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Harrisburg Family Law Blog

Alternative dispute resolution may be a viable option at times

In most divorce cases, when two parties are at odds in a legal matter, it may be expected that a trial is the best option for resolving the issue. However, in many cases, alternative dispute resolution methods work well. There are several different options, and Pennsylvania residents may benefit from learning about the different possibilities.

The first option that is likely the most familiar is mediation. This works well when both parties are amenable to working out the issues with a neutral third party and are motivated toward achieving a fair result. The outcome is left in control of the two sides. One of the benefits of this form of resolution is the mediator can help the two sides communicate without excess emotional influence. Mediation may not work when there is a history of animosity or abuse between the parties.

Adoption may not be out of the question

There seems to be a common misconception out there that it is too complex and expensive to consider bringing a child in need of a home into one's family. However, while the adoption process can be lengthy and involved, it may not be out of the realm of possibility if one can meet certain requirements. Pennsylvania families who have contemplated this process may be more qualified than they thought.

In the past, adoption may have been an option for only a select few as many thought they could not meet the four main criteria in order to be considered a suitable home. However, while there are requirements, they may not be as stringent as believed. The first question may be whether one is too old to be considered a fit parent. However, some agencies tend to look at the quality of life that the prospective parent has and one's over all health. An older parent may be a suitable match for a teenager who needs a family. 

How grandparents can protect their access to their grandchildren

If you are a grandparent and are being denied access to your grandchildren, you are probably frustrated and heartbroken. It is unfortunate, yet common, for adult children to deny such access to grandparents, especially during emotionally charged disputes. A parent could be upset with continued financial support or wants to cut off the other parent and their entire family, including you.

Regardless of the feelings between warring parents, grandparents should not be punished, especially with Grandparent's Day is coming this month. 

How to blend families while preventing parenting plan problems

If you're one of many Pennsylvania residents who divorced in recent years, you may deserve a pat on the back for overcoming the challenges you likely faced in the process. Especially, if you're a parent, chances are you and your kids have had to make several adjustments in lifestyle that proved difficult. As time went on, you probably felt like life was getting back on track. The kids were doing well and you met someone new whom you plan to marry.

That last part obviously means you will become a blended family. If your new spouse also has children from a previous relationship, things can get quite complicated. You might also be worried about how your new family situation may impact your existing parenting plan agreement. Hopefully, all adults involved are willing to cooperate and compromise as needed. If not, you might be in for your biggest challenge yet.

Fault or no-fault: That is the question.

Whether you and your spouse married less than a year ago, or your wedding day is now decades past, you'd likely agree with other Pennsylvania spouses who admit marriage can be quite challenging at times. If you and your spouse have children together, certain marital and/or family problems may seem exacerbated when taking their best interests into account. Many married couples determine their unions simply can't last a lifetime. For some, the question then becomes whether to file for a fault or no-fault divorce.

All 50 states recognize no-fault divorce as a possible viable option for spouses choosing to sever their marital ties in court. However, the specifications and requirements associated with no-fault divorce tend to vary by state.

Do grandparents have rights in Pennsylvania?

When custody rights are a factor in a divorce, parents are often at the center. But because grandparents are so often involved in raising children, they may also be entitled to visitation and perhaps even custody, depending on the situation. In Pennsylvania, the court may indeed grant grandparents' visitation requests provided it is in the best interest of the child.

There is no question that divorce is painful for all members of an immediate family. Parents are no doubt concerned that their custody or visitation rights may be diminished. That concern extends to grandparents as well, especially when they have consistently played a significant role in raising and caring for the children involved in the divorce.

No Fault Divorce

In a move designed to ease the toll that the divorce process takes on families, the state of Pennsylvania has amended its waiting period from one to two years, beginning in December 2016.

Many people mistakenly believe that no-fault divorces always involve both parties agreeing to end the marriage. In fact, only one party needs to do so, providing they live separately from their spouse for a specified period of time. That time has now been cut from two years to one year.

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