Skip to main content
Jeanne B. Costopoulos

Jeanne Costopoulos’s Answers

966 total

  • What are the stipulations regarding a Permanent Alimony award?

    My husband filed for divorce in Dec 2013 and we have been back and forth trying to reach a settlement. I have not filed for spousal support as he has been paying his share since he decided to move out and that 'separation date' is August 19, 2013....

    Jeanne’s Answer

    If you desire post-divorce alimony you must file a claim for it prior to settlement of the case and entry of a divorce decree. There are vairious factors that are considered by the divorce master when determining if alimony should be awarded. § 3701. Alimony.
    (a) General rule.--Where a divorce decree has been entered, the court may allow alimony, as it deems reasonable, to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary.
    (b) Factors relevant.--In determining whether alimony is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:
    (1) The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
    (2) The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
    (3) The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
    (4) The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
    (5) The duration of the marriage.
    (6) The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
    (7) The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
    (8) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
    (9) The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
    (10) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
    (11) The property brought to the marriage by either party.
    (12) The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
    (13) The relative needs of the parties.
    (14) The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony, except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, "abuse" shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 (relating to definitions).
    (15) The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
    (16) Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party's reasonable needs.
    (17) Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.
    (c) Duration.--The court in ordering alimony shall determine the duration of the order, which may be for a definite or an indefinite period of time which is reasonable under the circumstances.
    (d) Statement of reasons.--In an order made under this section, the court shall set forth the reason for its denial or award of alimony and the amount thereof.
    (e) Modification and termination.--An order entered pursuant to this section is subject to further order of the court upon changed circumstances of either party of a substantial and continuing nature whereupon the order may be modified, suspended, terminated or reinstituted or a new order made. Any further order shall apply only to payments accruing subsequent to the petition for the requested relief. Remarriage of the party receiving alimony shall terminate the award of alimony.
    (f) Status of agreement to pay alimony.--Whenever the court approves an agreement for the payment of alimony voluntarily entered into between the parties, the agreement shall constitute the order of the court and may be enforced as provided in section 3703 (relating to enforcement of arrearages).

    See question 
  • Do I need a lawyer if the other party is willing to sign any paper work in a divorce scenario?

    Both parties have reached a point where its better if they separate then be together.

    Jeanne’s Answer

    You should at least speak to one before you sign away rights that may be improtant to you. You are not required to get legal advice but it would be prudent to do so.

    See question 
  • Custody established in Balt. County MD -Parents live in diff state (PA) . Custody Mod needed due to welfare of child -advice?

    Daughter is 14 expresses lack of stability in house (which they are losing in 2 months) Wants to live with non custodial parent who has joint legal. Daughter called crying hysterically due to fight she got into with mother-Mother pushed daughter p...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    If the order is in Maryland then you will need to obtain an attorney in Maryland to file a petition to modify custody. Sometimes there are self-help centers that have forms for you to get the case started and save money for legal counsel for actual court appearances if needed.

    See question 
  • What chance does a man stand in being awarded custody of a 7 year old daughter?

    Mother neglects her to the point of not washing her for days at a time, not making her brush her teeth or her hair, yells and swears at her like a drunken sailor. And then buys her everything under the sun to spoil her and make it harder for anyo...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    There are several custody factors that a judge must consider when making a custody determination, but gender is not one of them.

    23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5328
    § 5328. Factors to consider when awarding custody
    (a) Factors.--In ordering any form of custody, the court shall determine the best interest of the child by considering all relevant factors, giving weighted consideration to those factors which affect the safety of the child, including the following:
    (1) Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party.
    (2) The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party's household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate physical safeguards and supervision of the child.
    (2.1) The information set forth in section 5329.1(a) (relating to consideration of child abuse and involvement with protective services).
    (3) The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child.
    (4) The need for stability and continuity in the child's education, family life and community life.
    (5) The availability of extended family.
    (6) The child's sibling relationships.
    (7) The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child's maturity and judgment.
    (8) The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm.
    (9) Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child's emotional needs.
    (10) Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child.
    (11) The proximity of the residences of the parties.
    (12) Each party's availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements.
    (13) The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party's effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party.
    (14) The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party's household.
    (15) The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party's household.
    (16) Any other relevant factor.
    (b) Gender neutral.--In making a determination under subsection (a), no party shall receive preference based upon gender in any award granted under this chapter.

