The Gross McGinley Domestic Relations practice group represents clients in every aspect of family law including pre-marital planning, divorce, custody, support, and adoption. Each stage often involves a different court office, with distinct policies and procedures. Our experienced attorneys help you navigate each department, and help you understand the often confusing and emotionally difficult processes involved.
Divorce is comprised of the following various interrelated but discrete components- divorce, equitable distribution, custody, and support. Of course, every case is different, and not every component will be present in each case. Nevertheless, if you are married, and are contemplating divorce, or have learned that your spouse is, we can help you achieve the best result possible.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a divorce can be obtained without demonstrating fault. This is done by direct application to the court, either by mutual consent of the parties, or after the requisite two-year period of separation has passed. In either case, the parties will need to determine whether they have a marital estate that requires division. Property and debt acquired during the marriage is considered marital and subject to division. If the parties cannot agree on the division of these assets and liabilities, the Court will, upon request, assume jurisdiction at the appropriate time, and will divide the assets in what it deems to be an appropriate fashion. Careful preparation by your legal team is essential to obtaining a fair and equitable result in this process. Our practice group, which includes one former full-time Family Court Master, is well-equipped to assist you.
Regardless of marital status, if you have children and disagree on a custodial arrangement, resolution must be sought through an entirely separate office dedicated solely to custody matters. Generally, you will begin with a custody hearing officer who will attempt to settle the disagreement and, in certain situations, be empowered to issue recommended orders concerning custodial arrangements after an evidentiary hearing. In other cases, a judge will make the ultimate custody determination following an actual trial. Once again, we can help you prepare and make the best legal case for your children.
Finally, you may be faced with issues of spousal support, alimony, or child support. Pennsylvania is a “guideline” state, meaning that questions of support obligations are determined according to a rather complicated formula. The parties’ respective gross incomes, the number of children, and custodial arrangement are all taken into consideration. Depending on those and other factors, the guidelines will set the level of necessary support. In some cases, where the parties’ combined monthly net income exceeds $20,000, a more complicated set of calculations are utilized. Again, the domestic relations practice group at Gross McGinley has the necessary expertise to assist you to obtain the best result.