(Alimony Pendente Lite)
The annual payment of an allowance or income. Commercial annuities are usually issued by an insurance company or investment company in exchange for an initial monetary deposit. They can also be issued by a charity, in exchange for a donation. The purchase of an annuity can be part of an estate plan or could be part of the monetary settlement from an injury or malpractice claim.
Abandonment (of a child or spouse)
The voluntary act of leaving a child or spouse with no plan to return. Parents are considered to have abandoned a child if they do not provide financial support or have no contact with the child over a period of time. Abandoning a child is grounds for losing parental rights. Abandonment of a spouse occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home without the consent of the other. Abandonment of a spouse is grounds for divorce.
Alimony is payments made from one spouse to another after a divorce. Alimony is only granted in limited circumstances in Pennsylvania and is either rehabilitative or permanent. Permanent alimony is usually awarded when one spouse is either of advanced age or has a physical or mental disability. Rehabilitative alimony is a temporary measure designed to help the recipient spouse get back on his or her feet.
A trial held before a judge only. The judge will listen to the facts of the case and make a determination of guilt or innocence as well as setting appropriate penalties. For most states, in a criminal trial, a bench trial may happen if the defendant has waived his or her rights to a jury trial. In a civil trial, both parties in the dispute must agree to waive their rights to a jury.
Collaborative Law Divorce
A newer divorce process where both spouses are represented by lawyers but an agreement is created and signed in advance (by both spouses and their attorneys) about the way in which the divorce will be conducted. Collaborative divorce agreements include goals of having spouses and their attorneys meet together to try to negotiate a settlement and participants make a promise not to threaten each other, play games, or end up going to court. If the parties canít find agreement without ending up in court, Collaborative Law attorneys agree to withdraw from the case, creating financial motivation for them to help the process work. The Collaborative Divorce process is designed to be faster, less expensive, more private, and less confrontational but it may not be appropriate if the spouses are too adversarial or unable to negotiate in good faith.
Common law marriage
When two people become legally married by living together for a long period of time. There is no ceremony or license. The couple must intend to be married and present themselves as a married couple for the common-law marriage to be valid. Common-law marriage is valid in eleven states. Pennsylvania recognizes common law marriage only if entered into prior to 2005 . Common-law marriage can only be ended by annulment, divorce, or death.
Custody refers to the legal status that details who will be responsible for day-to-day care of the child, with whom the child will live most frequently, who will have the right to make long-term decisions about the child, and when/how often the child will spend time with each parent as well as where the child will attend school. Pennsylvania recognizes two different types of custody Ė physical (physical possession of the child) and legal (the right to make major decisions concerning the child). Pennsylvania also recognizes several different forms of custody as well; full custody - one person has physical and legal custody; partial custody - the non-custodial parent can have the child in their home at certain set times; visitation - the non-custodial parent can see the child but only at a certain place and under certain circumstances; and shared custody- both parents have roles in the child's upbringing and the physical custody.
A process wherein a neutral third party, who may or may not be an attorney, helps spouses try to reach an acceptable divorce agreement. Divorce Mediation is typically faster, less expensive, more private, and less confrontational than a traditional divorce but it may not be appropriate if the spouses are too adversarial or unable to negotiate in good faith. Sometimes spouses go through a divorce mediation process but have a family law attorney review the divorce agreement before it becomes final.
Severe differences between spouses that can not be worked out. These differences lead to a breakdown of the marriage. Most states let couples state irreconcilable differences as a reason for divorce.
No Fault Divorce
A divorce where the spouse suing for divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong in order to be granted the right to legally end the marriage. In most states, a spouse must simply state a reason that the state recognizes as legitimate, like irreconcilable differences or living separate and apart for more than one year.
Power of Attorney
A document which gives someone the power to act on a personís behalf with respect to certain situiations and transactions. Power of Attorney may be granted for medical, financial, or transactional purposes.
Protection From Abuse Order
A court order which protects the petitioning party or their minor children if they are in danger of physical abuse and need immediate protection. Orders can be obtained against a family or household member, which includes a spouse or former spouse, person who lives or lived with the petitioner as a spouse; brother or sister; parent or child; family member related by blood or marriage; current or former sexual or intimate partner; and someone with whom the petitioner has a child in common. The order typically instructs the defendant not to abuse, harass, or stalk the plaintiff, their relatives or minor children. It will also order the defendant to be removed from the home where both parties live and grant the plaintiff possession of the home. The order may also address temporary custody arrangements for minor children as well.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
A law passed by Congress which helps with division of pensions after a divorce. Once the worker is legally allowed to receive pension distributions, QDROís require the plan administrator to divide the pension, without penalty. If the worker is still working and contributing to the pension at the time of divorce (and creation of the QDRO), the portion that will eventually be distributed to the ex-spouse only includes the marital portion.
An arrangement where only one parent has full control and care of a child. This parent makes all the decisions about the childís life, including health care, education, religion, and where the child will live. The other parent makes no decisions about how the child will be cared for and raised.
Spousal support payments are made to a financially dependent spouse after the spouses have separated and before the divorce is filed.