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.

The attorney-client privilege allows a client to prevent the disclosure of some communication between the client and their attorney, their agents, and employees. It is a way to encourage clients and their attorneys to be open and honest with each other because these communications should be confidential. 

But this privilege will not block every kind of communication. Under some circumstances, a client can waive this protection, and disclosure by an attorney could also result in others learning of what was said or written. 

How Does This Privilege Work? 

Pennsylvania law generally protects the confidentiality of certain communications between an attorney and their client. These protections are granted so clients can safely and fully disclose sensitive and possibly damaging information to receive proper legal advice. 

A client can refuse to disclose these communications and prevent others from disclosing confidential communications or information that would reveal a confidential communication. The parties to that communication are not just the client and attorney. They could be: 

  • The client or their representative and the client’s attorney or their representative 
  • The attorney and the attorney’s representative 
  • The client’s representatives or between the client and their representative 

The privilege can be claimed by: 

  • The client 
  • The attorney or their representative at the time of the communication, but only for their client 

The privilege does not cover others who may be harmed by the release. 

What are the Privilege’s Limits? 

The exceptions to allowing some communications to be kept secret include:  

  • If the attorney’s services or advice were sought or obtained to enable or help anyone commit or plan to commit what the client knows, or reasonably should know, was a crime or fraud 
  • Communications relevant to a possible breach of duty by the lawyer to the client or by the client to the attorney 

This confidentiality can be lost if you do certain things or fail to do other things: 

  • You intentionally disclose or agree to disclose the confidential communication’s subject matter 
  • You or your attorney fail to object to the communication’s disclosure during a legal proceeding 

The privilege is not waived if the disclosure is accidental and you and your attorney take reasonable steps to prevent further exposure and to correct the mistaken release. 

How Does This Affect Me? 

If you have retained our services, do not disclose to others any discussions we, our employees, or others we have retained have had. If the opposing party can show you are spilling the beans to others, we will have a hard time arguing to a judge that those are our secret beans and no one else’s. Some things are not anyone else’s business, including conversations with and information provided to or by your attorney. 

This includes not just verbal discussions but anything in writing, whether that is letters, forms, or emails we send you or that you send to us. The possible damage to your case far outweighs whatever benefit you think you may gain. 

Contact Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., if you have questions about this important topic. Call us at (866) 311-4783 or complete our online contact form today. 

Discovery is a critical piece of any divorce here in Bucks County.  Discovery refers to the sharing of information by both parties.  It can be formal (involving court orders) or informal when both attorneys are satisfied that ALL information has been shared. Although there are limits on what must be disclosed, both parties should cooperate fully and honestly when they provide information and documents so that the issue can be resolved completely and fairly. 

How Does Discovery Work? 

Discovery happens after a complaint is filed and, depending on the case, could take months or years. It includes: 

  • Questions (or interrogatories)   
  • Documents in physical or electronic form (or requests for production) 
  • Admission or denial of factual statements (or requests for admissions) 
  • Opportunity for a party’s attorney to question the opposing party and their witnesses under oath while the process is being recorded or transcribed (a deposition)

These requests need to be relevant and not overly complex or argumentative. Certain things are out of bounds, like communications between a party and their attorney. Inquiries into what happened long before the marriage or about issues that will not shed any light on what is in dispute (something lawyers like to call a “fishing expedition”) are also inappropriate.  

The attorney representing the party receiving such discovery requests can object to them and not respond or only respond partially. If the attorney propounding the requests wants to push the issue, they can ask the case’s judge to decide whether the objection is valid or not and, if so, what limits there can be to the response. 

Is Discovery a Big Deal? 

The importance of discovery varies on the complexity of the matter. If it is fairly simple, like a divorce between a couple with few assets and no kids, it is less critical. The more complicated the case, the more important discovery becomes. If a: 

  • Spouse owns a business, there will be questions asked and documents requested concerning its financial situation, how profitable it is, and whether it is being used to hide marital property 
  • Spouse is accused of abusing or neglecting kids in a custody dispute, those allegations need to be proven. Parties and witnesses will be deposed to determine if there is any substance to the claims 
  • Party uses an expert to put a value on a family-owned business or marital property like real estate or an art collection, questions about that can be asked, and the expert should be deposed. The same is true if a parent involved in a custody dispute hires a child psychologist to evaluate a child and their relationship with their parents  

Discovery helps both parties fully understand the facts and issues involved. They can adjust their strategy if the facts are not what they expected. Additional facts may fuel new legal issues. 

