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Convicted Former Attorney General Seeks $1 Million in Divorce Case

The Morning Call reported on September 7 that Kathleen Kane, the former Pennsylvania Attorney General who resigned after being convicted of illegally leaking grand jury documents and lying about her actions, filed a petition immediately seeking $1 million from her estranged husband. Kane contends she should receive about $6 million in marital assets in the divorce, and she claimed she needed “a partial distribution of joint assets held by Christopher Kane to pay her attorney’s fees as she prepares for her sentencing and appeal of her conviction on charges of perjury and several other offenses,” according to the Morning Call.

Kathleen Kane’s petition stated that she is now unemployed and has no income other than the $19,000 in alimony and child support Christopher pays. Kathleen’s attorney told the Morning Call that financial records showed that Christopher Kane received more than $8.1 million from his family’s trucking firm, Kane Is Able, and related entities between 2013 and 2015, and he is expected to receive about $1 million this year from the companies.

The Morning Call described Kathleen’s filing as “the latest in a contentious divorce proceeding” she filed in December 2014. A judge previously ordered Christopher to pay Kathleen $100,000 in marital assets after she accused him of improperly draining about $1 million from a joint investment account without her knowledge.

Christopher, meanwhile, filed a motion earlier this year seeking to halt alimony payments because he says Kathleen intentionally delayed resolution of their divorce. According to the Morning Call, he also alleged that Kathleen spent roughly $500,000 of campaign funds to pay her defense fees prior to her trial.

A hearing to determine the amount of alimony Christopher should to pay was set for September 21. A hearing on the petition for partial distribution of assets and the dispute over financial records was set for September 23.

Lawyer for Equitable Distribution in West Chester, PA Divorce Cases

Under 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. 3502, courts are required to “equitably divide, distribute or assign, in kind or otherwise, the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct in such percentages and in such manner as the court deems just after considering all relevant factors” upon the request of either party in an action for divorce or annulment. When a couple seeking a divorce has a particularly high net worth, it can make the process of equitable distribution much more complex and contentious.

Equitable distribution does not mean that a court necessarily has to somehow determine a perfect 50/50 split of all assets involved in a marriage. It only applies to marital property, which is property or assets obtained during the marriage. Personal property obtained before the marriage or certain aspects of one partner’s situation (such as sole custody of children) can impact the amount of property that is awarded to one spouse as opposed to the other.

If you are contemplating divorce in southeastern Pennsylvania, you do not want to have to deal with any additional and unnecessary stress as it relates to a fair distribution of assets. Contact a West Chester divorce lawyer to get legal help advocating for the property that is yours and fighting for the assets you deserve.

 

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Gray Divorce: Divorce for Spouses over the Age of 50 on the Rise

iStock_000001424183XSmallWhile divorce at any age can be emotionally and financially devastating, divorce for those over the age of 50 can be especially difficult. Unlike younger married couples, older divorcees must consider the devastating consequences for retirement. Often these couples have been married for twenty or more years and have substantial assets and debts between them.

Commonly, in divorces with older spouses the parties must negotiate the terms of the following:

Alimony
Alimony, commonly referred to as spousal support, is a monthly payment paid by one spouse to the other so that the spouse in the weaker economic position can financially support his or herself. In Pennsylvania the courts have the discretion to order alimony for a specific time or lifetime.

Lifetime alimony is common in gray divorces, because, ordinarily, the spouses have been married for an extended amount of time and one spouse, generally the husband, has been the sole or primary bread winner.  While alimony payments are intended to ensure the receiving spouse can support his or herself, the amount awarded depends on several factors, including the other spouse’s earning capacity.

Should the alimony awarded not be sufficient for support the consequences could be devastating; especially when the spouse in the weaker position lacks employable skills or is in poor or declining health.

Division of Marital Assets

Ordinarily, older divorcees have acquired significant property (and debt) during the marriage, including a home (or multiple homes), vehicles, and jewelry. Unless specifically identified as separate property by proper agreement, inheritance, or gift, these items are considered marital property.

The state of Pennsylvania practices equitable distribution of marital property. During this process the court makes a valuation of the marital property and divides the property according to what is “fair”. The court will consider several factors, including length of the marriage, standard of living established during the marriage, and the income of both spouses.

While the court will weight all relevant factors when determining a fair distribution; however, this might not always be financially fair to the one or both spouses. Often divorce at an advanced age takes away a spouse’s consistent financial support, companionship, and supporting during times of illness or hospitalization. One or both spouses may be forced to downsize, sell certain property awarded in the divorce, or even relocate to a more affordable geographic area.

Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are the most important divisible assets in a gray divorce. Person age 50 and above are either quickly approaching retirement or already retired. Spouses have spent most of their careers preparing and saving for later in life when they are no longer working. Now, these funds must be divided.

Ordinarily, married couples save for retirement together. While both parties may not contribute equally, it is widely accepted that these funds will provide for the both of them considering they share a home, vehicles, and other property.

However, once a divorce occurs these same funds are expected to go twice as far because there is two of everything—two homes, including maintenance, repair, and utilities; medical costs, and basic needs. More often than not, the spouses did not anticipate a divorce and did not save enough for retirement. In this case, the spouses may be forced to work longer, downsize, or rely on children and other family for support.

What to do if Considering Divorce Over 50

If you or your spouse is over the age of 50 and considering divorce, it is important to plan. First, consult an experienced divorce attorney. Allow the experienced divorce attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices help you navigate through this difficult time.

