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What Does Pro Se Mean in Legal Terms?

A Judge in a Court

What does pro se mean in legal terms?

In certain legal cases, such as an uncontested divorce, hiring an attorney might be unecessary. When you decide to represent yourself in court, no matter what the legal case is, this is known as pro se representation. “Pro se” is a Latin term for “in one’s own behalf”. People choose to represent themselves in court for a variety of reasons, although they most often do so in civil cases because representation is not a guaranteed right in civil courts as it is in criminal courts. You might, for instance, have a simple case like an uncontested divorce or it could be that hiring a private attorney is just too expensive for the particular case. If you’ve decided to represent yourself for whatever reason, you may still need advice on how to proceed in court. You can get this valuable advice from People's Justice LLC with our pro se legal services in Philadelphia, PA. Find out more by calling 855-577-7673.

What is the difference between pro se and pro per?

If you plan to represent yourself in a court of law you may be considered “pro se” or “pro per”. For the most part, these terms mean the same thing—you’ve chosen to represent yourself in your case. 

In some instances a distinction might be made:

  • Pro se: When you represent yourself pro se, you might still seek advice from an attorney, although the attorney is always in the background and never appears in court on your behalf.
  • Pro per: You’re taking the case and making all arguments on your own with no assistance whatsoever from legal counsel.

Do pro se litigants ever win?

Except in minor cases, usually in uncontested divorces or similar family law matters, it’s often very difficult for pro se litigants to win their cases. Largely this is because of their lack of training in the complexities of the law and courts and understanding of court proceedings such as how to file motions. Pro se litigants also often fail to research their cases thoroughly to provide enough evidence to make substantial arguments before the judge. If you are unable to afford an attorney, getting help from legal services such as People's Justice LLC may help you if you have to represent yourself in court.

Do judges hate pro se?

While technically judges must remain objective as a case is presented, it can be difficult to hear a case presented by a pro se litigant or defendant. This is because of the complexities of the law and legal proceedings, as well as the lack of preparedness often shown by someone opting for self-representation. In some instances, judges have to guide pro se litigants through processes while in session and judges will often counsel them to seek some kind of legal assistance before continuing a case. While judges might give guidance to them in some procedures, judges will tend to hold them to the same standards as they would attorneys as far as presenting evidence and making arguments is concerned.

How does a pro se plaintiff testify?

To represent themselves, pro se plaintiffs must act and present their case as a lawyer would. This means you have to be able to provide testimonial evidence from witnesses and documentary evidence or exhibits. You must also present the evidence to the court by having witnesses testify and present copies of exhibits to the other parties. You must show why your evidence is relevant to the case and you must be able to explain why the evidence is relevant to the case if the other party makes any objections to it. You may also need to publish the evidence, which means you present it to the jury.    

Can pro se subpoena records?

Anytime a pro se litigant wishes to subpoena witnesses or records they must get the signature of the county clerk. All rules for serving a subpoena must be followed as well. These rules will vary from state to state and may be different for pro se than for an attorney.

Can a pro se file electronically?

Yes, pro se litigants can file documents either electronically or in person. While it’s often best to file documents in person, you might have to file them electronically to meet a deadline when the clerk’s office is closed or if it is inconvenient for you to file in person.

Can a pro se litigant conduct a deposition?

Yes, pro se litigants can conduct their own depositions. To do so the witness, their attorney (if used), and a court reporter must be present. The deposition is performed in either the court reporter’s office or in a conference room in the attorney’s office.

Can a corporation appear pro se?

No, corporations cannot appear in court pro se. All corporations or partnerships must use an attorney to represent them in court.

A Judge Bangs a Gavel.

Give Us a Call Today

If you are considering pro se in Philadelphia, PA, make sure you have all the best legal advice possible and get help from People's Justice LLC. We offer multiple solutions for those seeking counself and legal advice. Find out how we can help you by calling 855-577-7673.

Why Are Incorporation Articles Necessary?

group meeting

Making Sure You Have the Right Documentation

Incorporation is the process of forming a company or corporate entity legally that separates the assets and income of the firm from the investors and owners. To do this, there are formal documents required called articles of incorporation. These documents, incorporation articles, are filed with the government, so the creation of the corporation becomes legal. 

