Tag Archive for: Bucks County divorce

If you are divorcing, you need the support and understanding of friends and family to help you through the process. What you do not need is bad advice that, if followed, can harm your interests and increase the cost and complexity of the process. 

If you talk to someone about your divorce and the issues that come with it, you could get a variety of reactions. The other person may want to change the subject. They may have been divorced in the past and provide you with helpful insight.  

They could also be well-meaning but give you misinformation or inappropriate suggestions based on what they have read on social media or the supposed experiences of their friends and family members. You need to filter out the wheat from the chaff. 

Bad divorce advice:  

Over the years, clients have told us plenty of incorrect, illegal, and just plain whacky ideas they have heard. Here are a few that are worth avoiding: 

  1. You Should Lie to Get the Best Divorce Possible 

It could be making up abuse by a spouse, hiding assets, distorting important conversations with your spouse, or claiming you do not remember something that you clearly do. Chances are this will poison whatever goodwill is left with your spouse. The case will head to litigation, not a settlement, and your duplicity will probably be exposed. 

You may have been in a good position to reach your goals, but your dishonesty may effectively set your case on fire. Judges have enough to deal with and do not have patience for liars. Neither do we. We have enough honest clients to serve. We do not want to work with dishonest ones. It is not worth the grief. 

  1. You Should Save Money and Represent Yourself 

Representing yourself may be a good idea in limited circumstances. If the two of you are childless, have low incomes and few assets, and want the relationship to end, then representing yourself is worth considering.  

However, while you may think you are saving money by representing yourself rather than hiring an attorney, more than likely it will cost you in the long run.  The legal process can be complicated and you could waive rights, trust your ex a bit too much, or not take care of details causing you headaches and significant issues in the future.  

You may qualify for help from legal aid organizations, depending on your circumstances. You may also receive financing to help pay for our services. 

Anyone thinking about a divorce should at least talk to an attorney. When we talk to prospective clients, we often spot issues they did not know about or thought were unimportant. If an attorney is not protecting your rights and interests, you may end up with a divorce that is not in your best interest. It may cost you far more in the long term than what you saved in legal bills. We can help you keep your costs down. 

  1. Spend Money While You Can 

Going on shopping sprees, enjoying an expensive vacation, or showering friends and family with gifts sounds like great fun, but it is not a good idea if you are getting divorced. It comes with equitable or fair asset and debt distribution. There will be a formal moment when you and your spouse decide to divorce. Once you establish that point, you will be responsible for your spending.  

By spending money owned by the two of you, you will end up with less when all is said and done. That wasted money will be subtracted from what you may have received. It will not come out of your spouse’s pocket. You also risk being cut off from funds if your spouse asks a court to freeze assets you might abuse, and you, not the two of you, may end up with your credit card bill. 

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust  

If you are considering getting divorced or have decided it is right for you, call us at (215) 608-1867 or schedule a consultation online now. We can discuss your situation over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in our Langhorne or Doylestown office. 

If you are a divorced or separated parent, you probably share physical custody of your child or children. This means you are with your child physically, spend time with them, and supervise your child. The law presumes a child is better off spending time with both their parents, though custody rights can be limited depending on the situation. 

What is Custody? 

There are two types: 

  • Legal custody gives the adult the right to make important decisions for the child. This covers essential issues like medical care, legal issues, education, and religious practices or beliefs. 
  • Physical custody refers to who is physically with and overseeing the child.

One person has sole legal custody of a child, or it is shared. Physical custody is: 

  • Sole: One person has these rights, and the child spends their time with them. 
  • Joint or Shared: Normally, two people have these rights. The child spends about half their time with each. 
  • Primary: The child spends most of their time with one adult. 
  • Partial: The child spends some time with this person, the rest with the party having primary physical custody. 

If the parties cannot agree on who should have physical custody and what type, the issue can be litigated, and a judge will decide the issue based on the child’s best interests. If there is an agreement, the judge will review and possibly reject it based on the same standard. 

How Does Joint Physical Custody Work? 

