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Family law award favors prenuptial contract over other equities

When a high-earning business owner and his spouse go through a divorce in Pennsylvania, the court will enforce a prenuptial agreement between them unless the agreement was riddled with lack of proper and accurate disclosure. If the higher-earning spouse is not forthright about his/her earnings and assets in the prenuptial, the other spouse may have grounds to challenge it in court during a divorce proceeding. Family law precedent places great importance on enforcing a prenuptial contract unless the wealthier spouse hides the vital facts about his/her assets from the other party.

The latter issue does not appear to be in contention in the divorce of Richard and Alicia Stephenson, which has been crawling through the divorce court of another state for the past eight years. The defendant in the case, Richard, is the founder of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. He has reported high income in past years that has at times exceeded $150 million annually.

A family law divorce settlement will include tax resolutions

Tax planning and tax issues are important considerations in a Pennsylvania divorce case. Where the parties are negotiating a settlement with support of minor children, alimony and property division elements, tax results should be considered and incorporated into the agreement. An experienced family law practitioner will counsel the client so that he/she understands and agrees to the full tax ramifications of any agreement that is achieved.

When one of the spouses earns substantially more than the other, negotiations can be directed toward legally shifting income from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse. One basic starting rule is that child support is not income to the recipient and cannot be deducted by the paying spouse. Conversely, alimony is treated as income to the recipient and is deductible by the paying party.

Driver who crashes into block party faces drunk driving charges

Pennsylvania has recently toughened its DUI laws in several respects. This is in keeping with the increasing threat of drunk driving to the citizens of the Commonwealth. Those who are accused of drunk driving face tougher laws and more stringent punishments.

Sometimes, a drunk driving violation can involve a first offender in a simple police stop where the police observed some form of erratic driving. That kind of traffic stop can lead to the discovery of other facts that the police parlay into probable cause to make a DUI arrest. If there is no collision, no accident and no injuries, the first offender can avoid a jail sentence and serve a relatively small sentence under a form of probation with a driver's license suspension.

Drunk driving law mandates interlock device for first offenders

A new tool in the battle against alcohol-impaired driving has been made effective in Pennsylvania. The law became operative as of Aug. 25, 2017. It applies to first-time offenders convicted of drunk driving who are found with a blood alcohol content of .10 or higher. These individuals can derive a benefit from the new law.

It requires qualified first-offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. The interlock device works like a Breathalyzer. The driver breathes into the device, which then registers the amount of alcohol, if any, in his or her system. If it is over a certain amount, the device prevents the ignition from starting the vehicle.

Can you shift gears after DUI and get an occupational license?

Perhaps you're just coming down from summer vacation and are gearing up for a new semester at a Pittsburgh college. Maybe you celebrated your return to campus by partying with some friends. If your social gathering led to DUI charges, you may have a lot of trouble achieving your current goals for the school year ahead. Your whole life can change on a dime when you face criminal charges in court.

If you're like thousands of other college students, you may have a part-time job. When your driving privilege is suspended, how will you get to work? In fact, just getting to class on time, even if you walk there, may prove challenging if you're running back and forth to court appointments in addition to your scheduled academics. One way some people are able to keep their feet on solid ground while navigating DUI charges is to apply for occupational limited licenses in the meantime.

Family law issues: Raising a baby after a Pennsylvania divorce

Child custody issues are challenging enough in a Pennsylvania divorce when the children are older. When a baby is involved, matters tend to get a bit more complicated. The family law issues in this situation often do not allow for a true shared custody agreement.

Babies are not exactly as adaptable as older children are when it comes to going back and forth to be with each parent. They need their routines in order to thrive, and if the mother is breastfeeding, that could complicate matters. This may require the parents to come up with a different type of visitation schedule that would allow the baby's routine to remain as stable as possible.

Drunk driving arrest of sleeping man raises defense issues

An accused person must be driving a vehicle under Pennsylvania law in order to be convicted of driving under the influence. The issue sometimes arises when the police find someone who is sleeping in a car or was reportedly observed driving by witnesses but not by the authorities. The issue may arise in a recent drunk driving arrest by the state police in the Pocono Mountains area of the state.

Pennsylvania State Police from the Fern Ridge Barracks responded to a 1:15 a.m. call recently regarding a reported disabled motorist near the intersection of Evergreen Hollow Road and Route 715 in Chestnut Hill Township. State troopers found the vehicle with its tires partly on the roadway and with the driver asleep inside. When they woke him, police say that he displayed indicators of impairment.

The Intoxilyzer 8000 makes mistakes that can harm you

Too many drivers in Allegheny County have convictions on their driving records because of errors on two of the state's most common breathalyzer tests, the Intoxilyzer 8000.

Drivers contend that the machine is simply wrong, that they were not intoxicated when the machine rang up breath alcohol levels high enough to convict them of driving under the influence.

Criminal defense may exist for accused who threw his salad

Some people save their rage for the wrong things. That would have to be true about a Pennsylvania man who must present a criminal defense to charges arising from an alleged outburst recently in a Wendy's restaurant. Police say that, after complaining that there were not enough cucumbers in his salad, he threw his food at an employee and made a threat.

The accused allegedly cursed at the worker, and threatened that the worker would be the "first to go" if the man had had "a gun or knife." All for the love of cucumbers, or so the events have been reported by the authorities. The incident occurred at the Wendy's in New Holland where the responding police found the 58-year-old man in his vehicle with the windows rolled up.

Family law and immigration rules sometimes intersect

In Pennsylvania, the federal immigration laws impact many married couples. For example, it is a common event for a United States citizen to meet and marry a person from a foreign country. In most instances, family law principles and immigration law provisions will validate and recognize the marriage.

The process does require voluminous paperwork that must be submitted to federal immigration authorities. The marriage will be looked at initially for signs of collusion to evade the immigration laws. In most cases, even if the marriage took place in the United States, the foreign citizen will have to return to his or her country and be re-admitted with the proper visa. There may be a few exceptions to that procedure if the foreign resident was already approved for a long-term residency or special visa status in this country.

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