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Parenting plans should cover schedules and holidays

Though it is difficult to fathom, a divorce means that children involved will no longer be spending their whole time under one roof with both their parents. Instead, their time, school events and holidays will be split between parents. One way to create a successful agreement about how time will be divided and child custody is handled is by creating a parenting plan.

A parenting plan can help judges figure out how to resolve a child custody disagreement between parents by putting forth an agreement about schedules and children's activities. Pennsylvania law outlines the contents of a parenting plan and the form it should take.

What factors may keep you from legally owning a firearm?

Many people want to own a firearm for different reasons. You may feel the need to own one for personal protection, or perhaps, you enjoy hunting game during the applicable seasons. No matter the reason, the purchase and possession of a firearm must adhere to the law, or you could face serious legal consequences.

Just like every other state, Pennsylvania has a set of state laws regarding firearms and gun control. Additionally, different parts of the state may have different protocols for specific areas of the law. For example, under state law, you do not need a license to open-carry a firearm, but you do need a license to do so if you are in Philadelphia.

Resolve to review your estate plan this year

Creating a will and an estate plan is just the first step in ensuring one's assets are distributed according to their wishes after their demise. To make sure that it takes into account changes in laws and life situations, it should be revisited every couple of years. As relationship and health changes, so do our wishes as to how our heirs inherit and what, but Pennsylvania residents often forget to update their estate plans accordingly. As the new year inches forward, one of the resolutions individuals should make is to review their estate plans and their life plans.

Estate tax has changed in recent years-it has been revised upwards which means that only estates that have a value of more than $11.2 million will be subject to federal tax. Therefore complicated estate plans that were created to minimize taxation may now be redundant. It's also important to make sure that asset designation is accurate-how it is titled determines how it passes through wills or trusts. A retirement fund that has designated beneficiaries will be distributed differently from a joint bank account that may end up going to the survivor even if that person is not included in the will.

Can I adopt my stepchild without a biological parent's consent?

When a Pennsylvania resident gets married to someone who has children from a prior marriage or has children him or herself and is getting married to someone other than the children's biological parent, one of their primary aims in the union is to give their children stability. While raising children in a loving and supportive atmosphere is one way to do this, another way to ensure children feel like they are a valuable part of the blended family is through stepparent adoption.

As all other forms of adoption in the country, state law governs the stepparent adoption process. However, stepparent adoption is generally an easier process than other types, and might have different requirements, such as the lack of a home study. However, one thing that is necessary for an adoption to become finalized is the consent of the biological parents.

Preparing for child custody during the holidays

The holidays can be a magical time for children, full of excitement and wonder. Parents in Pennsylvania generally want to make sure their child has a happy holiday. However, when parents are divorced they may need to take some extra measures to ensure that their child's needs are met during this time of the year.

First, usually a holiday child custody and visitation schedule will be included in the parents' parenting agreement. Parents should review this schedule before making holiday plans, so they can ensure there are no conflicts. If for some reason the existing holiday schedule is not feasible, parents may seek to have it modified in court. It is important for parents to be flexible in this manner and make the child's best interests their top priority despite any animosity they may have towards one another.

5 tips for preparing for ending a marriage

For some time, you may have realized that your marriage was not what it once was. In addition to that fact, you have also come to believe that, despite your best efforts, the relationship will not improve to a point where you believe you can once again be happy with your spouse. As a result, divorce has been on your mind.

While it may have started out as a passing thought, you now think that divorce is truly the best decision for your situation. You may not have decided to broach the topic with your spouse just yet, but you can still take steps to prepare for the proceedings ahead.

A drug addiction could result in criminal charges

Many people end up needing some type of prescription drug at some point in their lives for some type of ailment. While these drugs can often help with these conditions, some of them have addictive qualities, especially painkillers. Unfortunately, many people who began taking such substances for medical reasons may end up dependent on them.

Of course, you may think you have your prescription drug use under control or that you otherwise do not have a problem. Many people with addictions to prescriptions or other substances often feel this way. Sadly, you may think that you could stop using on your own whenever you want, but that may not be the case.

Firearms law covers more than just civil rights

Firearms law involves more than just one's Second Amendment right to bear arms. In addition to civil rights, it also cross-sects with criminal defense, estate planning and other areas of law. Therefore, if a person in Pennsylvania is facing legal problems with regards to possessing a firearm, it is important to seek the assistance of one familiar with the many different types of firearm legal issues.

For example, a person might be facing charges of illegal possession of a firearm, or they may be accused of committing a crime with the use of a firearm. Alternatively, a person may have been the subject of a protective order preventing them from owning a firearm. Certain mental illnesses or having a criminal record could also sometimes make it difficult for a person to obtain a firearm or concealed carry permit. If a person is denied the right to possess a firearm, it is important that they understand why. And, firearms can have a great deal of family value, but passing them on in a will or trust is more complex than passing on other kinds of assets.

Pennsylvanians should review their estate plan after divorce

When a Pennsylvania resident is going through a divorce, it can sometimes be hard to think pragmatically. Divorce is a very emotional time, and often, a person's thoughts are wrapped up in divorce legal issues such as child custody and property division. However, if one is going through a divorce, they will also want to think about their estate planning needs as well.

First, when a person files for divorce, they will also want to revisit their will. Chances are that they may have left certain assets to their ex. As they are no longer in a relationship with their ex, they will most likely want to change their will appropriately. Also, if an ex is listed as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy or financial account, this will need to be updated.

New laws aim to deter DUI with harsher punishments

Halloween has passed and before we know it, Thanksgiving and even Christmas will be here. All of these holidays make this time of year one of celebration. Many people will go to parties where alcohol is served. Of course, most people drink responsibly. However, even responsible motorists could still be accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, and newly enacted legislation has increased the potential penalties those accused of DUI may face.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed into law a piece of legislation that would impose harsher penalties on those who are convicted of DUI. Prior to this legislation, a person's third DUI conviction was a misdemeanor offense. Now, a third DUI will be prosecuted as a felony crime. In addition, prior to this legislation, those convicted of vehicular homicide while DUI would be imprisoned for three years. Now that prison term has been lengthened to five years.

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