Those documents, the incorporation articles,contain relevant information, that includes the  firm’s name, street address, and the agent for service of process. Also included in this paper is stock information that breaks down how the stock is to be issued and in what amount.

What is another name for articles of incorporation? 

Many businesses in the United States are formed as a corporation, a business type that is formed in whatever state the company operates. To have legal recognition as a corporation, the business must incorporate which requires certain steps and decisions that corporate law requires, such as filing the Articles of Incorporation. 

Other names for Articles of Incorporation are:

  • Corporate Charter
  • Articles of Association
  • Certificate of Incorporation
articles of incorporation documents

Why is the Articles of Incorporation so important?

The importance of Articles of Incorporation are to establish a company within the home state and inform that state of the key business aspects. Filing of the Articles of Incorporation is how the owner advises the home state the purpose, the name, address and of the corporation along with the name and address of the agent. The incorporation articles also advises the state the number of authorized shares and amounts of common stock, along with incorporators names. A copy of company bylaws is requested by some states.  

Why get incorporation articles?

Incorporation articles separate the business owner and the business from each other. The Articles of Incorporation create a legal entity for the business and reduce the personal risk for a business owner, making the business financially responsible for debts under the business name and responsible legally for any possible lawsuits.

The following are the incorporation articles benefits a business owner will have:

  • Secure your personal assets. With incorporation articles filed, an owner an enjoy the protection of a limited liability and won’t be personally responsible for the business debts. This means a creditor cannot pursue your home or vehicle to repay debts incurred under the business. 
  • Gain tax breaks Incorporation articles give you tax advantages like writing off health insurance premiums, life insurance, and savings on self-employment taxes.
  • Grow your corporation now and later. Incorporating strengthens credibility and can help you reach other avenues for new customers and partners. With incorporation articles, even if you die or sell your interest, the corporation will live on. .
  • Easier and faster transfer funds. It is easy to transfer a corporation ownership. Raising capital is easier by way of selling stock, and banks favor corporations for loans. 
  • Retirement ready. Retirement funds, 401k, and qualified plans are easier to establish. 

What are the articles of incorporation for an LLC?

Articles of Organization are similar to Articles of Incorporation, the difference being the Articles of Organization are for LLCs (limited liability companies), which is a totally different business classification with the IRS. 

The business owner has financial and legal protection by doing busines as an LLC. This is the preferred business classifications for companies that will have assets where value changes, like real estate holdings. LLCs also provide liability and tax benefits according to IRS stipulations. 

Where an LLC differs from a corporation, holdings aren’t transferred as easy and outside investors are fewer. The state regulations and rules should be repaired before you file your document, you may find that your state will use both types of classifications Incorporation Articles and Articles of organization, interchangeably. 

Does a single member LLC need articles of incorporation?

Theoretically, no, but it is recommended since the objective of the operating agreement is to state an LLC’s operations  while set out the members responsibilities, even with a single member. 

Is operating agreement and articles of incorporation the same thing?

Yes, but no.  Conceivably the key difference between an operating agreement and an article of incorporation  is the operating agreement defines how the business owners are professionally relate in a binding way. The article of incorporation defines how the business is legally related to the state.

The important similarities between the two is the significance each has, and both provide the information necessary for a business to operate at optimum ability. Both documents detail the business name and function, describing how the business is to operate. Both documents define the business management and ownership structures. 

How to get articles of incorporation

Articles of Incorporation does not need to be  prepared by a lawyer, however, it is recommended to seek legal advice because of the complex legal issues involved for starting a business. , Under Pennsylvania law, several specialized corporations may be incorporated, a topic a lawyer can advise. 

Business corporation ancillaries may be established at the time of filing of the articles of incorporation. Or the owners may choose specialized status with a vote by the shareholders for an amendment of existing articles. In Pennsylvania state, the Articles of Incorporation – For Profit should be file convoyed by a docketing statement and filed with the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. 

stacks of articles of incorporation

Last Few Words 

Is it necessary to that filing articles of incorporation and lawyers are involved?  No, it is not necessary to have a lawyer involved when filing articles of incorporation. For a person that is start a business and doesn’t have a business background, education, or training, a business lawyer could be of great help in making important decisions, some of which cannot be changed easily. 

Can I Make My Own Will and Testament?

