record them (over the phone or in person) in the lie. Pennsylvania law has serious wiretapping laws that require consent if either the recorder or any other parties are in the state when the recording is occurring. If you record your ex, for any reason, you could face very steep penalties without that consent.  

Whatever the type of lie, your experienced divorce attorney can subpoena records, request gag orders, and schedule depositions for your husband or his witnesses under oath, in order to uncover any inconsistencies or deceptions in your husband’s statements. At Karen A. Ulmer, P.C., we know how to protect our clients and hold lying spouses accountable. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

When couples with children divorce, many child custody issues need to be addressed, including who will pay for the children’s health insurance and out-of-pocket medical costs. If parents cannot come to an agreement out of court, the judge will decide for them. In Pennsylvania, certain general standards are followed, which may be adjusted to the family’s particular circumstances.

Who provides health insurance coverage?

The judge will look at factors such as whether one or both parents have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, the relative benefits, costs of each, and which parent is currently providing insurance. Generally, but not always, the parent paying child support and/or having the higher income will be responsible for providing health insurance coverage. In some circumstances, the cost of providing health insurance will be split between the parents, in the amount proportionate to their incomes.

According to PA law, if neither parent is able to provide medical insurance, either because there is no employer-sponsored plan or because the plan exceeds “reasonable cost,” defined as 5% of net monthly income, the court may order that the child be covered under a PA government-sponsored plan.

Within 30 days of the court order, the parent providing coverage must submit written proof to the other parent that insurance has been obtained, including insurance cards and other necessary materials.

Who pays for copays and other out-of-pocket expenses?

Copays and other medical expenses in excess of $250.00 are allocated proportionately to the parents’ income. Medical expenses include surgical, dental, optical, and orthodontics, but not cosmetic, chiropractic, or psychiatric care unless so ordered by the court.

Since doctors and hospitals do not automatically allocate their bills to each parent, contact their billing offices and establish a contract defining what percentage of each bill should be charged to each parent. Both parents should sign the contract. This will avoid having the custodial parent receive the bill and be held responsible for paying it in full, leading to either a struggle to get reimbursement from the other parent or being hounded by bill collectors.

When does the obligation to provide healthcare insurance end?

Unless otherwise stipulated in an agreement or court order, a parent’s responsibility to provide health insurance ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later.

Whenever possible, divorcing couples should work to develop an out-of-court agreement, with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer, so that no stone is left unturned and no loophole is missed. By doing so, both parents maintain control over the situation and avoid turning over to a judge the final decisions that will so closely affect their own futures and the futures of their children. Contact us here at Karen A. Ulmer, P.C. to see how we can help you.

When children are involved in a divorce in Pennsylvania, one of the most important factors to be weighed in any judgment is the best interest of the child. If your ex has full or partial custody or visitation rights of any kind and you have serious concerns about your children’s welfare due to substance abuse, it is possible to require a drug test.

It’s extremely important to have a family law attorney involved in this process. You need to be able to produce evidence or very strong reasons for your belief, not just “a feeling.” Rules of evidence must be closely adhered to in order to maximize the likelihood of your success and avoid poorly collected evidence being thrown out as inadmissible in court – or worse, illegally obtained.

The first step may be to collect some initial evidence, under the guidance of your lawyer, to demonstrate you have a solid case. The next is to have your attorney file a motion asking the court to order the drug test. There are a variety of tests from which to choose based on your particular case and the judge’s preference: urine, blood, or hair analysis will give the court the information it needs.

Before the judge can rule, there will be a hearing, at which time your attorney will present your arguments and supporting evidence. Your ex-spouse will also likely be present or have a lawyer present to argue in his or her defense.

If the judge orders drug testing, the results will determine what happens next. If the parent tested fails the test, the particular substance and the level of use would be factored in deciding what custody modifications need to be made. Someone who tests positive for occasional marijuana use will likely not be judged as harshly as someone with recent, frequent heroin abuse. The judge may also order a second drug test after 60 or 90 days to determine if the parent is able to stop abusing the substance.

Child custody or visitation may be altered based on the information from the drug test, but the parent’s access to the child may not be completely blocked unless results demonstrate a very serious and consistent use of dangerous substances. The child’s physical and emotional safety are always weighed alongside the importance of having a positive relationship with both parents. This is a very difficult balance to keep, and mistakes can be made, but the intentions are good. Children grow best when they have a healthy relationship with both parents.

If you suspect substance abuse by your ex and want a custody modification in order to protect your children, please contact us here at Karen A. Ulmer, P.C. It is critical to bring the strongest case forward the first time because if you fail the first time, a second motion is less likely to be accepted unless the situation has changed or stronger evidence has come forth. Please contact us to see how we can help you present the strongest case possible.

In Pennsylvania, a divorced custodial parent cannot move out of state without informing the other parent, who has the legal right to object and attempt to block the move. 

We know you may want to move out of state for many reasons including a job opportunity, to be closer to family, or even just a fresh start. However, the other parent, even if they do not have custody, still has a right to be involved in the decision and possibly even block it. The courts are going to want to ensure that the move is not going to interfere with the non-custodial parent’s ability to be involved in the lives of their children.

Custodial parent’s legal duty in order to move out of state in PA

The custodial parent must serve the non-custodial parent and anyone else who has partial custody or visitation rights with official notice by sending a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, 60 days before the move. If the custodial parent does not know 60 days before the move, the non-custodial parent must be informed within 10 days of the custodial parent finding out about the need to move. The letter must include:

  • Expected relocation date
  • Purpose of relocation
  • New street address, mailing address, and home phone number
  • Names and ages of everyone who will be living at the home with the children
  • Names of the new school and school district
  • Proposed adjusted visitation plans for the non-custodial parent
  • Any other relevant information

The non-custodial parent (or other person with court-assigned custody or visitation rights) has 30 days to file an objection to block the move, after which he or she loses the right to block relocation.

Factors the court considers

The burden of proof is on the relocating parent to demonstrate that the move would be beneficial to the children, improving their quality of life or standard of living without significantly affecting their relationship with the non-custodial parent in a negative way. The non-custodial parent must present arguments demonstrating valid reasons why the custodial parent should not be permitted to take the children away.

The court will weigh the factors:

  • The advantages of the move for the custodial parent and the children
  • The seriousness and validity of the moving parent’s reasons for the move. For instance, not simply because the parent wants a change of scenery or a new start
  • The seriousness and validity of the non-custodial parent’s objections
  • The level of involvement of the non-custodial parent in the children’s lives – for instance, attending sporting events and school events regularly outside of visitation time vs. only seeing or talking to the children every other weekend
  • The reasonableness of the new visitation arrangements, demonstrating no adverse effect on the relationship of the children with the non-custodial parent

Ultimately, while the court cannot stop a custodial parent from moving out of state, it can prevent him or her from taking the children. If the custodial parent still chooses to move, the custody of the children will be transferred to the other parent (or another responsible party, such as a grandparent).

If you are divorced and you or your ex is planning to move, it is critical to get help and guidance from a trusted expert in custody law. Contact us here at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C. to see how we can help you.