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Erie, Pennsylvania, Legal Blog

Pennsylvania joins other states using collaborative law

Anyone who has been through a divorce can testify that it's one of life's most difficult challenges. Spouses can end up in bitter disputes even when their feelings remain cordial if not romantic. Parents can get so wrapped up in trying to start a new life that it's easy to forget the most vulnerable victims of the end of a marriage.

Child custody can become the most serious issue in divorce proceedings, as everyone involved will have strong feelings about it. Standard family law usually sees these decisions made by a judge considering the best interests of children. Pennsylvania has just received a new way to solve this and many other problems posed by divorce.

Nothing is more important to consider than your kids when divorcing

As family law attorneys that have served Erie residents for many years, we know how important family is to Pennsylvania parents. Children are everything and nothing is more important than protecting their physical, mental and emotional well-being. When divorce enters the picture, many parents wonder how such a life event will affect their kids and if their children can emerge from the experience without any undue suffering.

Many of our attorneys are also parents and we have the same concerns about our children that you have about yours. This, combined with our divorce experience, has given us some insight into protecting the best interests of children through any family law proceeding. For example, we know that child custody and child support disputes are often the most stressful for parents who both feel responsible for the welfare of their children. Unfortunately, this stress can work against concerned parents by trickling down to the kids and making them feel anxious as well.

Car accident forces man to jump off a 50-foot bridge

A dramatic car accident put a man in the hospital after police say that he had to jump off of a 50-foot bridge to avoid getting hit.

The accident happened in Maryland, near Washington D.C. It took place on Sunday, Aug. 26. One of the men involved in the accident, however, is from Dallastown, Pennsylvania.

What type of bankruptcy is most common?

You have heard of people declaring bankruptcy, and you think that may be your best course of action considering your outstanding debt, but you have never done it before. You're wondering what your options are and what types of bankruptcy -- called "chapters" -- people use the most.

To help you see how it tends to pan out, here are the numbers from 2016, in order from least to most:

  • Total cases filed during the year: 794,960
  • Chapter 12 filings: 461
  • Chapter 11 filings: 7,292
  • Chapter 13 filings: 296,655
  • Chapter 7 filings: 490,365

Owning a gun legally in Pennsylvania

Every state has their own specific laws when it comes to legally owning a gun. The law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is relatively strict, being ranked as the 10th strictest state by the Brady Center.

Guns can be owned legally in order to protect citizens, but they also present clear dangers of their own. This is why it is vital that you observe the law when it comes to gun regulations, or you may find yourself facing serious consequences.

Four questions to ask when doing estate planning for adult children

Estate planning with young children often revolves around trying to give them the support they need if you are not around to provide it yourself. For instance, you may pick a guardian to raise the kids and act essentially as a replacement parent.

Once they grow up, though, the focus shifts. Here are four questions you may want to ask when you have an adult child:

  1. Are they married? If your child is married, then you may want to consider the potential complications of leaving your estate to the couple. For instance, what happens to the inheritance if your child and his or her spouse decide to get divorced?
  2. Do you want to use a trust? A trust is a simple way to retain some control over the estate. For example, if you want your child to go to graduate school, the trust can dictate that the money has to be used for educational purposes.
  3. How responsible is your child? If you worry about the child's financial responsibility, one potential solution is a trust that only pays out a specific amount every year. This way, it is impossible for your child to waste the entire inheritance in the first year after your passing.
  4. Do you have any grandchildren? If so, you may want to plan specific ways to leave money for them -- like a college fund -- rather than just leaving it to your own children.

4 reasons to call 911 for burn injuries

When someone suffers a burn injury, one of the first questions those around them will ask is if they need to call 911. Is it bad enough for a trip to the emergency room?

To be clear, you should always err on the side of caution. When in doubt, call 911. Even if it is a minor burn that could be treated at home, you're better off heading to the hospital for treatment than putting off treatment for a serious burn. In many cases, the level of recovery depends on how fast the person gets to a doctor.

Who gets the estate if there is no will or trust?

First Prince, and now Aretha. The music community lost another incredible talent on August 16th. The finances of an intensely private Aretha Franklin soon will become very public in probate court because she left no will or trust. The decision to not have a will has prompted her four sons to file a document listing themselves as interested in her estate.

When someone who lives in Pennsylvania dies without a will or trust, the state's intestacy succession laws will dictate who inherits the deceased person's probate estate. Probate assets are anything owned by a deceased person that require a court-supervised probate process.

How does a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy's repayment plan work?

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may already know that there are two primary avenues: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. While Chapter 7 discharges certain debts in full, Chapter 13 creates a repayment plan so that you can pay off your debts within a five-year window of time.

However, you may think that it sounds impossible to pay off your debts. So how would Chapter 13's repayment system actually work?

It's time for Roar on the Shore (and more DUI enforcement)

With summer in full swing, motorcyclists in Erie, Northwest Pennsylvania and the surrounding region are anxiously awaiting the premier motorcycle event of the year: the Roar on the Shore.

Tens of thousands of motorcyclists and their friends will ride into Erie from July 18-22. The week will feature scheduled rides, concerts and other fun events.

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