In most cases, the ideal joint physical custody arrangement will be for the child to spend the same time with each parent or close to it. Practical realities often stand in the way of that perfect outcome, such as: 

  • The distance between the parents’ homes 
  • Where the child attends school 
  • The parents’ work schedules 
  • The child’s after-school activities and schedule 

To try to deal with these limitations, the parties should come up with a parenting time plan (which is submitted to the court as part of the custody process). Parenting time is the time a parent spends with a child. The plan maps out which parent will spend what time with the child. The parties should look at their situations and develop the best plan possible. They should try it, and if it is not workable, be flexible enough to adjust it. 

What are Our Options? 

A common approach is a 2, 2, 3 schedule. One parent has the child Monday and Tuesday nights, the other has Wednesday and Thursday nights, and the parents alternate weekly for Friday through Sunday. This presumes the child is too young for school, or the parents’ homes are close enough for the child to attend the same school, and neither parent works nights or weekends. 

Another way to share physical custody is to find a way to equally split time by the child being with one parent during the school year, weekends are shared between the two parents, holidays are split, and the other parent has the child when school is not in session. This approach is more practical if the parents do not live in the same area. 

This is not about a child punching a clock, so they are with a parent precisely half the time. The focus should not be on an equal quantity of time, but on maximizing the quality of time the child has with each parent, given everyone’s schedules and commitments. 

Child Custody Lawyers You Can Trust   

If you have questions about physical custody or want legal representation in a custody matter, call Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., at (215) 752-6200 today.

Bucks County and Central New Jersey have large immigrant communities, so it is not unusual for another country’s laws to impact the divorce of someone living here. No matter where the parties are or whose laws are used, the more reasonable and cooperative the spouses are, the easier the process.  

If you believe your spouse may file for divorce and/or child custody in another country, it is critical that we speak immediately to protect your rights as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is best to gather all of your IDs (and those of your children) and place them somewhere for safekeeping. Do not allow your spouse to take your children out of the country. 

What is an International Divorce? 

Another country’s laws may apply to a divorce, depending on the circumstances. When this happens, it is considered an international divorce. International divorces involve spouses married in another country or one or both of them: 

  • Live in another country 
  • Own property in another country 
  • Are another country’s citizens 

If you think you fall into this situation, contact our office immediately. International divorces can be like a complex machine. You do not want to get caught up in the gears, and what you do and when may impact the outcome. 

Why File for Divorce in One Country and Not the Other? 

Part of a country’s culture is its view of marriage, parenthood, and the equality (or lack thereof) between the sexes. That affects their laws. A country may provide less legal protection and rights to a wife than a husband when they divorce.  

Someone may file for divorce in their home country, not the US because they think the laws there are tilted in their favor. They believe it will be easier to get what they want through a trial or they believe the foreign country’s laws will give them negotiation leverage. 

Who Has Jurisdiction? 

The courts of more than one country may claim jurisdiction or the ability to decide the matter. Each country has its own laws and court processes. Every divorce issue can be impacted, whether that is child custody, child support, alimony, or division of assets and debts. 

One factor is where the initial filing was made. But it is not just a race to the courthouse. To have jurisdiction, the country where papers are filed must meet two requirements: 

  • It must recognize your marriage exists. In the US, most marriages that are legally entered into in another country are recognized. That is not always true in other countries, especially if a spouse wants a divorce in their same-sex marriage.  
  • The party filing the divorce must satisfy the country’s residency requirements. For example, if you do not live, and never have lived, in France, filing for a divorce in France would be a waste of time.

A “dual filing” occurs when one spouse files in the US and the other files in another country. US courts will consider several issues when they decide if they have jurisdiction: 

  • Where is the property at issue?  
  • Does the foreign court have a greater interest in the divorce? If so, what is it? 
  • Does at least one spouse live in the state where the divorce was filed? 
  • If it is a fault-based divorce or if evidence is needed in the case, which jurisdiction is where more evidence is located?  
  • Will the spouse living in the US face considerable hardships if forced to participate in the foreign jurisdiction? 

International divorces can involve complex issues, and judges may be forced to make difficult decisions.  

