Divorce

MY SPOUSE AND I ARE CONTEMPLATING A DIVORCE --

WHERE DO I START?
Because no attorney can represent both parties in a divorce, you should hire an attorney to exclusively represent your unique interest. Click here to read more.

Custody

Who has rights to my children? How can those rights be exercised legally? Click here for answers.

Asset Protection / Wealth Preservation / Wills / Estates / Trusts

Preserving your money and property in these uncertain economic times demands sound yet innovative advice and planning. Click here to read how we may assist you.

Domestic Relations

Questions about child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, and alimony? Click here.

Bankruptcy

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for Bankruptcy Relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. For more information about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, click here.

Personal Injury

If you were hurt through someone else's negligence or recklessness, we can help you receive compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering. Click here to read more.

Same-Sex Couples

Recent developments in the national law have resolved many issues previously confronting same-sex couples but some issues remain. Click here to find out what problems still exist.

Elder Law

Problems arising with advancing age are not just medical. Click here to read more about the unique legal and financial issues which come as we grow older and how to handle them.

To Marry or Not to Marry?

 

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that persons of the same sex may marry in any state or commonwealth in the country.   The ruling was and remains controversial on several fronts.  Nevertheless, the legal and financial issues confronting same-sex couples have largely been resolved provided they marry.

Just as couples of the opposite sex choose at times to remain in committed relationships without marrying, same-sex couples may choose not to marry. Such committed but unmarried couples may take certain legal actions which operate to protect them, similar to protections afforded by marriage, without the detriments that sometimes attend marriage like the obligation to support the other spouse, property distribution in the event of divorce, and divorce itself.

Consult an experienced attorney if you have questions regarding the financial and legal implications of marriage versus divorce, or, if you are certain you wish not to marry, what protections you may implement--such as through trusts, powers of attorney, and wills--to keep your loved one empowered in your life in all the right ways.

 

Child Issues of Same-Sex Couples

 

Custody and adoption questions abound in same-sex relationships, in or out of marriage.  Where one party may be the natural parent, the other party simply is not.  Consequently, is a custody order or an adoption more appropriate for governing the rights of the parties over the children?   Whether there is a relatively simple custody order or an adoption decree entered with all of the attendant rights and responsibilities could make an enormous difference in the lives of children and parents should the relationship between the parties sour.  

Furthermore, the law governing custody and adoption varies across jurisdictions significantly. Consult an experienced custody attorney with knowledge of same-sex couple's child issues to explore options for solidifying your family in the best way for you.

"Domestic Relations" is the section of the court tasked with calculating, awarding and enforcing the payment of child support, spousal support, and alimony pendente lite (APL).  The office's functions are intended to be "consumer friendly" to allow most individuals to seek the court's assistance with support matters without the need to hire an attorney.

Unless you are experienced in dealing with Domestic Relations and the conferences it holds to determine support matters, it is advisable to seek the advice of an experienced support attorney prior to filing any paperwork at Domestic Relations or appearing for a conference.  Support matters, like most legal matters, are not always as straightforward as they may seem.  Consult an attorney as soon as you receive notice of a support action against you or if you wish to seek support for yourself or your child.  (Caution:  If you have been summoned to a conference and cannot seek the advice of an attorney beforehand, you nevertheless must go to the conference.)  

Domestic Relations does not resolve issues of alimony (support paid by an ex-spouse to an ex-spouse).  Consult an attorney before you are divorced for assistance in obtaining alimony.

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Discretion at our firm is guaranteed.

Call us -- you are entitled to the very best legal representation available.

Despite our willingness to fight on your behalf, we are friendly, professional and accessible.

We will put you at ease immediately.

 

 

Devoted to fervent representation in difficult divorce litigation, DORSETT LAW FIRM will represent you aggressively against the most difficult spouse.

Whether a spouse is refusing to negotiate, is abusive, or is difficult in some other way, we will battle for you.  We are not intimidated by bullies.

Solidly ethical and always prepared, we will be at your side through any court action and keep you informed as to the progress of your case.  

We will do everything legally possible to help you safeguard your children, ensure the equitable division of your marital estate, and obtain the financial support you and your children rightfully deserve under the law.

 

Bankruptcy is a legal process by which an individual or other entity obtains relief from creditors' actions (such as foreclosure and repossession) and debt (including judgments).  Relief can be a complete discharge of all of the individual's (or married couple's) liability to pay debt or a reduction of the debtor's (or debtors') debt load to some extent.  

To file bankruptcy, a debtor is required to take a debt counseling course prior to filing a petition with the bankruptcy court.  The debtor also must prepare and file a petition, a complete and thorough listing of all of the debtor's assets, debts, income and expenses.  Obtaining the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney to prepare the petition is critical.

While bankruptcy law requires all debts of the debtor to be administered in the bankruptcy case, debts secured by houses, cars, and the like, are treated specially to some extent allowing most debtors to keep property provided the debtor pays the monthly expenses thereof and cures any arrearage.  Insurance and upkeep on such property must also be maintained.

In some cases, debts co-signed by others can be treated specially in order to protect the co-signor.  

While student loans and taxes are not ordinarily dischargeable, bankruptcy can provide some relief from these debts under certain circumstances.  

After filing the petition, the debtor must attend and testify at a "meeting of creditors" to verify their identity and the accuracy of the petition.  The debtor will also answer any questions asked by any interested party attending the meeting, including the trustee assigned to administer the case.  Despite its name, the "meeting of creditors" is ordinarily brief with few if any creditors attending.

Depending on the individual circumstances, the debtor may be required to provide additional information or attend other hearings in the case before a discharge is granted, although these requirements are not common.

Before the case is completed, the debtor must complete a second counseling course on financial management.

Bankruptcy relief is often described by the chapter number of the statute under which the petition is filed, like Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  While a debtor may have a preference to file under one case or another to obtain one type of relief or another, each case must be carefully evaluated by a bankruptcy attorney to determine which chapter is the most appropriate under the individual circumstances.

DORSETT LAW FIRM has practiced bankruptcy since 1997 in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions.  Contact us at 717-267-2921 or email us here for a free telephone consultation.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. 

dreamstime s 1863231Adoption is the assumption of legal rights and duties of a parent by an adult--often a step-parent but not always--of a child, or in rarer cases, another adult.  

Adoption of a minor child requires termination of the child’s birth parent's (or parents') parental rights by a court, after notice and a hearing, unless the parent has predeceased the child.  Parental rights may be terminated voluntarily (that is, by consent) or involuntarily under certain very specific circumstances established by law. 

If the child is older, the child's consent to the adoption will be required.  Similarly, adoption of an adult requires consent of both the adopting party and the adoptee.

Parties desiring to adopt a child should be prepared to give fingerprints, obtain a criminal record check and a child abuse clearance.  The parties will be required to attend at least one hearing in the process and often two.  Such hearings are held before a judge at the county court house.

Granting adoptions is within the discretion of the judge presiding over the case and is not automatic.  The best interest of the child will weigh heavily in the court's decision.  Judges tend to grant adoption petitions when the child will benefit from the adoption in emotional and financial ways.

DORSETT LAW FIRM has litigated termination of parental rights and adoptions by step-parents, unmarried parties, same-sex couples, adult-adult adoptions and special needs adoptions in over 25 years of practice.  

To learn more details of the process, costs, and the likelihood of success, please call us at 717-267-2921 or email us here.

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