Wyomissing, Pennsylvania Family Law and Estate Planning Blog

Can you keep your divorce from destroying your finances?

When you make the decision to get divorced from your spouse in Pennsylvania, chances are one of your first concerns is securing your finances and preparing for a future as an independent person. Because your finances can undoubtedly be shaken from the process of separating from someone you shared money with for a length of time, it is imperative that you begin making preparations right away so you can work to rebuild your financial foundation. 

Perhaps the wisest advice you may consider implementing is to avoid excessive spending at all until your divorce has been finalized and you know where you stand in terms of your finances. Likewise, keep detailed records of your spending so you can confidently answer about where your money is going. Consider creating a budget for yourself and examine your expenses to identify areas where you can cut back in an effort to save as much money as you can. 

Reviewing the factors behind the rewarding of alimony

As you enter into your divorce proceedings in Wyomissing, you may already be planning on being rewarded alimony due to your ex-spouse being in a better financial position than you are. Many that we here at Huckabee Weiler & Levengood, P.C. have the same expectation, yet are later disappointed to learn that simply not making as much money as their ex-spouse does not automatically qualify one for alimony. Spousal support is not meant to punish one for being more economically advantaged than their ex-spouse; rather, it is intended to only be a temporary source of assistance until one side of a divorced couple can enjoy the same standard of living achieved during the marriage. 

Notice how no mention is made to having a similar income as you did while married. The court cares more about you being able to support yourself rather than being able to match your previous financial position for dollar-for-dollar. Because of this, the rewarding of alimony is not automatic. Section 23.3701 of Pennsylvania's Consolidated Statutes says that the court considers several factors when determining if alimony is merited in your case. These include: 

  • Both yours and your spouse's age and overall health
  • How long your marriage lasted
  • Your current sources of income and respective earning capacities
  • Your level of education and/or the time needed to complete education or receive further vocational training
  • Whether your ability to work is impacted by your parental responsibilities 
  • Any sacrifices you may have made to further your ex-spouse's career ambitions

Is there a one-size-fits-all long-term care strategy?

Most aging individuals in Berks County and across the country would ideally like to spend their latter years living independently or together with their loved ones.

Sometimes that is possible, and sometimes it is not. The outcome depends on a number of factors, with one key determinant obviously relating to financial means.

Key differences between living trusts and wills

Setting up a living trust is one way to make sure your children or your other intended heirs receive their inheritance. However, some Pennsylvania residents still opt for a traditional last will and testament. If you find yourself debating this choice, TheStreet explains four key differences between trusts and wills. Seeing how wills and trusts can meet your particular needs can help you make an informed choice.

People who are concerned about avoiding probate might feel more comfortable with a living trust. In many cases, a will still has to proceed through the probate process before beneficiaries can receive assets from the estate. Conversely, a living trust does not go through probate, although if creditors claim portions of the estate, a trust might still find its way into court.

Strategy can support marketing on a limited budget

Forming a business from the ground up requires business leaders to be focused and to sacrifice their own comfort in order to acquire their goals. For many small businesses that are just beginning in Pennsylvania, one of the biggest challenges can be marketing their products or services on a limited budget. Despite the truth that marketing and advertising account for a significant portion of any organization's budget, small businesses can use strategic methods of informing the public in their effort to create interest without destroying their budget. 

One of the most effective ways for upcoming businesses to spread the word about their product or service is to encourage people who have tried what they offer, to share reviews and inform people they know. Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the cheapest ways of marketing and can also be one of the most effective. Providing modest incentives or discounts for people who are the first to try out a new product or service is another way to encourage repeat visitation and for companies to build rapport and strengthen their brand's image. 

What does it mean to be a fiduciary?

When making a will, creating a trust or sometimes simply investing your money, you may come across someone using the term “fiduciary.” What does it mean?

A fiduciary is an entity – a bank, attorney, title firm, stock broker, financial advisor or others – who acts in the best interests of their client in situations that require total trust and honesty. For example, a fiduciary financial advisor can buy and sell securities on your behalf without your consent.

Breaking a franchise contract early may be hard to do

You can never be sure how long you will stay in business. Sometimes you just do not find it feasible to keep running your company and you want out. However, if you run a franchise in Pennsylvania, a swift and easy exit may not be in the cards. In fact, if you have not planned for an exit strategy, it could cost you a lot of money to end your franchise prematurely. So if you are considering starting a franchise, think about how you can get out of your franchise if you want to.

Marketwatch recommends that people who are looking to buy into a franchise should examine the contract for clauses that address how to leave the franchise. Some contracts specify a fixed period of time for the contract to be in effect. You want to be sure that your contract does not require you to pay a fee for breaking the contract early.

What happened to your student loans after your death?

There are some things in life that you wish you could take with you when you die, and then there are those things you will be happy to leave behind. One of the things you probably will not be sad to say goodbye to is your student loan debt. However, you may worry that your death will transfer that liability to your loved ones in Pennsylvania. This is a valid concern since it seems many of us will have student loan debt following us into our golden years.

According to ABC News, it is most likely that when you die, your student loan debt will go away. To begin with, the law makes it impossible for the lenders to go after your loved ones for the money unless one f them was a co-signer. If you have a co-signer, that person very well could become liable. Also, if you have loans from private lenders as opposed to federal education loans, these lenders may try to go after your estate to recoup the debt.

Starting a solo business in PA

It is natural for an enterprising individual to consider starting their own business. The ability to be your own boss, to control your own products, make your own schedule and set your own goals are very attractive to many people. One of the best ways to begin your journey down this path is to create your own sole proprietorship.

In an earlier blog we discussed the process of starting a business with a partner. Going in with a partner has its benefits, but it can lead to disagreements. Additionally, forming a multi-person business entity, such as a limited liability company (LLC) can quickly become complicated and expensive. By contrast, a sole proprietorship leaves all the power with you and are usually extremely simple to set up.

January bring on divorce season

Marriage can be hard and as we know, not all of them work out. And throughout the year, marriages end for many reasons. According to the American Psychological Association, the divorce rate in the United States is anywhere from 40 to 50 percent.

While divorce filings happen in all months of the year, attorneys’ offices see a surge in divorce inquiries and filings starting in January and continuing through March. The first Monday after the holidays brings an uptick in divorce traffic for attorneys with a lot of requests to start the process. Not all will end up filing, but there are many questions about how to begin the process and how it will work.

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1136 Penn Avenue
Wyomissing, PA 19610

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