Jurisdiction is Only the Beginning 

No matter where proceedings occur, jurisdiction only allows a court to make decisions. What is left are the other issues in dispute. After the divorce is finally adjudicated, there are other potential problems when a party tries to enforce a divorce order from one country in another country. 

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust  

If an international divorce might be in your future, call us at (215) 608-1867 or schedule a consultation online now. You do not have time to waste, and you must make informed decisions to get the best outcome. We can discuss your situation over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in our Langhorne or Doylestown office.  

The state’s child support laws create a system in which parents are obligated to support their own children. This requirement includes daily living expenses, including healthcare and daycare.   

Usually, one parent is the primary caregiver, and the other pays to help with the child’s needs. The money is not for the custodial parent’s benefit. It is to be spent on the child.  

Child support is also an issue during divorce proceedings when the spouses have a child. It could be one of many issues that must be resolved before the divorce is final. If the parents are living apart, a child support agreement or order can go into effect while the parents are still married. 

How Do I Start the Process? 

Child support can be arranged in several ways. Parents can agree on support and ask a judge to approve the agreement through a support order in a divorce or other family law proceeding. Most cases start when a parent completes an Application for Child Support and submits it to their local Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) office. If your case involves other circumstances, we can help you work with BCSE to:   

  • Find a noncustodial parent 
  • Establish paternity if the child is born outside of marriage 
  • Establish support obligations 
  • Collect and distribute support 
  • Enforce support obligations 

What are Bucks County Child Support Payments Based On? 

Support is based on the reasonable: 

  • Needs of the child  
  • The ability of the non-custodial parent to pay 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court creates support guidelines and should be the basis of any agreement. Judges also use them to develop a figure if no deal is reached. Guidelines are driven by the parents’ monthly income. Both parents may be ordered to pay support for a child not in their care. 

The most essential factors in the guideline include: 

  • The parents’ incomes 
  • Daycare costs 
  • Health insurance expenses 
  • The number of minor children of each parent 
  • Social Security benefits a child may receive 
  • The child’s living arrangements 

A judge will review the support amount at least every four years. After an order has been signed, if changed circumstances justify it, a parent can ask that the amount be increased or decreased. 

How Can Support Be Spent? 

Support can pay for: 

  • Food 
  • Clothing 
  • Shelter 
  • Medical insurance 
  • Medical expenses 
  • Education expenses 
  • Child care 
  • Visitation travel costs 
  • Extracurricular activities 

Child support obligations continue until the child is 18 or graduates high school. Child support payments may continue if they have special needs or continue their education. 

How are Child Support Orders Enforced? 

When a non-custodial parent does not pay the full support amount on time, they violate a court order and may face serious consequences. The receiving parent could file a court action to enforce the order, with or without an attorney’s help.  It is not wise to ignore a support order.  

A parent could also request help from BCSE, which can enforce child support orders by pursuing unpaid amounts on your child’s behalf. Typically, there is a small fee to start a case. BCSE has several enforcement tools at its disposal.  

Which approach is right for you depends on your circumstances. If child support is one of several matters we help you with, it makes sense for us to handle this issue, too. If you do not have money to spend on an attorney, BCSE is a good choice. 

We Can Help You Achieve Your Child Support Goals  

Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., lawyers believe that, unless there is an agreement, parents should not receive less child support or pay more than the law requires. Whether you pay or receive child support, if you have questions about it or need legal representation, book a 15-minute consultation by filling out our online form.  

We think of a new year as a re-birth, an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and change our lives. That could be changing jobs, living healthier, going on that vacation you dream of, or ending your dysfunctional marriage. If you have had enough of marriage and decide it is time to move on, Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., is here to help.

Holidays are stressful when a marriage is on the verge of breaking up, especially if you have kids. You feel the need to “keep up appearances” to family and friends. You want your kids to have a positive holiday season, not one filled with thoughts of parents going their own ways. That is all perfectly reasonable, and it may be easier to do knowing that you will not need to continue your charade next year, so make the most of it.

Talk to Your Spouse

If you have not discussed a divorce with your spouse, unless you are in an abusive relationship and fear for your safety, you should. Ideally, you will be on the same page and can limit disagreements. When each spouse is reasonable and respectful, the process can go much faster, with less stress and expense. It is also far easier on children when the relationship ends on a positive (or at least not negative) note.

