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Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Family Legal Blog

Importance of naming a guardian for your children

If you have children and are working on your will in Pennsylvania, you are probably focusing on how to divide your assets among them when you pass away. However, one thing every parent must also consider is what happens to the children if you both die before they turn 18? It is imperative you name a guardian in the rare event both parents pass away earlier than expected.

According to Forbes, choosing a guardian is one of the hardest decisions parents make because there are not that many perfect choices. However, if you do not name someone, the court makes the decision, and it could be someone you personally would never choose. There are many factors involved with choosing a guardian, and one is financial. Ideally, your trust should be adequate to pay for your children's expenses, but you also should consider the financial situation of potential guardians.

What are reasons to change beneficiaries on a will?

Just because you have completed a will does not mean you never have to revisit it. In fact, you might need to return to it several times over the course of your life to name new beneficiaries or remove old ones. There are many events that can radically change a person’s life, and it is important that your last will and testament be updated to reflect that. Otherwise, you might find yourself entangled in legal problems in Pittsburgh because of outdated beneficiary designations.

According to FindLaw, people update their wills to name new children or stepchildren as heirs. Generally, biological children are automatically considered by law to inherit from their parents, but unless you specify what your children receive in your will, there is no telling how a court may award your assets to them. Also, in many jurisdictions a stepchild is not granted an automatic share of a stepparent’s inheritance. So if you wish a stepchild to inherit from you, you should name that stepchild as an heir in your will.

Custody and concerns about your ex’s behavior

Child custody is one of the most challenging aspects of divorce for many parents, and the way in which custody is awarded can have a significant impact on a child’s life. Some parents face an especially challenging time during their divorce due to a dispute over child custody, and others may have concerns about custody issues months or even years afterward. For example, you may be worried about your former spouse’s behavior and his or her ability to take care of your child. In the event that you worry about your child’s well-being, it is crucial to look into the situation and some of the options that you may have.

You may be worried about your ex’s behavior for many reasons, whether you suspect that they are verbally or physically abusing your child, or you believe that they have a substance abuse problem. Sometimes, these issues can become magnified in the wake of a difficult divorce. For example, someone may develop a drinking problem after splitting up with their spouse. On the other hand, you may be well aware of problems that your ex has been dealing with for years, and they may have even led to the breakdown of your marriage.

More women are paying spousal support

Women in Pennsylvania are often shocked to find that they may be responsible for paying alimony after divorce. In fact, according to MarketWatch, more women are paying alimony than ever before. In a recent survey, 45 percent of lawyers reported an increase in women paying for spousal support.

But, why? Traditionally, men were the breadwinners of the home. Women either gave up their careers to raise the family or would hold lower-paying and less-demanding jobs during the course of their marriage. As a result, in case of divorce, alimony provided financial maintenance, while the woman got back on her feet.

Significant alimony tax changes for 2019 and onward

You have been thinking about divorce for a while now, and you have been doing your research. While you have not actually talked to your spouse about it or filed for divorce, you want to make sure you're ready if it comes to that. You know it's wise to plan in advance to make things go smoothly when you do act.

That is smart, but one thing to be wary of is that divorce laws do change. You need to stay up to date on the most current iterations. If you wait too long, there is a chance that information you're counting on could become outdated, and that could lead to some serious mistakes. If you're dedicated to getting ready in advance, you need to do it with the most recent laws.

What to know about filing taxes after divorce

While virtually all Pennsylvania taxpayers will find that changes are in store when it comes to filing their taxes this time around, Pennsylvania residents who divorce in 2019 or later will likely notice additional variations in the way they file. At Beroes Law Center, we are well-versed in how recent tax law changes are affecting divorced and divorcing couples, and we have helped many clients navigate these and numerous other divorce-related issues.

According to Fox Business, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will significantly impact how alimony payments come into play during tax time moving forward. Before, the spouse who had a higher income could deduct the amount he or she paid in alimony on his or her taxes, while the spouse who was getting alimony would report the income.

Splitting up with a spouse living overseas

When it comes to divorce, there are different circumstances surrounding every couple’s situation. Some couples work together and amicably split up through mediation, others become involved in an extremely contentious and bitter divorce that drags out in the courtroom. For some people, divorce can be especially tricky. For example, someone may have a marital partner who is living in another country, and this may give rise to all sorts of questions. If your spouse is living overseas, it is pivotal to approach divorce carefully.

There are multiple reasons why people find themselves in this position. For example, someone may have moved to the U.S. from another country and they may decide to return to their homeland when a relationship breaks down. Or, someone may move to another country as a result of a job opportunity, and this may even be the reason for a couple’s divorce.

Paying child support after losing your job

We have covered some of the different hardships that non-custodial parents face with respect to child support payments, from the denial of passport privileges to some of the unique circumstances parents find themselves in. For some people, paying child support can be especially difficult. For example, a parent who has lost their job may have a very hard time making payments, or they may not even be able to pay their child support at all. If your job has recently been terminated, or you fear that you will be out of work soon, it is crucial to go over your options.

Whether you were hired for a seasonal position or you have been working somewhere for many years and your job was terminated unexpectedly, finding yourself out of work can be tough, especially if you have to pay child support. However, it is vital to make sure that you continue to pay child support even though your job has been cut. After all, failing to do so can lead to many harsh consequences that further complicate your life.

Should you name a beneficiary for your life insurance?

Part of your estate is a significant life insurance policy. You want to make sure that your heirs are taken care of, and this is one way to do it. You've been paying into the policy for years.

Perhaps the cheapest and easiest way to set things up is simply to name a beneficiary for the policy. When you pass away, the money goes directly to that person. Other options, such as using a trust, can be a bit more complex.

Divorce and power of attorney

Often, people decide to set up a power of attorney during their marriage. This can help provide peace of mind by allowing spouses to handle each other’s affairs in the event that one becomes incapacitated for some reason. However, things change, and some people may find that their relationship has fallen apart. When this happens, it may be necessary for some people to take a second look at various matters such as their power of attorney. After all, failing to do so could allow an ex to have access to assets as well as financial accounts, which can be particularly concerning in the wake of a bitter divorce.

Many people need to revoke their power of attorney after their marriage comes to an end, so if you have granted these powers to your ex it is important to look into the process of revocation. Moreover, you may want to designate a new person who will have this responsibility and it may also be necessary to provide your former marital partner with notification that the power of attorney has been revoked.

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