Divorce is, undoubtedly, an emotional process; but with children added to the mix, it can become much more difficult for all parties involved. Our attorneys here at Casale & Bonner P.C. understand the sensitivity of the situation and offer patience, respect, support, and guidance throughout the entire process.
In addition to handling the equitable division of property and pre/postnuptial agreements, we will handle custody matters, visitation rights, child support, alimony, and termination of parental rights if the situation should arise.
The end goal? Allowing you to move forward with your life, satisfied with the outcome, and knowing that your rights were respected.
Give us a call today to speak with one of our attorneys.
Custody & Visitation Rights
Child custody can be quite contentious and is often one of the more challenging decisions to make in regard to family law. Our team will work to determine physical custody, legal custody, and visitation rights. The goal is to reach a satisfactory resolution outside of court so that all parties aren’t subject to the emotionally taxing process of court-appointed custody.
Legal and physical custody are legal terms the court uses to describe the different types of custody that’s granted to one or both parents.
Legal custody is the right to make important decisions about the child. This includes things such as medical care and education. Legal custody can be granted to both parents (joint legal custody), or just one (sole legal custody).
Similarly to legal custody, physical custody can be granted to both parents or just one. Joint physical custody is when the child lives part of the time with one parent and part of the time with the other parent. Primary physical custody is when the court gives only one parent the right to have the child live with him/her most of the time.
Partial Physical Custody
Partial custody is when the child lives with one parent, but stays with the other parent, like on the weekends, for example.
If one parent has primary custody, the court may give the other parent partial physical custody or visitation. It is important to distinguish the difference between these two. Visitation is when a parent does not have any form of physical custody but has the right to spend time with the child.
Child Support & Alimony
Designed with the child’s best interests in mind, child support and alimony are payments made to ensure a quality standard of living.
Raising a child is expensive, and doing it alone makes the challenge much more difficult. Luckily, a divorce doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay for your child’s upbringing alone. Our attorneys will help you reach agreements that ensure that the non-custodial parent is providing financial support for any children.
The non-custodial parent must pay child support, even if they have been denied visitation rights. The amount of support to be paid is based on the income of both parents (or the amount each can earn) and the number of children involved. Extenuating situations may lower the amount to be paid, such as the case of a parent having support obligations in more than one household.
Alimony, also referred to as Spousal Support, is another divorce settlement that results in the spouse with the higher income, making alimony payments to the other. Depending on the proceedings, settlement payments can come in the form of alimony, child support, or a mix of both.
Terminating Parental Rights
Termination of parental rights is a serious matter and can be both voluntary and involuntary. There are many factors that can be at play when a parent’s rights are terminated, and each state has its own statutes and limitations.
Parents typically volunteer to terminate their parental rights if they wish to give their child up for adoption.
A typical example would be if the parent hasn’t been involved in the child’s life, and someone else has been acting as the child’s parent and wishes to adopt the child. The parent may relinquish their parental rights so the child may be adopted, and their caretaker can become their legal parent.
In Pennsylvania, there are 11 grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights, some of which involve a parent breaking the law. The 11 grounds are as followed:
- Failure of Reasonable Efforts
- Abuse/Neglect or Loss of Rights of Another Child
- Sexual Abuse
- Failure to Maintain Contact
- Failure to Provide Support
- Failure to Establish Paternity
- Child’s Best Interest
- Child removed from parents care 15 of 22 months (or less)
- Felony assault of the child or sibling
- Murder/Manslaughter of sibling child
While many of these may seem black and white, and some are, the court has the final say in many of these matters, especially when determining the child’s best interests. Read more about the grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights here.
The complexities of divorce and the proceedings that come with it can be an emotionally difficult time for all. The team at Casale and Bonner P.C. is here to guide you through the process, ensuring you and your child’s best interests are cared for each step of the way.
Call Casale & Bonner P.C. at 570-326-7044 to speak with a lawyer.