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Family Law FAQs

Ten Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does my spouse have to contribute to the college education of our children?

    No. The law in Pennsylvania does not require a parent to pay for college. If, however, your spouse agrees to contribute to college and that is reflected in a written Property Settlement Agreement, the obligation will be enforced by the Court.
  2. How is child support determined?

    If you and your spouse's net (after taxes) combined income is $20,000 or less per month, the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines will determine the amount of child support you will receive. If you and your spouse's combined net monthly income exceeds $20,000 per month, a reasonable needs analysis of the children's expenses is performed to determine your child support.
  3. Am I entitled to a portion of my spouse's 401(K)?

    If the 401(K) was acquired during your marriage, you are entitled to a portion of it. If it was started prior to your marriage, you are entitled to a portion of the increase in value during the marriage.
  4. My spouse inherited $1 million dollars ten (10) years ago, and kept it in her name. Am I entitled to a portion of that?

    You are not entitled to any of the $1 million dollars. However you are entitled to a portion of the increase in value over the past ten years. Therefore if that $1 million dollars grew to $5 million, the first $1 million is 100% your spouse's, but the additional $4 million is marital property subject to equitable distribution.
  5. Do I automatically get 50% of all of our assets?

    No. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state which means the Court takes into consideration many factors to determine the percentage division of assets.
  6. How long does one have to be married in order to receive alimony?

    There is no set amount of time. The Court considers 17 factors in determining whether an award of alimony is appropriate.
  7. Are pre-nuptial agreements valid?

    In most cases they are valid provided there was full and fair disclosure of assets.
  8. At what age can our children decide which parent they want to live with?

    There is no set age. A Court will talk with your children and weigh what they have to say taking into consideration their maturity level.
  9. How does a Court determine who will get custody of our children?

    The standard is the "best interest of the child". The Court will take into consideration many factors including but not limited to who was the primary custodian prior to separation, the preference of the child, the mental and physical health of the parents, the parent who can provide the best guidance for the children, the age and gender of the children, the home environment including half-siblings, and many, many other factors. Each case is extremely fact specific.
  10. What assets are divided between the parties?

    All assets acquired during the marriage are marital property and subject to equitable distribution (unless excluded in a prenuptial agreement). This includes, but is not limited to, retirement accounts (such as IRAs, pensions, and 401(K), brokerage/investment accounts, real estate, vehicles, businesses, bank accounts, cash value of life insurance, stock and stock options, deferred compensation, personal property, such as furniture, TVs, jewelry, etc.)

Divorce and family law attorneys of Shemtob Law, P.C., located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, serve clients in Main Line and Upper Main Line communities, such as Gladwyne, Lower Merion, King of Prussia, Norristown, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, St. Davids, Radnor, Wayne, Strafford, Devon, Berwyn, Paoli, Malvern and Valley Forge. Our law firm also represents clients from surrounding communities, such as Newtown Square, Media, West Chester, Doylestown, Fort Washington, Yardley, and New Hope and throughout Bucks County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Philadelphia County.