A Will and Testament

Can I make my own will and testament?

While a last will and testament is a legal document, you can write a will on your own without an attorney’s help. The will must meet state requirements or it might be found invalid in court. Every state has different requirements for writing your own will to make it valid. You might be able to fill out a standardized form or a handwritten will may be valid in your state. States also have varied laws to execute the will. You might have to sign the will in front of disinterested witnesses or the will might need to be notarized. You are also going to have to consider estate taxes, and you will have to make sure you’re using the right language and terminology to distribute assets to your beneficiaries. Writing your own will can be complicated. People's Justice LLC can help you with a DIY last will and testament in Philadelphia, PA. Learn more about how we can help by calling 855-577-7673.

How do I make a will without a lawyer?

In Pennsylvania, you can create a will and testament using an online template or software designed specifically for that purpose. The software and templates may be purchased and downloaded through various resources and some provide access to free legal advice. Pennsylvania law allows you to sign the will without witnesses, although in certain circumstances witnesses may be required at probate to prove the will after your death. To avoid this problem, you can attach a self-proving affidavit to the will with witnesses to your signature. While you can write a will without an attorney’s assistance, you may want to consult an attorney or service like People's Justice LLC to clarify any questions you may have, especially about terminology you might not understand or you have complex situations you need to sort out.

How do you write a last will and testament?

Although it may seem daunting, writing a will and testament can be simplified by following this process:

  • Create a document or download a template: If you are creating the document yourself, you primarily need to title the document “Last Will and Testament” and list your full legal name and address on the document. You’ll also make a declaration that you’re of legal age, of sound mind, and this document is your last will, revoking all other wills. 
  • Name an executor: The executor is the person, usually a family member or close friend, who manages the will and distributes your estate’s assets. 
  • Appoint guardians for minor or dependent children: Name someone you trust as guardians of children or the court will appoint them guardians.
  • Name your beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are anyone who inherits assets after you die.
  • Designate assets: Assets can range from money to property, and you will make a list of all assets along with the person who will inherit them. You may also list any people you wish to disinherit, along with reasons why.
  • Find witnesses, if needed, to sign the will: Although not required, it’s usually best to find witnesses of legal age to sign the will. Getting witnesses to sign will prevent problems in probate after you die.
  • Find a safe place to store the will: Put the will in a safe deposit box or other similar secure place and notify your executor of its location.

How does last will and testament work?

As a legal document, your last will and testament gives you an opportunity to decide how your assets are distributed to family and friends after you die. In addition to naming heirs to your property and financial assets, you can also name guardianship of minors or dependent children. As long as the court determines the will valid, and no one contests the will, all your assets are distributed as outlined in the will after your death.  

Can a last will and testament be changed?

The last will and testament can be changed at any time by the person who made the will—the testator—as long as that person is mentally competent. Usually, changes are made through a codicil, a document that specifies the changes and is attached to the will. Codicils are usually added for minor changes. The testator can also fully revoke a will and write a new one that can change everything the person sees fit. For substantial changes, a new will is recommended.

Can a last will and testament be contested?

A last will and testament can be contested. It can only be contested, however, during the probate process and a valid legal question arises about the document or the circumstances in which it was written. It can be contested if there are problems with how the will was signed or witnessed, or if there is a question of the person’s mental capacity when the will was signed if it was signed under fraudulent circumstances, or under the undue influence of another person. 

Do wills hold up in court?

As long as the will meets all requirements of a valid will and testament in your state, the will should hold up in court. Should the court find any requirement not met by the will, it might be considered invalid. Should that happen, in most states, the person’s estate will be handled as if it were intestate. Usually, this means the first next of kin receives all assets. If no next of kin is found, the state keeps the assets.

Are last will and testament public record?

After a person dies, their last will and testament must be submitted to a local court to begin the probate process. This is the process in which the will is proven and assets are distributed. Once the will has gone through the probate process, it then becomes part of the public record.

A Woman Fills in a Will.

What should you never put in your will?

Your last will and testament is specifically used to distribute personal property and financial assets to heirs. In the will you shouldn’t add funeral wishes or requests, as these are not assets of any kind. You should also avoid listing any music, eBooks or other material in your “digital estate”. At this time, there is a lot of gray area involving digital material and digital bequests may not be enforceable. You might, however, want to bequeath account information and passwords to an heir. 