Our team of attorneys will intently listen to your concerns and devise a strategy to make you as whole as possible following a divorce. Our team effort is to be both thorough with our analysis and honest with you about our assessment, and we’ll negotiate and argue for your fair share, regardless of your circumstances.

Call us today at (877) 529-2422 to learn more about your options during a free initial consultation. You can meet with one of our attorneys conveniently at an office location in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, West Chester, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, or Radnor.

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Options Enforcing a Custody Order

iStock_000000377682XSmallWhen an individual is awarded alimony, it has been determined by the court of law, that he or she has been left in need of financial support after a divorce. The purpose of the alimony is to help stabilize the individual’s life, and ensure that he or she is in a healthy financial situation.

In Pennsylvania, judges use a variety of factors to determine whether or not a spouse should be awarded alimony. If alimony is awarded, many of these same factors are used to determine the amount. Some of the most commonly used factors include the earning capacity of each spouse, ownership of assets, length of marriage, health of each spouse, expenses for each spouse, who the children will live with, and the expenses of the children.

The judge will analyze each spouse’s circumstances and make a determination on alimony. Alimony can either be issued for a lifetime, or a set period of time. If at any moment the spouse who is receiving alimony gets remarried, the alimony will end.

If the individual who has been ordered to pay alimony fails or refuses to do so at the scheduled time, it will greatly impact the other spouse’s ability to live a normal life. Therefore, the court reserves the right to use extreme measures in order to ensure that the alimony paid.

If you are not receiving the alimony you were awarded, it would be beneficial to consult with a family law attorney, who can help you file a motion with the court, which will initiate the processes of having the courts enforce your alimony order.

Under Title 23 § 3703 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in order to enforce alimony orders, the court can:

  • Seize the paying spouse’s assets
  • Seize profit made from real estate or rental property
  • Order spouse to pay missed payments, as well as the interest associated with them
  • Have the paying spouse arrested for contempt of court
  • Sentence the paying spouse to up to six months in jail
  • Order wage garnishments for up to 50% of the paying spouse’s monthly income

In order to expedite the process of enforcing your alimony order, it would be best to contact Lee Ciccarelli, an experienced alimony attorney who can help you get started on the process of having your alimony order forced. The sooner you seek legal help, the sooner you can start receiving the alimony payments that you deserve.

Lee Ciccarelli is a dedicated West Chester family law attorney who has years of experienced fighting for spouses and families who are not receiving the alimony payments that they are legally entitled to. Ciccarelli Law Offices has offices located in West Chester, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Radnor, Plymouth Meeting, Springfield, Malvern, and King of Prussia, which allow them to provide quality legal representation to individuals in a wide range of areas in Pennsylvania. Aside from alimony disputes, Lee Ciccarelli also focuses on cases involving child custody, child support, divorce, annulment, prenuptial agreements, among others.

 

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Custody Issues in Central Pennsylvania

ParentsChild

Custody disputes can turn very ugly, very quickly.  Anytime there is a child involved there can be very serious and extreme feelings of anger and resentment towards the parties.  Allow our Family Law Attorneys, with experience in Delaware, Chester, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Berks Counties, to represent you today and make those uncomfortable family matter more bearable.
In Pennsylvania, a custody action is initiated by filing a Custody Complaint. Once the Custody Complaint has been filed both parties will be required to attend a Parenting Classes.  Next comes a Custody mediation.

At the mediation, which you must attend without your lawyer, you can decide to come to some type of agreement about the custody of your child or you cannot come to an agreement and continue down the legal process.  If no agreement is made the next step is a Conciliation Conference which is overseen by a Master, much like a judge.

At the Conference, both the clients and their attorneys, and the mediator who was present at the Custody mediation will get the opportunity to speak with the Master. This is a very informal proceeding.  At the end of the conference the Master will issue an order stating the grounds for Legal Custody, and Physical Custody.  Legal Custody is the right to be the decision maker regarding the child’s general welfare, religion, medical treatment.  It is not uncommon for the master to order that the parties will have “shared legal custody,” meaning that they share the responsibility for these decisions, and they must agree on those decisions together.  Physical Custody represents who physically has the child at certain times.  Typically the court can divide the time anyway it sees fit, as long as the determination is made in the best interest of the child.  Lastly the Order may also contain special provisions, at the discretion of the master, including but not limited to, that the parties attend co-parenting classes, undergo psychological evaluations, and/or come back to Court for a follow up Conference at a later date.   Also clients unhappy with the Master’s decision can always appeal.

The law regarding child custody in Pennsylvania is that the court will consider the “Best Interest of the Child” standard.   This means that the court will not examine the individual parents, but will determine what is in the child’s best interest using the factors listed below.  Also to many people surprise the law clearly states that, “In making a determination under subsection (a),factors when awarding custody, no party shall receive preference based upon gender in any award granted under this chapter.  In Pennsylvania these factors are considered when determining “the best interest of the child”.

(1) Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party,

(2) The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child,

(3) The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child,

(4) The need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life and community life,

(5) The availability of extended family,

(6) The child’s sibling relationships,

(7) The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment,

(8) The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm,

(9) Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child’s emotional needs,

(10) Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child,

(11) The proximity of the residences of the parties,

(12) Each party’s availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements,

(13) The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party’s effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party,

(14) The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party’s household,

(15) The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party’s household, or

(16) Any other relevant factor.
If you’re interested in having the Ciccarelli Law Firm represent you during your custody proceeding, or to appeal from a Master’s decision please contact us today.   Our experienced family lawyers have represented clients all over, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Lancaster, and Philadelphia Counties.  Please call 610-692-8700 to schedule a consultation today.

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