Divorce, Custody, & Support Matters
Going through a separation or divorce can be an extremely stressful undertaking. Audley Law Offices, P.C.’s divorce lawyers are experienced in managing all aspects of family law, including:
Whether you are seeking legal counsel to finalize the end of a marriage or seeking to establish pre-nuptial agreements to prevent future disputes, Audley Law Offices is available to assist.
If you are interested in learning more, please refer to our list of frequently asked questions to the right or contact us at
(412)532-0089 for a consultation.
Frequently asked questions
Is custody awarded to one parent only?
No. Courts frequently award at least partial custody to both parents. This form of custody is called “joint custody”, which may take three forms:
Can someone other than the parents have physical or legal custody?
Yes. Sometimes neither parent can appropriately care for a child as a result of substance abuse, a mental health problems, absence, incarceration, or other circumstances. In these situations, someone other than the parents may be granted custody of the child or children, and given a temporary guardianship or foster care arrangement by a court. Generally speaking, courts always prefer that a child remain with family members.
Do Grandparents have custody rights?
Yes. But the circumstances under which a grandparent can be granted custody are limited to where the grandparent has, in effect, acted as a parent to the child over a period of time, either with the consent of the parents or by court order, or, if the grandparent is willing to assume responsibility for the child and can prove that the child is abused or neglected or has been in the care of the grandparent for more than twelve months.
Grandparents can obtain the right to visitation with the child if their child is deceased, or if the parents of the child have been separated for at least six months and a divorce has been commenced or if the child resided with the grandparent for at least twelve consecutive months and has been removed by the parent from the grandparent within the previous six months.
What determines the amount of support that is paid?
Generally, the parties incomes determines the amount of support. If there are no children, it is pretty straight forward calculation based upon a percentage of the difference between the parties net incomes. Spousal support lasts until the divorce is finalized, but sometimes period payments are ordered after the divorce. These payments are known as alimony.
When there are children involved, the calculations become more complex and depend upon the parties respective net incomes, the number of children, the custody arrangement, any special needs of the children for their health or education and other factors. Child support lasts until the child is 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. When the child is developmentally disabled and dependent, child support may continue beyond those deadlines.
What is a PFA?
PFA stands for Protection from Abuse. The Protection from Abuse Act provides an abused spouse, family member or intimate partner with the ability to obtain a Court Order barring the other person from abusing or even contacting them. A person seeking a PFA Order has to establish that they have been abused or are in reasonable fear of imminent harm. A temporary Order is issued without the alleged abuser present that will last until there is a final hearing both parties are notified of and have to appear. If a Judge finds that there was abuse or a reasonable threat of abuse, an Order can be entered lasting as long as three years that can prohibit abuse or even contact by the alleged abuser. A violation of that Order is a criminal offense than can result in jail time.
How are a married couple's assets divided in a divorce?
First, there must be a determination as to what assets are marital and subject to division and what are not. Generally, assets obtained prior to the marriage or assets given specifically to one party during the marriage are considered the separate property of the owner of that asset and not subject to division. Any increase in the value of such asset, however, is generally considered marital property. Debts are treated the same way.
Second, after the marital assets and debts are identified, a number of factors are applied to determine how the assets should be distributed to the parties in an equitable manner. There are many factors that are considered, including the length of the marriage, the access either party has to other assets or income, the role each party played in the marriage, which party will have custody of minor children and others factors designed to predict the needs of the parties. This division of assets is generally by agreement but, if there is no agreement, a Court will decide after a trial.
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