245 West Venango Street, Mercer, PA 16137
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The Right Attorney Can Make All the Difference in Difficult Times
Divorce is one of the most stressful events that a person can experience. Issues such as division of property, child custody, support and alimony are common topics to be discussed, negotiated and resolved.
One of two paths may be selected to obtain a divorce. The first is the traditional method which involves litigation of the issues either by negotiation and agreement of the parties with the assistance of their counsel or, if agreement cannot be reached, by judicial decision. The second option utilizes principles of collaborative law which requires attorneys to be trained in specific techniques to represent each party and written agreement of the parties to negotiate their differences without litigation. Collaborative law frequently involves a counselor and financial advisor to assist the parties in reaching an equitable resolution of their issues. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options that should be explored with your attorney prior to making a final decision.
Attorney Lucas will assist you in evaluating your options to allow you to obtain the best possible outcome of your case.
Child custody issues arise as a result of the separation of a married or unmarried couple. Some facts that must be considered include the ages of the children, residence location and work schedule of each of the parents and any alcohol or substance abuse, mental health and criminal records of both parents as well as any additional persons who reside with them. Agreements may be reached between the parties or as a result of conferences and hearings held by the Court.
Another matter that frequently comes before the Court is when one parent wishes to relocate with the children to a different residence which may adversely affect the ability of the other parent to exercise their rights to custody and visitation. As this issue is dependent on each individual case, individuals considering moving with their children to another location would be wise to consult with an attorney prior to making a final decision. Should a parent relocate with the children without the consent of the other party, the non-relocating parent should immediately consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action to maintain his/her rights to custody and visitation with the children.
Attorney Lucas is experienced in all aspects of custody, visitation and relocation and will work to ensure a positive outcome for you and your children.
Child support and spousal support are both handled through the Domestic Relations Section of the court system. They are both based on the incomes of both parties with possible adjustments for mortgage payments, medical insurance premiums and child care expenses. Payment for medical insurance and out of pocket medical costs are also handled by Domestic Relations.
While you can file for child and/or spousal support without the assistance of an attorney it is frequently beneficial to seek counsel to ensure that all aspects of support awards are properly addressed.
Should another party file for support against you, you should consider seeking legal advice to ensure that an accurate calculation is made.
Both parties always retain the right to appeal a support decision made by the Domestic Relations conference officer. If you have elected to represent yourself at a support conference and believe that the support awarded to you or that you have been ordered to pay is incorrect, you should immediately consult with an attorney.
Attorney Lucas can review your individual issues and advise the best course of action for you.
You or your children may be entitled to a protection from abuse order if a member of your household physically assaults you or your children. This type of action is not applicable for verbal or emotional abuse and should never be used as a method to attempt to remove the accused party from the residence for custody or support reasons. There are other courses of action which may be taken under those circumstances.
The Court can also enter Sexual Violence Protection Orders (SVPO) and Protection from Intimidation Orders (PFI). These orders can provide protection to individuals who are not related or household members and who have experienced or are experiencing sexual violence, harassment, or stalking.
If you have been physically or sexually assaulted, harassed or intimidated, you may file for a temporary protection from abuse order at the Prothonotary’s Office located in the Courthouse. You will be required to complete a form and will be interviewed by a judge who will determine if a temporary order is appropriate. If an order is entered by the Court, the accused party will be served by a Sheriff and a hearing will be scheduled.
Both the complaining party and the accused party are entitled to private legal representation. Attorney Lucas is skilled in dealing with emotionally charged issues to assist in obtaining a safe and reasonable outcome.