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Erie, Pennsylvania, Legal Blog

Collaborative law is now part of Pennsylvania divorce law

It is easy to feel like life is ending when it is time to seek a divorce. In some ways, life is ending; two people are looking to start plotting their own, separate paths. But the process does not have to make a mess of a caring relationship. Even spouses who no longer get along have opportunities to avoid a messy divorce process.

Pennsylvania is one of the latest states to adopt an approach to collaborative law as a way of resolving disputes. House Bill 1644 allows spouses in the Keystone State to choose an effective, cost-cutting and time-saving legal process to get divorced.

Is a mediated divorce right for you?

Many couples who choose to end their marriage want to do so as amicably as possible -- particularly if they are going to continue to be in each other's lives as co-parents or perhaps as business partners. They want to settle property division, support and child custody issues fairly. Even if they are still feeling some hurt and animosity from the breakdown of the marriage, they just want to get through the divorce process as expediently as possible and move on.

For these reasons and others, many couples are choosing to mediate their divorces rather than to litigate them. In mediation, the couple works together to develop their various agreements under the guidance of a mediator. The mediator is not there to take sides or determine what is best for the couple or their children. Mediators are neutral third parties who can answer questions and offer guidance as couples work through the details of their divorce.

Answers to common questions about medical bankruptcy

Suffering from a sudden illness or injury can be debilitating from a financial perspective because it can mean that you will not be able to work for a certain amount of time, and you will lose wages as a result. In addition to this, medical services can be extremely expensive, even if you have insurance.

It is for these reasons that many people decide to file for bankruptcy as a result of their medical debt. If you are worried about your medical debt and want to gain a fresh start in the state of Pennsylvania, it is important that you take the time to understand how medical bankruptcy works. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to medical bankruptcy filings.

New Pennsylvania law seals records for some convicts

Many social observers say that criminal penalties for minor crimes have been too high for too long. The sentences for many petty offenses, especially ones connected to violence or drug use, can include years in prison. In addition, convictions or even charges alone can limit people's professional and financial options.

A new law in Pennsylvania is making it easier for some people convicted of minor crimes to move on with their lives, which also reduces the likelihood of future criminal behavior. People convicted of many misdemeanors may petition to courts to seal these records, shielding them from background checks and professional searches.

New Pennsylvania law increases DUI penalties

Pennsylvania drivers who have had multiple DUIs and/or caused a DUI-related death are now facing harsher criminal penalties thanks to a new law that went into effect just before Christmas.

Third DUI offenses that involve a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .16 or higher, which is double the legal limit, will be considered felonies rather than misdemeanors. So will all fourth DUI offenses.

How are car accidents investigated in Pennsylvania?

If you have been injured in a car accident in the state of Pennsylvania, it is likely that you have suffered in many different ways. First, the car accident can be physically and emotionally traumatic. In addition to this trauma, you may be suffering financially due to medical bills, car damage and lost wages.

The damages suffered after a car accident can be far-reaching. This is why it is important that you make sure your insurance provider compensates you for all of these damages. The first step to guaranteeing this is taking the time to understand how an insurance company investigates a car accident after it happens.

Pennsylvania imposing stricter penalties for DUIs

Pennsylvania drivers will see new, stiffer penalties for drunk driving - just in time for New Year's celebrations. The future consequences will focus on "high-risk offenders" who continuously drive impaired or drive with a DUI-related suspended license.

The penalties went into effect Sunday, December 23rd. Many people, including lawmakers, police officers and activists, are hailing the new punishments as a significant step in fighting drunk drivers and possible fatalities.

Year-End Charitable Giving and Qualified Charitable Distributions

As the end of the year quickly approaches, taxpayers may be thinking about their final charitable gifts as well as ensuring that they have taken their required minimum distributions from their IRAs. Utilizing a Qualified Charitable Distribution (a QCD) may help some taxpayers satisfy both of these goals. Additionally, with the tax reforms adopted for 2018, fewer taxpayers are able to utilize itemized deductions. For these taxpayers, utilizing a QCD also may provide a tax deduction.

Who can apply for child custody in Pennsylvania and how?

Even if divorcing parents are still on good terms, the right choices for child custody are hard to make. When parents finally agree on a custody arrangement, a court or mediator may have them start over to consider the children's wishes. One thing is certain: People who understand the child custody process are more likely to have their voices heard during it.

When does someone know where they stand on child custody?

How locations play a critical role in snowmobile DUI charges

Something that a lot of people do not realize is that the police are on the lookout for any vehicle with a driver that could be under the influence. Winter is an especially dangerous time not just because of the holidays in the earlier months in the season, but because drunk motorists would have an especially tough time navigating excessive snow and ice covering the streets.

As the snow starts coming down harder in Pennsylvania, snowmobile owners can finally dust off their rides to enjoy the trails. However, not being restricted solely to the roads doesn't mean you have more freedom than car drivers. You can still receive DUI charges if an officer catches you operating your snowmobile while intoxicated. Unlike car drivers or motorcyclists, many snowmobilers do not know where officers would be located during their trip. If you plan on taking your snowmobile out for a couple of hours one day, knowing where these places could be could help you proceed with caution around these areas.

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