Jointly held property cannot be handed to a beneficiary, as the survivor retains full ownership of the property after your death. Accounts like life insurance policies also don’t fall under assets in your will as the beneficiary has already been named in the policy. Of course, you also don’t want to list any items as assets that are illegal like illicit drugs.

If you are drawing up a last will and testament in Philadelphia, PA, and need help doing so, let the professionals at People's Justice LLC guide you through the process. We offer a full range of advisory services on several legal matters. Get help today by calling 855-577-7673.

How does a deed transfer work?

Deed signing

Do I need a lawyer to change the name on a deed?

Before we answer that question, let’s define what a deed transfer is first.  To transfer ownership of a property deed from the person selling (grantor) to the person buying (buyer), a deed must be present to make it a legal transaction. Both the seller and buyer must be identified on the deed with property description; thus, the transfer deed. There are different categories of deeds, including quitclaim, particular purpose, and warranty deed.

Contrary to popular belief, in the state of Pennsylvania, the names on a deed cannot be changed once the Court Clerk has recorded it. To change a name on a deed, you do need to consult with a lawyer that specializes in real estate to have a new deed prepared and filed.

If one spouse of a married couple dies and they held property jointly as tenants by entireties, removing the decease’s name is not necessary. Should the surviving spouse want to sell the property or refinance the mortgage at a later date, a simple explanation can be stated in the new deed or a new mortgage. If there is any unique instance for a particular legal situation, such as deed transfer exemption, that the name needs to be removed, consultation with a real estate lawyer is recommended.

Do I need an attorney to transfer property?

No, but it is recommended to transfer deed to another person. When you don’t use a lawyer to change a deed, you risk the information on the deed being inaccurate, like the property description or names misspelled. The information could be out of date from people listed on the deed divorcing, marrying, or dying.

However, if the expense of hiring a lawyer is the issue, you can change or transfer deed by obtaining a certified copy of the deed yourself. Review the information and check for accuracy.

Then obtain a deed form either at an office supply store or online and complete it with all the pertinent information like the grantor name, grantee name, and the legal description of the property. Neither party needs to sign the deed!

All parties involved need to take the unsigned deed and form to the County Clerk’s office, who will witness the signatures of both grantor and grantee. With the clerk performing the witness duty as a notary public, the transfer deed will then be an official document.

What do you need to transfer property?

A power of attorney gives legal authority to one person that will be referred to an agent, to act in the best interest of another person, referred to the principal. The agent will have an ethical and/or legal relationship of trust for the principal to care for their assets and finances.

Many times, a transfer deed with power of attorney will take place when the principal holding a power of attorney becomes mentally or physically disabled and unable to sign legal paperwork on their own. A power of attorney is typically assigned to a spouse, a family member, or a close friend.

A power of attorney allows the agent to sign any real estate documents, including a real estate transfer deed, eliminating the need to open a conservatorship, guardianship, or seeking permission of the court. It is recommended the agent seek the guidance of a real estate attorney to assure the deed is in current and proper condition of names and property description.

Can someone put your name on a house without you knowing?

If you are given real estate by another person that they have purchased, it is a gift, but they cannot transfer deed or title to the property to you with your acceptance of the property. If a person is wanting to simply transfer deed of property to you, putting the property in your name, it is only legal once they competed a legal transfer deed that is officially accepted by you.

gavel and legal transfer process

Does being on a deed affect your credit?

When you sign a mortgage deed, you agree to repay the loan according to the mortgage terms. A mortgage deed is a legal document, and once all parties have signed the deed, it is recorded at with the local registry of deeds. All parties that have signed the mortgage deed are a vital player in the mortgage debt being repaid, and if you default on the mortgage note, it will be reported to the three credit bureaus and affect your credit rating.

Any time you have a part of a deed, mortgage transfer deed, it is advised to seek the counsel of a real estate attorney. Making sure everything is correct and in order before placing your name on the deed or signing a transfer deed. Once things are signed and filed with the court, it becomes a permanent record. While you may want to avoid that expense, it is cheaper than if you have to hire one to clean up a registry that was misfiled. When dealing with a deed transfer, People's Justice LLC can help! Call 855-577-7673 today!