This improved understanding also puts the parties in a better position to negotiate a settlement. All the relevant facts should be known, and the strengths and weaknesses of both sides’ cases should be more apparent. Instead of having a judge or jury decide the matter, the parties take control and resolve the matter themselves. 

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust 

If you are considering a divorce or have questions about the legal process, call our office at (215) 608-1867. We can speak over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in our Doylestown or Langhorne offices.  

A divorce ends a marriage, but if the spouses are parents, divorce does not end their relationship. If you are divorcing in Pennsylvania or if you are involved in a dispute over child support after your divorce, you must be advised and represented by a Pennsylvania child support attorney.

After a divorce in Pennsylvania, will a parent be obligated to pay for a child’s college tuition? What are a Pennsylvania parent’s rights and obligations when it comes to child support? What do divorced and divorcing parents need to know about the child support laws in this state?

If you’ll keep reading this brief discussion of a divorced parent’s child support obligations in Pennsylvania, these questions will be answered, and you will also learn how a Pennsylvania family law attorney will provide the legal help you may need in a child support dispute.

How Does Pennsylvania Law Address Child Support?

All Pennsylvania parents are legally obligated to provide financial support for their children. When a divorce is finalized, a child support order will be issued by the court requiring one parent to make monthly payments to the other parent to share the expenses of child-raising.

The parent who has the most time with the child (the “custodial parent”) usually receives child support payments from the other (“noncustodial”) parent. Pennsylvania law presumes that a custodial parent already supports the child financially.

The amount of child support ordered by the court is based on the state’s child support guidelines, which take into account the number of children and the income of each parent. Judges have some flexibility to account for a child’s needs, a parent’s ability to pay, and the custody arrangement.

When May Judges Diverge From the Child Support Guidelines?

On the basis of the factors listed below, a Pennsylvania judge may increase or decrease the amount of child support indicated by the state’s child support guidelines:

  1.  a parent’s or child’s unusual needs or unusual obligations
  2.  a parents’ other child support obligations
  3.  the child’s age
  4.  the combined assets and liabilities of the parents
  5.  medical costs not covered by health insurance
  6.  the family’s standard of living
  7.  most importantly, the child’s best interests

In any matter involving a child that comes before a Pennsylvania court, the child’s best interests will always be the court’s highest priority.

For How Long Are Child Support Payments Required?

In most cases, a noncustodial parent in Pennsylvania must make child support payments until a child reaches the age of 18. If the child is physically or emotionally challenged or disabled, the court may order child support payments to continue beyond the child’s 18th birthday.

Generally speaking, the expenses of a child’s education are addressed in the divorce process along with the other child support issues.

While several states require some divorced parents to pay for their children’s college expenses, Pennsylvania does not require college expense payments or reimbursement for those payments from a parent.

Should You Negotiate College Costs With the Other Parent?

Nevertheless, to keep a dispute over child support payments from emerging in the future, you may choose to negotiate college tuition costs during the divorce process. Take into account scholarship opportunities and other tuition payment options, and adhere to your lawyer’s advice.

A modification of the child support order may be requested at any time, and is sometimes necessary, but you will save time and money by negotiating with the other parent and reaching agreements, if possible, during the divorce process. Here are several possible options:

  1.  In some cases, a parent who served in the military may transfer GI Bill benefits to a child or spouse. If that parent is the noncustodial parent, he or she may negotiate, for example, that the transfer covers a child’s college expenses or decreases child support payments.
  2.  If one parent is employed by a college or university, these institutions often reduce tuition for employees’ families, but a negotiated agreement with the other parent must consider what happens if the parent leaves the job or a child doesn’t wish to attend that institution.
  3.  When parents negotiate a child support agreement, they should also determine what effect a scholarship award to the child may have on the amount each parent has agreed to pay.

When May a Child Support Agreement Be Changed?

The courts understand that life’s circumstances change. When you divorce, it is impossible to know the future. Over time, parenting plans and child custody orders can become outdated or unworkable.

However, if you need to change a negotiated child support agreement or a court-ordered child support arrangement, you will need to have a Pennsylvania child support attorney request a modification of the agreement or order on your behalf.

