Pennsylvania Family Law Attorney
Experienced, Dedicated Family Lawyers in Pennsylvania
When you have a family law issue, there is no firm better positioned to help than Petrelli Previtera, LLC,. For decades, our lawyers have tackled some of the most emotional issues that families deal with, including divorce, child custody, and legal separation.
However, our experience is broader than divorce. We also help men and women with many legal issues that require a seasoned lawyer’s eye for detail and nuance. If you have a question involving family law, please contact us today to speak with an attorney.
“When it comes to responsiveness, our firm goes above and beyond for our client. Find out how we balance compassionate and dedicated advocacy with aggressive legal representation.”
Melinda Previtera, Partner at Petrelli Previtera, LLC.
Contested versus Uncontested Divorce
Divorce is complicated, and few divorces go as smoothly as people would hope. In a typical divorce, a couple must reach an agreement on the following:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Division of marital property and debts
- Spousal support (alimony)
If you can agree on these issues, you can submit a settlement agreement for the court’s approval. This type of uncontested divorce can save many people considerable expense.
However, an uncontested divorce is not feasible for everyone, even if they participate in mediation in good faith. Instead, they will need a court hearing where the judge will decide the details of the divorce decree. And to succeed in a contested hearing, you should hire a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer to represent you.
People hoping to adopt must consider many issues ahead of time, including:
- Whether to adopt domestically or internationally. Sensitive issues involve cost and wait times, and we can advise you about your options.
- Whether to have an open or closed adoption. Closed adoptions were once the norm, but many families are now opting for open adoptions, where the birth mother stays involved to some degree in the child’s life.
- Whether you are adopting a foster child. Fostering is a wonderful experience, and adopting a child is often the logical next step.
- Whether you are adopting a stepchild. Here, the other parent needs to have his or her parental rights terminated, which can be complicated, especially if the other parent is hard to locate.
Please contact our Pennsylvania family law attorney for help with any adoption issue.
Children benefit from intergenerational relationships. Unfortunately, some parents prevent grandparents from seeing their grandchildren.
In Pennsylvania, grandparents can request visitation in limited situations, such as when a parent has died, or the child’s parents are divorced. Grandparents can also seek visitation if the child lived with them for at least 12 months after being removed from the home.
Judges have the discretion to award visitation, and grandparents would do well to hire a seasoned Pennsylvania family law attorney to help them with their court petition. A judge will not award visitation unless it is in the best interests of the child.
LGBT Family Law Issues
Same-sex spouses have all of the legal rights as other married couples. However, LGBT divorces raise some unique issues, often around child custody. Often, any children are the biological offspring of one parent, but the other has not yet adopted. Obtaining visitation rights or custody can be difficult.
Other LGBT couples are not married, and they find they have few legal protections when they break up. We can help our LGBT clients when their relationships dissolve. We can also draft domestic partnerships agreements to protect them.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements serve important purposes. One is to decide issues related to the division of property and alimony in the event of divorce. For example, a spouse can waive any spousal support or alimony ahead of time. They can also agree as to how they will divide marital property if they divorce. In this way, these agreements can prevent the need for costly and time-consuming litigation down the road.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements also help blended families. If you have children from a prior relationship, they might lose out on assets when you die because your new spouse can elect to take a share of your estate, regardless of what you state in your will. Our Pennsylvania family law attorneys have helped clients use pre- or postnuptial agreements to protect their children’s inheritances.
A proper estate plan protects your loved ones in the event of your death. Many people, unfortunately, use one-size-fits-all templates that they find online to draft a will, but a proper estate plan encompasses much more.
We can help our client draft wills or trusts that work for them. We also know how to protect our client’s privacy. Many of our clients are high net-worth individuals whose passing will be noted in the community. Because probate is a public process, they need estate planning tools that provide a measure of protection from the prying eyes of the public.
Separation for Unmarried Couples
Like married couples, unmarried couples must unwind their union, which can include deciding child custody and the division or property. However, the legal analysis is often complicated by the fact that the couple is not married.
When it comes to child custody, the court will use the same analysis it does if the couple was married (provided the couple are the child’s biological parents). A court will decide custody based on the best interest of the child and use the state’s guidelines to calculate child support. The fact that a couple is not married is largely irrelevant.
Not so with the division of property, however. Unmarried spouses have fewer rights to assets obtained while married. When looking at who owns a home, for example, it matters whose name is on the deed and who has made monthly mortgage payments. With respect to wages earned and retirement accounts, however, an unmarried partner might not be able to obtain any equity in these assets absent an agreement.
Contact one of Our Pennsylvania Family Law Attorneys Today
Petrelli Previtera has helped many people in Pennsylvania when it comes to figuring out complicated family law issues. We stay on the cutting edge of all developments and bring a level of sophistication few firms can match. For more information, please contact us today by calling 215-523-6900 or scheduling a consultation on our website.