What Does Pro Se Divorce Mean?

pro se divorce

What Does Pro Se Divorce Mean?

DIY / Pro Se Divorce is a form of a divorce proceeding that requires special attention. A pro se divorce is actually all about self-representation. In a pro se divorce, a litigant will represent themselves in a divorce in lieu of an attorney. The terms “Pro se” and “pro per” both mean the same thing. These terms refer to self-representation in court, stemming from Latin phrases.

How Long Does a Pro Se Divorce Take?

Once the papers for a pro se divorce have been filed with the court, an uncontested divorce case can range anywhere from between six weeks to twelve months. A normal divorce will take anywhere from four months and twelve months or a year. The divorce proceedings will take longer depending on where you live.

How Can I Get a Divorce If I Have No Money?

Unfortunately, in addition to a divorce being a very difficult part of one’s life, it can also be a very expensive part of one’s life. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that a litigant can move forward in a less expensive way. For instance, agreeing to agree is one of those ways. Divorces can be expensive when the spouses argue and fight over every part of the split. When the spouses agree to set aside their differences and agree to compromise, things go far, far smoother. A judge will refuse to sign off on the divorce until every last aspect of the divorce is resolved. That includes alimony, child custody, and property division.

How Do I File a Pro Se Divorce?

If you would like to file an uncontested divorce, the basic steps are fairly simple. The first thing that you should do is file a petition asking the court to grant a divorce. The next thing that you should do is notify your spouse that you have filed for divorce. The next thing that you should do is file a declaration of finances. After that, you can obtain a hearing date. You will attend the hearing date before the judge who will sign a judgment that will finalize the divorce. If both spouses are amicable and everything is agreed upon, the divorce will be finalized sooner rather than later.

Why Do People Separate Instead of Divorce?

There are a number of entirely valid reasons why people choose to separate rather than divorce. The following list comprises several of these reasons. This list is meant to reflect the unique nuances present in a divorce versus a separation.

  • Religious beliefs. Many people believe in the sanctity of marriage for religious reasons. Because this is the case, many couples choose to separate rather than divorce.
  • Keeping health insurance benefits. Believe it or not, some couples choose to remain together for the mutual health insurance benefits which are extended as a result of one or the other’s job.
  • Aversion to divorce. Some couples agree that while they may not be happy, they do not wish to become divorced. Under such unusual circumstances, they may decide to simply separate.

Pro Se Divorce Forms

The best way for individuals to move forward with a Pro Se divorce is to consult a divorce attorney that specializes in the process. Becoming informed is one of the best things that a litigant can do in the face of a divorce. Pro se divorce materials are available through a valued attorney or online through appropriate and responsible research.

Pro Se Divorce

Responsibility is key in a pro se divorce. Each of the litigants is responsible for filing the correct papers properly, serving them, and filling out all the divorce paperwork according to the laws of their state. If any part of the process is done incorrectly, the court could easily dismiss the case. Alternatively, the court could also require the litigants to redo their papers or require the litigant to re-serve the other party. If either one of the litigants has decided to hire an attorney, it will be important to level the “playing field” and hire one correspondingly.

What Should You Not Do During a Separation?

If you and your partner are undergoing a separation, it will be important for you to minimize exposure on that topic. Acting with dignity and solemnity is a plus. Friends, family, and co-workers will quite possibly make an effort to weigh in on the process. This is unnecessary and potentially problematic. Something else to avoid is dating other people for the sake of dating other people. Until the divorce process is finalized, it behooves both partners to act with decorum. Divorces have a habit of spiraling wildly out of control. Acting maturely and modestly during the year or so that the divorce is in the process is an advantage both to yourself and your family.

pro se divorce

Is it Better to Be Divorced or Separated?

It is important for all parties involved to be happy. That means that when it comes to the choice of whether to separate or to divorce, the choice is ultimately what will make both spouses happy. Responsibility and maturity are key in such decisions.

Do you have a Pro Se divorce on your agenda? Our friendly staff at People's Justice LLC are ready to take your phone call at 855-577-7673. Receive quality help with your Pro Se divorce in Philadelphia, PA!

What Does it Mean to be a Power of Attorney?

What does it mean to be a power of attorney?