    See question 
  • My wife abandoned our marriage of 23yrs. I'm retired(10yrs). If divorced will she have to pay alimony

    Together 33yrs Married 23yrs Son 21yrs old in college (senior) Left me with utility bills I had to seek bankruptcy to save my home

    Jeanne’s Answer

    If you were the dependent spouse during the marriage and your wife has more income than you and you are not residing with another woman then you can file a claim for alimony. In the end, the divorce will weigh various factors set forth in the DIvorce Code to determine if alimony is appropriate and, if so, how much for how long. I have included a link below to the factors.

    See question 
  • Do I need a lawyer for child custody?

    My fiance and I have 2 boys together. I'm seriously considering leaving him because he is very mentally and emotionally abusive towards me and controlling. He is always threatening to take the boys from me and keeps saying that he will make sure I...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    If you leave with the boys then you will want to file a custody complaint. You can file the complaint using an attorney or not, it does not matter how it gets filed. You should probably retain in attorney to accompany you to the conciliation conference that will be scheduled once the complaint has been filed. If no custody agreement is reachad at the conference, the case will be scheduled for a hearing before a judge. You shold definitely have an attorney anytime you need to appear before a judge.

    See question 
  • Hello - My question is related to child support and child custody.

    My daughter's father and I were unmarried when I gave birth to my daughter. We tried to make it work initially, but separated when my daughter was 15 months old. I thought it important that she have a relationship with both of us and drafted a w...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    If your daughter is not happy under the current arrangement then you may file a petition to modify the current order. If there is no order, then you will need to file a complaint in custody. It will then be scheduled for a custody conciliation conference and your daughter will most likely be asked to speak to the conciliator in private. If no custody agreement is reached at conciliatiion then the case will go to mediation and then trial before a judge. You daughter's preference is just one of many factors that a judge is required to consider.

    See question 
  • Custody of my newborn son

    I'm currently married and left my husband when I was 6 Months pregnant. He had full custody of his two daughters. He has since gotten his two daughters taken away from him by the state of MD. They are covered by a protective order. He is allowed ...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    Wait until he files something then argue your points to the conciliator and then the judge if the case doesn't settle at conciliation. The outcome solely depends on who is appointed to make the decision because different conciliators and judges view situations differently based on the facts and circumstances as presented by both sides.

    See question 
  • If I can not find my wife to get divorced what do I have to post in a newspaper and for how long to get abdolute divorce

    We have been separated for 12 yrs,she left town can't find her,she cheated om me within 2 weeks after marriage

    Jeanne’s Answer

    First you file the divorce complaint under section 3301(d) of the divorce code. Then you file a petition to serve notice by publication. Once approvied, you publish as set forth in the court's order approving the notice by publication. You will need to attach an affdavit to the petition explaining the steps you have taken to try to find her, such as retained a private investigator or did some internet searches, etc. You will want to attach some sort of report to the petition when you file it with your affidavit.

    See question 
  • I need a divorce lawyer. the person I want to divorce live in another state. can I make it happen?

    I live in York PA. My wife lives in Florida.

    Jeanne’s Answer

    If you have lived in York more than six months (and preferably there is not marital real estate in Florida) then you can file a divorce complaint in York and serve it on her in Florida. I will need more details before I can comment regarding the steps necessary to obtain the divorce decree, such as whether there are any assets or debts to divide or if either spouse is seeking alimony or other economic relief.

    See question