The Best Family Law Attorneys in Westmoreland County PA Are the Ones Proven Safe To Hire
Dealing with divorce, adoptions, prenuptial agreements, child custody, alimony, and other matters can be emotional and difficult. You shouldn't go it alone. Instead, you'll want a qualified Westmoreland County family law attorney or divorce lawyer to help you make the best decisions and get the most favorable outcome for all parties involved.
Family law attorneys in Westmoreland County and divorce lawyers in Westmoreland County PA bearing The Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten symbol are those local divorce lawyers and family law firms proven by our independent research to have passed the Top Ten requirements for ability and value. In addition, our staff has called previous clients to verify high satisfaction with them for family law cases in Westmoreland County PA, including for division of property, child support, child custody and visitation, alimony, divorce mediation services and more.
Read on for more information about hiring the right divorce attorneys or family law representatives for you and your family.
Updated April 14, 2020
The Best Family Law Attorneys in Westmoreland County PA Are the Ones Proven Safe To Hire
The state of Pennsylvania requires divorce and family law attorneys in Westmoreland County PA to be licensed by the Pennsylvania State Bar simply as practicing attorneys, and not in the specialty of family law or divorce. So the state bar license is no guarantee that any particular family or divorce lawyer in Westmoreland County PA is even competent in family law specifically, (or at trial), is providing real value, or satisfying clients.
This makes it significant that all family law attorneys in Westmoreland County PA who bear The Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten symbol have been cleared by our research staff as passing all the requirements for Prime Buyer's Report Top Ten status such as survey phone calls to previous clients to verify high satisfaction, good complaint record, verified liability insurance, sufficient length of time in business, best business practices, and more.
Family Law Attorneys and Divorce Lawyers in Westmoreland County PA
Whether or not the parties in a marriage have children, a divorce (or 'dissolution of marriage') is handled in a branch of thecourt system known as family law. Often, lawyers who specialize in helping people through divorce are known as family law attorneys, divorce attorneys, or both.
In the world of family law, there are always at least two parties (occasionally more than that): basically husband and wife. Whereas in other areas of civil law the parties are known as plaintiff and defendant, in family law they are referred to as petitioner and respondent.
Any family law or divorce attorneys are qualified to represent either party. In fact, there is little functional difference in the designations of petitioner and respondent. Whichever party makes the first request to the court for a dissolution or separation is the petitioner; he or she petitions the court and the other party responds to the petition.
If there are children under the age of eighteen involved in your divorce, divorce lawyers or family law attorneys in Westmoreland County will also be able to negotiate custody, visitation and support issues as a matter of course. Where divorcing parties are not fiercely divided over these issues, it is usually fine to negotiate an agreement and memorialize it through your respective counsel. If however, custody, visitation or support issues are contested, it may be best to be sure you have divorce lawyers or family law attorneys in Westmoreland County that specialize in custody disputes.
Pennsylvania law allows for the ending of a marriage based on irreconcilable differences, separation, desertion, or extreme cruelty. You or your spouse must have lived in Pennsylvania for 12 consecutive months prior to your attorney filing the divorce complaint.
Getting a No-Fault Divorce in Westmoreland County PA
The state of Pennsylvania allows a no-fault divorce (referred to as a "mutual consent divorce") which can be granted 90 days after filing for divorce where both spouses consent via affidavit that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
If one spouse has been convicted of a personal injury crime against the other, the consent of the guilty spouse is presumed and an affidavit from them is not necessary. A no-fault divorce can also be granted unilaterally based upon showing the spouses have lived separately for a minimum of one year, or due to one spouse needing to be confined to a mental institution for at least 18 months prior to the divorce filing, with no reasonable belief that the spouse will be discharged for at least 18 months after the filing for divorce.
Filing for Fault-Based Divorce in Westmoreland County PA
Pennsylvania also allows an at-fault divorce in cases of adultery, abandonment/desertion with a spouse having left the home without a reasonable cause for at least one year, cruel and barbarous treatment (such as domestic violence), bigamy, imprisonment of a spouse for a minimum of two years.
Dissolving Civil Unions (Same-Sex Unions) in Pennsylvania
Same-sex couples joined in a civil-union can dissolve their union through divorce in the state of Pennsylvania. Same-sex couples in Pennsylvania were granted the ability to legally marry in May 2014 and dissolving such a marriage through divorce follows the same process as legally ending a traditional marriage.
Dispute Resolution Alternatives to Divorce in Westmoreland County PA
Dispute resolution is a way of settling a claim other than a hearing or trial. Two forms of dispute resolution are mediation and arbitrations. Some divorce lawyers in Westmoreland County PA provide mediation services as an alternative to potentially more costly divorce proceedings.