Let’s say you have a parent who is too sick to manage their finances or even their medical care. To be able to legally pay their bills or make decisions about their care if they are unable to, you must be given power of attorney. When you are given power of attorney you have authority to make legal decisions about finances, medical care and property. Usually, this is granted because a person is too sick to manage their affairs or have suffered a disability that leaves them unable to make decisions. The powers you have may be broad or limited. Your responsibilities can end for a number of reasons that include but are not limited to the person dying, the person revoking, or a court deciding to invalidate it.

For help with DIY power of attorneys planning in Philadelphia, PA, the experts at People's Justice LLC are the team to turn to. We offer a wide variety of legal advice services. Learn more about how we can help or set up an appointment by calling 855-577-7673.

What are the four types of power of attorney?

When you are granted power of attorney, there are four types you can hold.

  • General: When given general POA you can do pretty much anything for the other person including paying bills, opening accounts or make medical decisions.
  • Durable: This is similar to a general POA but has a clause that the agent maintains responsibility even should the principal become incapacitated.
  • Special or Limited: This form limits the agent in his or her responsibilities. You may, for instance, be able to pay bills, but not make medical decisions for the principal.
  • Springing Durable Power of Attorney: This is available in some states in which durable POA goes into effect when a specific event occurs, as when the principal becomes incapacitated. 

What are the powers of a power of attorney?

The powers of a power of attorney will vary depending on the type granted. If you’re granted general POA, you can handle finances, settle claims, employ professional help or make medical decisions. With a limited or special POA, you may be limited to just paying bills, but not handle other financial aspects. In most cases, as long as the principal is of sound mind, they can still make decisions on their behalf. These decisions often override decisions of the agent if there is a disagreement. If a decision is made that the principal disagrees with, the power of attorney can be revoked.

How do I get a power of attorney?

Generally, power of attorney is granted in one of two ways. Normally, the principal and agent discuss the responsibility before the principal suffers any illness or other problem that keeps him or her from managing finances or making decisions. If a person is already mentally incapacitated and no stipulations are made in a living will, you may have to petition a court for conservatorship or adult guardianship. 

In either case, normally a legal document must be drawn up. These documents often can be downloaded online. You may need to sign the documentation in front of witnesses to verify it and in some cases it may need to be notarized. If you have questions or concerns about the legality of the responsibility granted, you may want to hire an attorney or get advice from a group like People's Justice LLC.  

Are power of attorney documents public record

Some powers of attorney will be made part of the public record. Normally, this only involves real estate transactions. These transactions will need to be notarized, and sales of property will be recorded by appropriate city, county or state offices. Copies will be part of the public record, while the original will be returned to the agent submitting it.

Are power of attorney responsible for debt

When a person is granted POA, they are not responsible for the principal’s debt. If the principal no longer has the income to pay a debt like a credit card bill and creditors begin to call you, you are only obligated to explain to the creditor the principal is no longer able to pay and does not want to be approached about it again. The creditor should stop making calls. Their only step should be to go to court if they think they can collect a judgment.

Are power of attorney and executor the same

Having power of attorney and being named executor of a will are two different things. Holding powers of attorney is given to someone while you are still alive. An executor is named in the will to manage affairs after you die. While they are different responsibilities, a person holding powers of attorney could also be named executor after a principal dies.

Can power of attorney change a will

Powers of attorney do not grant the agent any power to make a change to a will. The only person who has the power to change the will is the person who drafts the will.

A Woman Signs Power of Attorney Papers.

How do I override a power of attorney?

Overriding a power of attorney will depend on the principal’s decision, and why the revocation is sought. Generally, the principal granting the POA can revoke it at any time. However, if relatives of the agent believe the agent is abusing their rights or is exploiting the principal, they may take legal action against the agent. They must present in court evidence that the agent is abusing the principal.

If you ever have any questions about the power of attorney in Philadelphia, PA, you can get help from the experts at People's Justice LLC. We offer a variety of legal advice services. Find out how we can help by calling 855-577-7673.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Modify Custody?

Parents Discuss Custody.

Do I need a lawyer to modify custody?

Child custody is often the most difficult issue in a divorce. Depending on the circumstances, the custody agreement may need to be modified. While you don’t need to hire a lawyer to modify custody in Pennsylvania, it’s usually advised, because experienced lawyers can help you achieve a modification agreement that will be in the best interest of the child.

