Coronavirus Update - Helpful Information for Our Clients

Articles Posted in Spousal Support

Hello again dear clients and friends of BFL,

This new  coronavirus is serious and  likely will be with us for a while.    The most important thing is that you take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe.  Stay Home and follow the most current directives of the CDC.

BFL is open and ready to help you while we all learn to live differently in this unprecedented time.   We are working from our homes, and monitoring your cases.  We are available to meet with you by video and talk by phone.  Of course,   you always can email us, as usual.

At Bookspan Family Law, LLC we meet many  of you at a vulnerable time in your lives.  Our goal is to help you through life transitions and ease your way to a better future.  Foremost in our minds now is the health and well-being of  you —our clients,  our friends and colleagues.  I am continuously reviewing and assessing the recommendations and requirements of applicable state, local and federal authorities, as well as the World Health Organization and the CDC, to implement necessary precautions and protective steps. As we face the coronavirus global pandemic together,  I want to assure you that we are continuing to work for you.

A note about financial obligations such as child and spousal support and alimony…

If you have lost your job, and or been temporarily laid off, it may affect your support payment (obligation and or receipt).    In Pennsylvania,  parties who either pay or receive support have a statutory obligation to report to Domestic Relations  a change in financial circumstances   As we have not faced  before anything like coronavirus and the interruptions in work and financial security it may bring, we may be in uncharted waters.  However, if you are laid off for a significant period of time, or lose you job, this is a change in circumstance that should be reported.  Alimony payments also may be affected.  Depending upon how alimony was provided for in your property settlement  agreement,  it could be impacted by a recent  financial change.    Please let us know if this is the case, and we will evaluate any next steps with you. For further discussion on financial security and cCvid-19, and a financial webinar,  see more information below.

     Conflict is an inevitable and pervasive part of human psychology and social relationships.  The traditional approach to conflict is a flight or fight response.  The kinds of emotions that trigger this  response are hurt, anger, fear, vulnerability and pain,  the  triggers that can  bring  a couple or a relationship to the brink of separation and divorce.   When  the level of conflict is high the fight or flight leads to a situation where the disputants want to fight and win.  If someone wins, then naturally the other person loses.

While in the midst of  intense feelings it may be hard to believe that things will change, or that one has the power to make a difference.  Some parties may flee and seek the courts  and/ or an attorney for a remedy.   Some may feel stuck and remain in a negative situation until it becomes unbearable.  Regardless, the conflict is dealt with, either through avoidance or more directly through a form of dispute resolution.   For couples,  when avoidance no longer works,  mediation should be considered because the possibility of a win/win is better than the alternatives.

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Mediation is attractive because it allows the parties to take control of their situation and the resolution of their dispute.  In the marital arena  parties can go to mediation for division of property in divorce;  to work out child support and spousal support; to work on parenting issues around children; to work out custody;  and for all of these.  Mediation allows a forum  for the parties to  air their  concerns and grievances, to talk  honestly and work out solutions that they craft together.  Mediation provides a  safe place to  come to a negotiated agreement  and resolve  marital conflict in a positive way.   When parties can work together to craft either a division of property, or a custody schedule or a support plan this, most importantly,  allows for a positive relationship going forward into the future Continue Reading

Keep your eye on the full picture

it is essential to know what financial resources will be yours after divorce. When calculating your full financial picture be sure to consider social security benefits–your own or those of your ex-spouse. Yes, even if divorced, you may be entitled to claim social security retirement or disability benefits based upon the earnings of your ex. If you were the lower wage earner, you probably are entitled to claim on your former spouse’s earnings record. And, you also may have a right to collect a social security survivor benefit of your former spouse. The rules vary, but one essential key to the right to collect in both scenarios is that your marriage lasted ten (10) years or longer.

Social Security Retirement Benefit

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