Things Divorce Attorneys in Westmoreland County PA Will Do
The law requires that you make all legal claims in the divorce complaint, including alimony or spousal support, division of property, division of debts, taking back your former name, insurance policies, child custody, child visitation, child support. A divorce lawyer will go through all of these for you including any necessary forensics to determine the true worth of existing assets and income.
TYPES OF ALIMONY
Alimony Pendente Lite
Pendente Lite is a temporary order for alimony granted before the divorce is finalized in order to support a spouse during the divorce process. Pendente lite means "while the action is pending."
Open Durational Alimony
Usually awarded only if the couple has been married 20 years or more, or if one spouse is financially dependent or permanently unable to work due to disability or lack of skills or experience. You might get this alimony until you remarry or cohabitate (live with someone as though you are married), or the paying spouse reaches retirement age. Either spouse can apply to the court after the divorce to adjust the alimony amount due to a change in circumstances.
Limited Durational Alimony
The court awards temporary alimony until a particular event, like you gain employment. If your divorce attorney succeeds in getting the court to award you limited durational alimony, usually it will not last for a time period longer than the marriage itself.
Temporary alimony given upon proving that you are likely to be able to support yourself after a period of more education or training.
Awarded by showing you supported your spouse though school or training and expected to benefit financially from an increase in your spouse's income as a result.
Modification of Alimony and Spousal Support
A spouse may file a motion to modify spousal support or alimony by showing a change in one of the spouse's circumstances, such as a significant change of income, or physical disablement, or other changed circumstances that effect income or expenses.
There are two types of child custody: physical custody (where the child lives) and legal custody (who makes important decisions for the child). Each type can be primary (granted mostly to one spouse) or joint (shared by both spouses). In some cases, sole custody is ordered only where one parent is absent or found to be legally unfit.
Child Visitation Rights
The non-custodial parent will almost always get visits with the child. Those visits are restricted only if the court is convinced that non-custodial parent will harm the child.
Some Family Law Attorneys in Westmoreland County PA Are Much Better than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these divorce lawyers in Westmoreland County PA: . Other family law attorneys in Westmoreland County PA who might still be in business include: .
Resources About Family Lawyers or Divorce Attorneys in Westmoreland County PA
Regulatory Bodies & Trade Associations Related to Divorce Lawyers in Westmoreland County PA
ACFTL American College of Family Trial Lawyers www.acftl.com
AFCC Association of Family and Conciliation Courts www.afccnet.org
AAML American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers www.aaml.org
BBB Better Business Bureau www.bbb.com
ISFL International Society of Family Law www.isflhome.org
FLA Family Law Association www.familylawassociation.org
HBAPA Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania www.hbapa.net
NAFLA National Academy of Family Law Attorneys www.nafla.net
Pennsylvania State Bar Association www.pabar.org
NLA National Lawyers Association www.nla.org
NLG National Lawyers Guild www.nlg.org
National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division Pennsylvania www.nbawldphila.org
Women's Bar Association of Pennsylvania www.wbawpa.com
Media Related to Divorce Lawyers in Westmoreland County PA
Attorney At Law Magazine www.attorneyatlawmagazine.com
ABA Journal - The Lawyer's Magazine www.abajournal.com
Family Lawyer Magazine www.familylawyermagazine.com
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the Top Ten Divorce Lawyers and Family Law Attorneys in Westmoreland County PA within the following zip codes:
15680, 15626, 15662, 15501, 15688, 15636, 15671, 15616, 15698, 15644, 15679, 15624, 15661, 15479, 15687, 15635, 15670, 15615, 15697, 15642, 15678, 15623, 15658, 15685, 15632, 15668, 15613, 15696, 15641, 15677, 15620, 15954, 15655, 15684, 15629, 15666, 15611, 15692, 15639, 15676, 15619, 15944, 15650, 15683, 15628, 15665, 15610, 15691, 15638, 15674, 15618, 15923, 15647, 15681, 15627, 15663, 15601, 15690, 15637, 15672, 15617, 15717, 15646, 15089, 15085, 15083, 15068, 15062 and 15012
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the Top Ten Family Lawyers and Divorce Attorneys in Westmoreland County PA within the following cities:
Arnold, Greensburg, Jeannette, Latrobe, Lower Burrell, Monessen, New Kensington, Murrysville, Vandergrift, Derry Township, East Huntingdon Township, Hempfield Township, Ligonier Township, Mount Pleasant Township, North Huntingdon Township, Penn Township, Rostraver Township, Salem Township, South Huntingdon Township and Unity Township