In Pennsylvania, you can either modify custody through mutual agreement or through court order. With a mutual agreement, the parents come to an agreement and submit the document to the court in which custody was originally decided. This agreement will require great attention to detail to multiple circumstances such as how holidays and birthdays will be handled.

When the two parents can’t come to an agreement about changes, the court may be petitioned to make the changes. A correct form will need to be submitted, along with reasons for the change, and the court will make a decision based on the information provided. It’s possible you may be required to attend a hearing to explain the changes to the judge.

Even if you have an uncontested agreement, you may at some point need to make changes. If you need uncontested child custody help for any reason, consult with the professionals at People's Justice LLC. Find out how we can help by calling 855-577-7673.

What is uncontested child custody?

Uncontested child custody is an agreement between parents about who gets custody of a child or children. Parents and the courts decide aspects about where the child will live, where he or she will be educated and how he or she will be taken care of. If each parent accepts the terms of the custody agreement, then it is uncontested. If there is a protest by one of the parents, the custody is contested, and the parents have not reached an agreement over custody and terms. 

How child custody works

Child custody can be a complex arrangement. There are four basic types of custody, and each works differently. The types of custody are outlined and explained below.

Types of child custody

  • Sole physical custody: In this form of custody, the children live with and are under the supervision of one parent. The other parent may arrange for visitation rights that are approved by the court.
  • Joint physical custody: The parents share custody. The children live with both parents at different times of the year, either during the week or month or other arrangement.
  • Sole legal custody: This type of custody gives one parent the right and responsibility over decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and welfare. The other parent may retain visitation rights.
  • Joint legal custody: Both parents make decisions about welfare, health and education. It’s the preferred type of custody.

Can you change custody agreement without going to court?

If the custody agreement between parents is mutually agreed upon, then there is no need to go to court but the document must be drawn up and sent to the court. When the parents can’t agree on terms or if there are changes in circumstances such as relocation for a job, the court must be petitioned. In some cases all that’s needed is that a document needs to be submitted to the court. But in some cases, a court hearing may need to be held. Both parties may be required to appear in court.

How do you give temporary custody of a child to a family member?

For whatever reason, a person may need to give temporary custody or guardianship to a family member or other trusted person. This is an agreement between the parties that the person getting temporary rights to the child is responsible for everything from education to emergency care, as would the parent or legal guardian. These agreements are essentially contracts, and the parties need to sign the agreement and have it notarized, although the terms cannot be legally enforced. The temporary guardianship cannot exceed 365 days under Pennsylvania law. While it’s not necessary, it’s advisable to consult an attorney. If you need court ordered intervention guidance in Lebanon, PA, for instance, you may want to award temporary guardianship to a trusted family member until you get back on your feet.

What is considered change of circumstances in child custody?

A variety of situations can constitute a change of circumstances in a custody agreement. Circumstances could include anything from needing to change a child’s school, which might affect visitation, a substantial change in a parent’s life, such as incarceration or if a child may be in danger because the parent is abusing drugs or alcohol. Any changes in the agreement need to be submitted and approved by the court for the terms to be legally enforced. The change in circumstances must be significant and in the best interest of the child for the modification to be granted.

Are child custody records public

Usually, child custody orders are part of the public record and anybody can access them through the court. The records aren’t, however, always publicly available. What type of Information that’s available will vary from state to state and the circumstances. Children’s ages or addresses may be redacted for the sake of the child’s safety. In some cases, the only information that may be publicly available is that a custody order was issued in a divorce.

Can child custody be reversed

Court ordered child custody can be reversed for a variety of issues, and can lead to legal problems for the person in violation of the orders. For instance if visitation is repeatedly denied, the parent that is preventing the visitation can be held in contempt of court. Similarly, blocking communication from parent to child can create legal problems. Other modifications in the agreement may be made mutually by the parents or by petitioning the court. Any changes in custody will be in the best interest of the child.

Can child decide custody

A child can express his or her wishes for custody at any age. They can’t make a decision, however, on their own. They can express the wish to the court and the judge will make a decision based on the individual case.

Parents Follow Visitation Orders.

Call Today

If you need help with child custody in Philadelphia, PA you can expect nothing less than exceptional service from the professionals at People's Justice LLC. We provide a full range of legal services and assistance. Give us a call today at 855-577-7673.