Pennsylvania courts will approve only those modifications that are considered to be in the child’s best interests. Child support modifications may be sought for reasons that include but are not limited to:

  1.  a change in the amount of time either parent spends with the child
  2.  a change in the child’s medical, educational, or child care needs
  3.  a remarriage by either parent or the birth of a new child to either parent
  4.  either parent’s loss of a job, a parent’s new job, or a parent’s need to relocate
  5.  the serious injury, incarceration, or institutionalization of either parent
  6.  anything that greatly impacts the child, either parent, or the child support arrangement

What Else Should Parents Know?

As mentioned previously, Pennsylvania does not require college expense payments or reimbursement for those payments from a parent. Nevertheless, it is a smart idea to reach an agreement in the divorce settlement regarding a child’s college expenses.

If you are a parent who is divorcing, considering a divorce, or anticipating a divorce, if you need a modification of your child support order, or if you need to challenge the other parent’s requested modification of the child support order, you must be advised and represented by a Pennsylvania family law attorney, and you must contact that attorney as soon as possible.

Divorce and family law are complicated in the State of Pennsylvania. You can’t go it alone. Get the help you need – as quickly as you can – from a family law attorney you can trust.

The right family law attorney will help you obtain a fair and proper child support arrangement while ensuring that your rights – and your child’s best interests – are protected throughout the legal process.

There may be times where a Grandparent is worried about the situation that they see their grandchild in. They might be concerned for their safety or well-being. Other times it could be that the grandchild has lived with them for some time now and they just want to have an official document saying that the child is in their custody. They might need a custody order in order to be able to sign off on certain things for the child. The fact is that in Pennsylvania it is possible for a Grandparent to get custody, however there is certain criteria that needs to be met.

In Pennsylvania in order for a grandparent to get custody rights they need to have standing. To have standing means that your scenario complies with what the law says is required in order to get custody. To have standing a grandparent of the child cannot be in loco parentis. To be in loco parentis means acting as the parent in place of the parent. Usually you have to be in that situation for a long period of time. The next requirement by law is that the grandparent must have a relationship with the child that started with the consent of the parents. The next requirement is that the grandparent assumes or is willing to assume responsibility for the child.

The next requirement requires that one of the following scenarios is true.

(A) the child has been determined to be a dependent child under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters);

(B) the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or

(C) the child has, for a period of at least 12 consecutive months, resided with the grandparent, excluding brief temporary absences of the child from the home, and is removed from the home by the parents, in which case the action must be filed within six months after the removal of the child from the home.


Either A, B, C also needs to apply in order to have standing for custody as a Grandparent. However, even if you do not have standing for custody, you might have standing as a Grandparent for visitation, which is different. If you do not have standing by are curious about whether you have standing for visitation be sure to see my blog post on Grandparent visitation rights. If you are a Grandparent in Pennsylvania and want custody of your Grandchild pleas schedule an appointment with us today.

If you have children and have previously been through the custody process with the Court it is likely that it resulted with a Court Order. A Court Order for custody is issued in a Custody proceeding. This Order will direct which parent has legal and physical custody. Legal Custody is the right to make decisions for your child. Decisions such as where they go to school, what doctors they see, if they are involved in any religious activities would all fall under legal custody. The Custody Order will specify if one parent has sole legal custody or if legal custody is shared. If parents have shared legal custody they must consult each other about decisions in their children’s lives. A Custody Order will also direct who has physical custody. Physical custody is who the children are physical with. An Order could direct that one parent has sole physical custody or that the physical custody is shared. If the physical custody is shared the Order will probably also set out a schedule as to when the children are with each parent.

If you have a Custody Order and circumstances have changed or new developments have occurred you might think that the Order needs to be changed because the situation has. That is ok. Custody is always modifiable. If you have a Custody Order and you are seeking it to be changed we can help you with that. We would file a Modification of Custody requesting that the Custody be modified. If you are in Pennsylvania and have a Custody Order that you need to have changed, please call our office for a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your options.

If you have children, and are going through a divorce or separation a major thought on your mind is probably what is going to happen with the kids? Who is going to get custody? How is custody decided? What are the different types of custody schedules? These are all very valid and important questions and I know these thoughts can cause anxiety, fear and worry as well. This will give you a little overview on the types of custody in Pennsylvania to try inform you of more information and try and answer some of your questions.

