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Linda Ann Kerns

Linda Kerns’s Answers

4 total

  • Can I stop harassing phone calls from my children's mom?

    I have 3 children, 21, 18 and 14 with a woman that I did not marry. We have not been together for 12 years. I am continually receiving harassing phone calls, blocked 13 numbers their mom has called from. I am sober 6 years this November, have m...

    Linda’s Answer

    Based on the content of her text messages, her behavior may rise to the level of abuse under Pennsylvania's Protection from Abuse statute. You should have an attorney review the material. If you do not have a custody order in effect, you should consider seeking one from the court -- that way you can address what behavior is appropriate in front of a child. It sounds like you are on the right track by not retaliating and ending the conversations as soon as possible. I have written several pieces on my blog about Pennsylvania's Protection from Abuse statute.

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  • Does sole legal custody of a child mean the other parents is still required to pay child support?

    We are in the middle of a custody battle right now but he has now come to the conclusion that he would like to sign his rights over to me so he doesn't have to pay child support anymore. I would be willing to have sole legal rights of my child but...

    Linda’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Legal custody encompasses the right to make decisions about the health, welfare and general well-being of your child. In almost all cases in Pennsylvania, parents share legal custody. Sometimes, a court will decide it is better, or parents will agree, that only one parent makes the decisions -- and that is sole legal custody.

    Legal custody is not related to child support in Pennsylvania. Even if a parent agrees to forego legal custody, that parent will still be liable for child support. Additionally, if parents agree not to exchange child support, that agreement is not enforceable and is subject to modification at any time because a parent cannot waive child support on behalf of the child.

    Even if the father decides he does not want any legal custody rights, he will still responsible for child support. However, if his parental rights are terminated, he will not longer be liable for child support. He will be unable to terminate his rights unless they are taken away from him by a court for cause or there is another man willing to step in and adopt the child. Children have a right to parents so we do not let parents simply walk away from their responsibilities.

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  • My boyfriends ex(wife) will not sign the divorce papers, and we are having a baby & want to be married. What can we do??

    My boyfriends "ex" was having an affair that resulted in him leaving her and filing for divorce. After he filed, and moved out of their house completely, she became pregnant from the man she was having the affair with. He & I met in the beginning ...

    Linda’s Answer

    In Pennsylvania, if you have been separated less than 24 months, you do need your spouse's cooperation to obtain a divorce. However, once you have been separated at least 24 months, you do not need your spouse's signature. Your spouse can still delay the divorce by making economic claims, however. Occasionally, in instances where one or both of the spouses are expecting children with new paramours, the court will grant a bifurcated divorce upon request. This means that the court will dissolve the marriage and reserve the economic claims for a later date. The process to achieve bifurcation can be expensive, however, and courts are often reluctant to bifurcate divorces. You should discuss your case with an attorney --- there may be other options based on the specific facts unique to your case.

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  • 401K and Divorce

    Divorcing in Allegheny County, PA. Both party's 401K's are subject to equitable distribution. Will they be valued from date of marriage to date of physical separation, valued from date of marriage to date of divorce filing, or valued from date o...

    Linda’s Answer

    In Pennsylvania, a retirement plan such as a 401K is generally valued from the date of marriage to the date of separation. However, gains on the premarital portion are also considered marital property. In addition, gains on the marital portion accrued after separation will be considered marital property. Depending on the value of the account, it is usually best to have an expert value the marital portion. Because retirement plans usually contain stocks and bonds that gain and lose value over the years, this can be a complex calculation. However, your attorney should know experts who can perform this analysis for a reasonable price. A retirement plan usually must be divided be court order so that neither party incurs tax consequences or early withdrawal fees. You should be able to find out what your plan requires from the plan administrator.

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