Contact Our Office

Holidays and obligations in November and December cut into the time and energy needed to prepare for a divorce. No matter how hectic your schedule, take the time to call our office and schedule a consultation. We can discuss your situation, what you need to do to prepare to get divorced, and how we can help. Together, we can “game plan” how to accomplish your goal of getting divorced.

Get Organized

Whether you start this year or after the holidays, collect and organize critical financial information and documents, including those concerning:

  • Mortgages
  • Home equity loans or lines of credit
  • Credit scores and reports
  • Debts such as credit cards, student and vehicle loans
  • Property ownership
  • Investments
  • Retirement savings
  • Bills from private schools or colleges showing tuition costs
  • Medical records if one or both of you have conditions limiting your income potential
  • Business ownership and finances

Starting new bank accounts just for your use is a good idea. You should also set up a new email account and rent a post office box so you can communicate with us and others without your spouse being able to monitor your communications.

Be Prepared if You Think the Divorce Will Not Go Smoothly

If you fear your spouse will not end the marriage without a financial or emotional fight, you will have to be mentally and financially prepared. Long, drawn-out proceedings cost both spouses more time, energy, and money. Mediation may be an effective way to pull a spouse out of their anger and selfishness and make them realize the best resolution is one both parties can accept. Divorce is about starting new lives, not inflicting pain and revenge.

Get Emotional Help If You Need It

A divorce can come with a lot of emotional baggage. You may be angry or disappointed in yourself or your spouse. You may blame yourself for the end of what you imagined would be a fairy tale marriage. You may fear being alone in the future. It is very common for those undergoing a divorce to get help from healthcare professionals. You should explore this option if you feel you may need help.

Family and friends can be excellent sources of support – or not. They may tell you to stay together “for the children.” Their divorce may have involved very different issues, and their ex may have a different personality than your spouse, so what they say may be of limited use. People near you may greatly help you or give you bad advice. You must separate the good from the bad.

If It Is Time for You to Start a New Life, We Can Help  

To learn more about divorce, the legal process, or to discuss legal representation, call Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., at (215) 752-6200 or book a consultation online.  

Co-parenting after a divorce or separation can be a challenging endeavor. Both parents should consider the child’s best interests, but practical problems and an uncaring or uncooperative spouse can present serious issues. The parents should act like adults and resolve conflicts, but that does not always happen. The situation may end up in court if the parents cannot fix the problem. We help many clients out of our office in Langhorne prepare to co-parent and can also help renegotiate agreements if there are issues. Here are the most common problems:  

Communication Breakdowns 

One of the most frequent co-parenting challenges is a communication breakdown. Misunderstandings, missed messages, and ineffective communication can lead to frustration and conflict. The parties should establish clear lines of communication using methods that work best for both parents. Whether it is phone calls, emails, text messages, or co-parenting apps, communications should always maintain a respectful tone and focus on the child’s best interests. 

Differing Parenting Styles 

Co-parents often sometimes have different parenting styles and values, which may lead to disagreements about the child’s discipline, routines, and rules. The parents should act in good faith and focus on compromise and consistency. Discuss your parenting styles and establish agreed-upon guidelines for raising your children. Flexibility and a willingness to adapt may be necessary for successful co-parenting. 

Scheduling and Logistics 

Coordinating schedules for visitation, school events, extracurricular activities, and holidays can be a logistical nightmare, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts. Shared calendars or co-parenting apps can help the parties keep track of schedules and appointments. Be flexible when accommodating changes and provide the other parent ample notice if adjustments are needed. Plan for holidays and special occasions to avoid last-minute conflicts. 

Emotional Strain 

Co-parenting can be emotionally draining, potentially requiring constant interaction with an ex-partner, bringing up past grievances and hurt feelings. You can seek emotional support from friends, family, or a therapist. Co-parenting is about your children, not your past relationship. Keep conversations child-focused and keep a business-like tone when discussing parenting matters. 