Why Would You Get a Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?

legal marriage separation vs divorce

Learn More About Important Legal Matters

When people say “til death do us part,” they expect to stay together for a lifetime. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. A recent article by Time Magazine indicated that the current divorce rate in the United States is about 39 percent. But if your marriage is on the rocks, divorce isn’t the only option. Many people opt for legal marriage separation instead of divorce. What’s the difference between legal separation vs dissolution of marriage? Are there benefits of one over another? Keep reading to find out, and if you need legal assistance, keep in mind that the attorneys at People's Justice LLC are just a phone call away at 855-577-7673.

Legal Separation of Marriage vs. Divorce

If your marriage is struggling, you might be considering separation or divorce. Legal marriage separation is a court order that mandates the rights and responsibilities of a couple that remains married yet lives under different roofs. In a divorce, the spouses are no longer married. While this is the most obvious difference, there are other ways a legal separation differs from a divorce.

  • Marital status. You’re still married under legal separation. After a divorce, you are not legally married and are free to marry someone else.
  • Debts/liabilities. In a divorce, debts are handled during the dissolution process. In a legal separation, spouses may still be responsible for each other’s debts.
  • Health care and other benefits. Social security benefits, which generally terminate during a divorce, are retained during a legal separation. Furthermore, you cannot drop your spouse from your health insurance if you’re legally separated.
  • Taxes. Legal separation allows you to claim married filing jointly on income taxes. Filing jointly affords individuals certain tax breaks that divorcees don’t get.
  • Decision-making. If you’re considering legal separation, keep in mind that your spouse will still be your next of kin. As such, they will be able to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf.
  • Property rights. Each spouse preserves legal rights to property benefits upon the death of the other in a legal marriage separation. A divorce extinguishes these rights.
  • Lengthiness of process. Divorces and legal separations can take the same amount of time. However, if you’re wondering how long do you have to be separated to be legally separated, in certain states, you can be legally separated on the same day you and your spouse sign a settlement agreement.
  • Reconciliation. If there is any hope of reconciliation, a legal marriage separation might be the way to go. If you opt for divorce and want legal reunification, you’d have to remarry.

What Qualifies as Legally Separated?

To qualify as a legal separation, partners must have a court decision. The court decision details things such as how much time the children will spend with each parent and how much child support one parent must pay to the other. Whether spousal support is required and how property will be divided is also part of the court decision that occurs during a legal separation. Many people wonder if you can still live in the same house and be legally separated, and the answer is “yes.” In fact, there may be many benefits to remaining under the same roof. Nevertheless, to minimize a gray area, it’s important to file for legal separation even if you plan on staying in the same house with your spouse. A separation judgment provides clarity by defining the terms by which you’ll live apart.

woman pushing away wedding ring while man signs papers

What should you not do during separation?

Perhaps you’ve decided that a separation is the best move for you and your family. If that’s the case, there are several mistakes that many separated individuals regularly make. Avoiding these mistakes during a separation could lead to a joyous reunification or, at the very least, a peaceful divorce.

  • Don’t publicize your separation. A divorce or separation is a personal thing. Post it on social media, and suddenly everyone will have an opinion on what you should do and how you should do it. Outside pressures and rumors can make matters worse and perpetuate a divorce. Keep your situation private, and only discuss it with trusted family members and friends.
  • Don’t jump into a rebound relationship. If you decide to separate, it’s important not to jump into a rebound relationship. Instead, use this time for self-assessment and to reflect on your goals and your marriage.
  • Don’t shoulder the expenses of your partner. Continuing to pay your spouse’s bills during a separation is an honorable thing. Unfortunately, by footing the bill of your spouse, you are building an alimony case for them because it’s going to look as if you’re fully capable of supporting them. Instead, it’s better to determine who will pay which bills. 

Contact A Professional

There are many reasons couples choose separation instead of divorce. Religion, financial reasons, and uncertainty about the future of the relationship are just a few reasons people prefer separation. If you are contemplating legal marriage separation in Philadelphia, PA, reach out to our attorneys at 855-577-7673. We can provide marriage legal separation forms, help you draft a parenting agreement, and anything else you may need. It’s your future. Take charge and reach out to us today.