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Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Family Legal Blog

Is your soon-to-be ex-spouse hiding assets offshore?

Divorcing couples in Pennsylvania should spend ample time determining what assets the other spouse may have that he or she does not know about. One way some spouses try to hide assets is through an offshore account. There are a number of ways a spouse can find out if the other one is keeping money from him or her, but it can take some investigating.

According to the American Bar Association, discovering hidden assets is the only way a spouse can have access to them so this needs to be the first priority. Looking for and at certain documents is one of the techniques used. These documents may include:

  • Credit card invoices
  • Address book, paying special attention to unknown and foreign numbers
  • 1099s to ensure all brokerage accounts have been disclosed
  • Tax returns
  • Loan applications
  • Employer-based benefits such as retirement plans or stock options 
  • Bank account records, including for those holding hard assets

New tax law could make divorces more contentious

Much has been said about the new tax law passed through Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in December, both positive and negative. One aspect that seems to be affected and could impact the next year is how the law changes the taxes associated with alimony.

Under the new tax law, alimony payments will no longer be considered tax-deductible income for those who pay alimony. Those who receive alimony, however, will be able to deduct those payments from their taxes. Under previous law, the inverse was true.

What counts as parenting time interference?

It is normal for parents who do not live together to find some conflict over custody issues, but some conflict leads to parents using unfair tactics to obstruct one another's time with the child or their ability to build a relationship.

In some instances, a parent's actions may constitute parenting time interference, which is a serious violation of custody orders. If a court decides that a parent's actions violated parenting orders, the offending parent may lose privileges, or, in some extreme cases, may even lead to criminal charges.

Don't overlook medical child support issues during divorce

As a parent who is going through a divorce, it sometimes feels like you have thousands of things to negotiate with your spouse. Not only do you have to reach agreements about what do with your assets and your debt, you have a number of issues to resolve around how you plan to raise your child in the future.

If you do not fully understand these issues, not only may you find yourself surprised by unexpected expenses, your child may suffer in the process. This is especially true when it comes to a child medical care and the associated expenses.

Why is Co-Parenting Important?

When deciding matters of custody the court will consider all factors to determine the best and safest situation for the child. The number one factor, as outlined in our previous blog post 16 Best Interest Custody Factors, is "which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party."

16 Best Interest Custody Factors

Custody refers to the "legal right to keep, control, guard, care for and preserve a child". In all types of custody matters (shared physical, primary physical, partial physical, supervised physical, shared legal, and sole legal), the court will consider all relevant factors to determine which situation would be the safest for the child. These 16 factors include:

Prompt Custody Cases

According to Rule 1915.4(b), Prompt Disposition of Custody Cases, within 180 days of the filing of the complaint for custody, the court will automatically enter an order scheduling a trial before a judge. In counties where this procedure is not automatic, a party must file a praecipe, motion, or a request for trial. If the court in your county is not in the practice of automatically scheduling, and neither party files a praecipe, motion, or a request for trial within 180 days of the original filing, the court (or a motion of a party) will dismiss the case. However, sometimes the judge will grant extensions, at their discretion, or will decide it is not in the best interest of the child to dismiss the case. Either way, the extension will not last longer than 60 days after the initial 180 days.

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