Financial Disputes 

Disagreements about child support, medical expenses, and other financial matters can strain co-parenting relationships. Child support agreements and orders spell out who cares for the child and pays child support. Agreeing to changes can be a slippery slope where one compromise leads to more. You should call our office for advice on handling this situation. 

Residential Relocation 

Depending on the distance, one parent relocating due to work or personal reasons can complicate or wreck your co-parenting arrangement. You should be cooperative if this is a local move. A long-distance move could force you to rewrite your parenting plans. This is also an important issue that justifies getting legal help. 

Parental Alienation 

The other parent may attempt to alienate your child from you from the other parent, damaging the child-parent relationship. This emotional blackmail and criticism of the other parent is intended to turn the child against the targeted parent. If you suspect parental alienation, document any incidents and contact our office. Courts take parental alienation seriously, and legal remedies may be necessary to address this issue and protect the child’s relationship with you. 

The other parent may fail to comply with court-ordered visitation, child support, or other legal obligations. This may happen because they are chronically disorganized, but it is more likely this is an intentional way to punish you for the divorce and protest what they think may be unfair mandates. Like alienation, this is a serious matter. Keep records of what happens. If the other party is not acting in good faith, contact our office so we can take steps to put a stop to this behavior. 

Do Not Put Up With Co-Parenting Problems. Take Action Before They Get Worse  

Depending on your child’s age, you may co-parent for many years. Ignoring problems will only make them worse. To learn more about handling co-parenting issues or to discuss legal representation, call Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., at (866) 349-4721 or book a consultation online.   

Empty nest syndrome is a complex and emotional situation many married couples face after their children leave home for college, work, or to start their own families. A parent may feel lonely, depressed, and without purpose. They may also feel relieved, happy, and eager to start a new chapter. This emotional mash-up and other marital challenges can lead a long-married couple to divorce. 

What is Empty Nest Syndrome? 

Empty nest syndrome is the label for feelings of sadness, grief, and loneliness that parents experience when their children move out. For many couples, this period marks a significant shift in their lives.  

They must adapt to a new routine, redefine their roles, and rediscover each other as individuals and partners. While some couples successfully navigate this transition, others face considerable challenges that can strain their relationship to the breaking point. 

Why Would Empty Nest Syndrome Lead to Divorce? 

A critical reason empty nest syndrome can lead to divorce is the shift in priorities that often occurs. Parents dedicated their time, energy, and resources to raising their children for years. When they leave, couples may have more free time and the opportunity to focus on their interests and desires.  

This newfound freedom can lead to self-discovery, which may reveal that they have grown apart or developed different aspirations. These parents may struggle to redefine their identities once the nest is empty. Some couples may realize they have grown apart and have little in common beyond their children. 

Raising children often provides couples with a shared purpose and a sense of unity. When children leave, this shared purpose disappears, leaving a void that some couples struggle to fill. Couples may feel disconnected and adrift without a common goal, leading to a sense of emptiness in the relationship. 

Unrealistic expectations about life can accompany empty nest syndrome once the children are gone. Some couples may believe that their relationship will automatically improve or that they will instantly reconnect. When these expectations are unmet, disappointment and frustration can set in, leading to marital dissatisfaction and, in some cases, divorce. 

Middle-aged empty nesters also may face issues that add additional stress. Their health may start to decline. Couples may face financial problems, especially if one loses a job and paying for college dries up a chunk of their savings. They may also be burdened by their elderly parents’ health issues and need for financial help. 

Effective communication is critical to the success of any marriage, and the absence of children can reveal pre-existing communication issues. With fewer distractions and obligations, couples may become acutely aware of communication breakdowns or unaddressed conflicts that have been simmering beneath the surface. These unresolved issues can create tension and push couples toward divorce if not adequately addressed. 

What are Coping Strategies for Empty Nesters? 

