One responsibility that a family or divorce attorney is charged with is to strive to take out much or if possible all of the emotion that goes into a case. This is not to say that I do not have a great deal of empathy for my clients or that I am not completely invested in the cases. Rather, my training has taught me that to win the fight and get you the things you deserve at the end of a marriage, a divorce attorney has to be your voice of reason with a clear focus upon the law. This allows you to be emotional while simultaneously pursuing a strategy designed to win. I understand a divorce is often a stressful and emotionally draining time for people, and I also know the family law system is full of pitfalls I need to make sure you don’t fall into.
Speaking of emotion, child custody, another area of family law. is a big issue for many parents. The fact that children have a deep emotional bonding with their parents makes it extremely difficult for parents to understand things like shared custody, especially if the court rules that the other parent will have primary custody. My job as your attorney (frequently wearing the divorce attorney "hat" as well as the custody attorney "hat"), is to make sure you see your child as much as possible and to meet when you want. This has to be done carefully, which is why you need a divorce attorney combined with a custody attorney or a family law attorney to help you plan it. Many jurisdictions use a parenting plan to organize each parent's time with the child or children. When each parent submits a parenting plan, the judge will look at many factors and, in the end, determine what is in the best interest of the children. As your divorce attorney, handing custody matters as well, I want to make sure the plan I present is not only in the best interests of the child and yourself but also fair, so you are portrayed as mature and willing to work with the other parent.
Along with child custody comes the issue of money and child support. Often in a custody case, with or without a pending divorce, unless there is perfectly shared custody and equivalent income of both parents, the hearing officer will recommend or the judge will order child support. The way a family court judge reaches this determination over the course of the hearings or trial is by looking at financial disclosures from both parties and their respective incomes. Depending on which parent the judge decides will be the primary custodial parent and their comparable incomes, child support may be ordered. Your family attorney is tasked with making sure to put the best foot forward, showing an ability to care for the child as the primary caregiver, and making sure the primary custodial parent is provided with appropriate funds to support the child or children.
There are many things that have to be hashed out in a divorce, especially if over the course of the marriage the married couple has accumulated assets. In Pennsylvania, parties go through a process called equitable distribution where everything from the major properties owned by the parties, which includes homes and cars, to smaller things like photographs, have to be inventoried. I have to assist you to separate every aspect of two lives. This can be an emotional journey for the people involved, which is why you need to have your divorce attorney work for you and make sure you get the things you want and deserve.