First of all, there are two types of custody. There is legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make decisions for child. Decisions such as where your child attends school, what doctors your child sees, if they are involved in any religious activities are all examples of what would fall under the category of legal custody. Usually legal custody is shared between parents, however in some circumstances legal custody may be solely awarded to one parent.

Next, there is physical custody. Physical custody refers to who the child is physically with. Typically, in any court order there would be an included physical custody schedule. The first kind of physical custody is sole physical custody. This is where one parent has physical custody of the child 100% of the time. Another form of physical custody is shared legal custody where parents share physical custody time. The two common schedules with shared physical custody are 50/50 or a primary/partial schedule. In a 50/50 physical custody schedule the parents share custody and each have the child 50% of the time. A common schedule for this is called a 2, 2, 3 schedule where one parent has the child Monday and Tuesday night, the other parent Wednesday and Thursday night and then the parents alternate week to week who has the child Friday through Sunday. There are other schedules that can be worked out as well. With a primary/partial schedule this is where one parent has physical custody time more than the other. An example of this type of schedule would be where one parent has custody every other weekend. A third custody arrangement could also be supervised visitation. This would mean that one parent would have custody of the child however the other parent has the right to visit with the child so long as they are properly supervised.

Section 5325 of the Domestic Relations laws sets out the circumstances under which grandparents and great-grandparents may petition for partial custody/visitation. One of three conditions must be met: (1) a parent of the child is deceased; (2) the parents of the child have been separated for at least six months AND don’t agree on whether the grandparent or great-grandparent should have custody/visitation; or (3) the child has lived with the grandparents or great-grandparents for at least 12 consecutive months provided a petition is filed within six months after the child is removed from the home.

Non-biological grandparents also have the right to seek grandparent visitation rights where they stand in loco parentis to one of the parents of the child and it’s in the child’s best interest. In loco parentis embodies an assumption of parental status as well as an actual discharge of parental duties giving rise to a relationship which is the same as between parent and child. It is also possible for grandparents to request primary custody under Section 5324 of the Domestic Relations laws if they stand in loco parentis to the child. Again, in loco parentis means more than just taking on a frequent caretaker position. Under Section 5324, a grandparent can also file where they are unable to establish in loco parentis but can establish an existing relationship with the child and that the child is at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, or drug/alcohol abuse.

Sections 5324 and 5325 of the Domestic Relations statute sets out the circumstances under which grandparents and great-grandparents may petition for custody/visitation. Section 5324 deals with partial custody or visitation and requires that at least one of three conditions be met: (1) a parent of the child is deceased; (2) the parents of the child have been separated for at least six months and do not agree on partial custody/visitation to a grandparent or great-grandparent; or (3) the child has lived with the grandparents or great-grandparents for at least 12 consecutive months provided a petition is filed within six months after the child is removed from the home.

Section 5325 deals with standing to request primary physical custody as well as legal custody. Grandparents must establish the relationship began with the consent of the parents, they are willing to assume responsibility for the child and the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity. After establishing standing, the best interests analysis that is conducted in all custody cases still applies and the court must weigh all relevant factors. Section 5328(c), concerning custody awards to grandparents and great-grandparents, requires the court to specifically consider amount of personal contact between the child and the grandparent prior to filing and whether an award of custody to a grandparent or great-grandparent would interfere with any parent-child relationship.

When two people have a child together, whether married or not, sometimes it just does not work out and they decide to separate. It is great when two parents who are no longer together have a strong co parenting relationship and can remain amicable with each other for the sake of their children. If you find yourself in one of those relationships you might think that you do not need a child support order because you and the other parent work everything out on your own and so far you have had no issues. While it may seem great that you are able to work everything out between the two of you, it is best to seek a child support order issued by the court.

Why would you want to get a child support order when you have been working it out yourselves? What happens if the payments that you have relied on and worked out between you two stop coming in. What course of action do you have? You call the other parent, you email them but no matter what you do they still are not receiving any financial assistance for your child. They keep telling you they will have it to you soon and then months go by and you have not received anything. By having a child support order you are protecting yourself from this scenario. In most child support orders, if the other parent is a W-2 employee, the child support will be attached to the other parent’s wages so as long as they are being paid you can be assured you will get your support payment. If there is an order and the payments are made directly to you and they stop paying you have options there as well if you have a support order. You can file for enforcement of the child support payments. Having a child support order protects and reassures you that the financial support you rely on for your child will not just disappear one day.