While empty nest syndrome can pose significant challenges to a marriage, divorce is not inevitable. Many couples successfully navigate this transition and emerge with stronger, more fulfilling relationships. Here are some coping strategies

  1. Open Communication: Addressing feelings and concerns openly and honestly is crucial. Couples should make an effort to talk about their expectations, fears, and future aspirations.  
  2. Reconnect: Rediscover each other as individuals and as a couple. Rekindle shared interests or explore new hobbies and experiences together. 
  3. Seek Support: If you cannot turn the situation around by yourselves, you may need a therapist or counselor. Professional guidance can help couples work through challenges and improve communication. 
  4. Set New Goals: Create new goals and aspirations together. Whether they are traveling, volunteering, or pursuing personal interests, having shared goals can help couples find purpose and meaning. 
  5. Spend Quality Time Together: Prioritize quality time spent together. This could be through date nights, weekend getaways, or simply spending time talking and connecting on a daily basis. 

Your marriage is unique, so what may work for one couple may not work for another. Both parties need to openly communicate what they want for their future, but that will not be easy when one or both do not know what that is. 

It May be Time for a Divorce 

It may be time for a divorce if your relationship challenges cannot be resolved despite your best efforts. If your marriage is just a shell of what it once was, held together by the desire to remain married “for the sake of the children,” both parties may be better off going their own way. Those divorcing later in life may face health insurance, financial, and housing issues, but they may be addressed fairly through negotiations or litigation. 

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust 

If you are thinking about getting divorced or have decided it is the right choice, call us at (215) 608-1867 or schedule a consultation online now. No matter your age, you can start a new chapter in your life. We can talk over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in our Langhorne or Doylestown office. 

If you are asking, “How long does it take to get divorced in Bucks County?” you may be looking to ensure the process is quick. An approach to a divorce that will speed up the process will not only save you time, but it may also save you money, emotion, and stress. The less confrontational the divorce, generally, the less time it will take. Even if the two of you are apart on important issues, some things you can do may still shorten the process. While expediency is a reasonable goal, it should not come at the cost of settling for an unfair or inequitable resolution.  

  1. Take an Amicable Approach 

Maintaining an amicable relationship is one of the most effective ways to speed up the divorce process. You do not need to love each other. You just need to be able to work with each other and be civil. Part of that is discussing and agreeing on goals.  

An uncontested divorce, where both sides agree to the terms of the separation, can significantly reduce the time and costs associated with divorce. The more business-like the approach, the less emotion is in the mix, and the easier and faster the process will be. 

  1. Get Legal Help 

Representation by a Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., attorney who will help you navigate legal complexities, provide guidance, and ensure all the necessary steps are taken while protecting your rights and interests should save you time, effort, and grief. Depending on your situation, a do-it-yourself divorce may result in multiple mistakes, making the process longer and negatively impacting the outcome.   

  1. Organize Your Financial Documents 

Gathering and organizing all your financial documents, including bank statements, tax returns, and investment records, can streamline the divorce process. This preparation can help your attorney assess your financial situation more quickly and facilitate negotiations regarding property division and spousal support. 

  1. Commit to Negotiating a Resolution 

Very few divorce issues are resolved through trials. Nearly all divorces conclude through negotiation, with or without the help of mediation. If that is the most likely path your case will take, make the most of it. 

We can help you negotiate a comprehensive divorce agreement that covers all aspects of your divorce, including property, debts, child custody, and support. Presenting a well-structured agreement to the court can expedite the process and reduce the need for further negotiations. 

  1. Maintain Clear Communications 

Keeping open and clear communication with us will help move things along. We will promptly respond to your phone calls, and if you do the same when we contact you, the process will go faster. It will also help if you keep us informed of changes in your situation or actions by your spouse that may impact the divorce. 

  1. Use Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) 

Mediation and ADR methods can be faster and less adversarial than traditional litigation. A neutral third party can help you and your spouse agree on various issues, potentially reducing the time spent in court.  

  1. Consider a Collaborative Divorce 

Collaborative divorce is a process in which both parties and their lawyers commit to resolving the divorce without going to court. This approach encourages cooperation and can significantly expedite the process. 

We Can Help You Achieve Your Goals  

Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., attorneys can help you through your divorce in a way that minimizes the time, effort, cost, and emotion you must spend while achieving the best resolution possible. There is no guarantee your divorce will not drag on, but we will do our best to minimize it.  

If you have questions about divorce or need legal representation, book a 15-minute consultation by filling out our online form.