Family Law FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions - Family Law

In the course of helping divorce and family law clients throughout the Wilkes-Barre area from our office in Kingston, we hear similar questions from several clients. Some people are surprised that they find themselves looking at the divorce process and don’t know how to take the first step; others have been thinking about it for a while and have some plans laid. Regardless of your specific situation, we aim to reduce your stress and anxiety around the process by providing clear answers and sound legal advice. If you have a question about divorce, family law, child custody or another topic you do not see below, feel free to contact our office to set up a consultation.

What do I do if I receive divorce papers?

Accepting the envelope is only an admission of delivery; it does not mean you agree to the contents. Once you have the papers, make it a priority to find an experienced divorce lawyer to help guide you through the process. You must respond to the divorce complaint within 30 days in Pennsylvania, 60 days within the U.S. or within 90 days if your spouse is currently out of the country. If you do not respond to the divorce complaint in the allowed amount of time the divorce may be granted without your involvement and you will lose all rights. As your lawyer, we can help explain the entire divorce process, how the law applies to your situation and what to expect next.

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How do I get spousal or child support?

To apply for spousal or child support, you must first file a support complaint. You can file the complaint yourself at your local Pennsylvania county court's domestic relations office or you can have your family lawyer file the paperwork for you. You must file for alimony before the divorce decree is finalized. Many people also ask what amount of alimony or child support they will be entitled to receive under Pennsylvania law. Child support is determined by fairly straightforward calculations while several factors are taken into consideration to calculate alimony payment amounts. Before you sign papers accepting an amount, make sure you’ve talked to an experienced family law attorney who can help protect your rights and your family’s future.

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Do I need a child custody order?

It is advisable to have a legally binding child custody order in place. The order guarantees that you will have access to your child if your ex-spouse has custody; details a designated, enforceable custody schedule; and can ensure that you have the right to make and participate in the legal decisions for your child. Make it a priority to find an attorney who is well-versed in child custody issues and can protect your rights and your relationship with your child(ren).

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Can I choose the parents who will adopt my child?

Yes, you have the right to choose and can relinquish the child to the persons planning on adopting your child. You should consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in terminations and adoptions and can protect you and your children through this process. To learn more about adoption and your options for terminating parental rights as part of the adoption process, click here.

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What expenses can adoptive parents pay for?

Arrangements can be made for the adoptive parents to cover the expenses of the birth mother for prenatal care and the actual birth; expenses incurred for the child prior to the final adoption; reasonable expenses sustained by the agency or a third party for adjustment; costs for counseling and training for the adoptive parents, home studies or investigations; attorney fees. If you are considering adoption for your child and are concerned about the expenses of medical care for you and your unborn child, you should consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in adoptions so that the rights of you and your child are protected and you both can receive proper medical care.

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Divorce Problem? We can Solve It.

Angela F. Stevens, Attorney at Law is a full-service law firm with offices serving the Wilkes-Barre, Kingston and all of the Wyoming Valley including Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wyoming and surrounding cities. We are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and evenings and weekends by appointment. Feel free to call us toll free at 1-844-PA-SOLVE (1-844-727-6583), 570-718-4900 or contact us online to tell us about how we can help with your questions regarding divorce or family law.