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Doylestown Family Law & Personal Injury Blog

Division of property and hiding assets in divorce

A divorce in Pennsylvania may become more contentious and complicated if one spouse believes the other is hiding assets. This was the case with a 61-year-old woman who was divorcing her spouse of 25 years. The woman had been the main support for a decade, but her husband wanted both the home and half of her 401(k) in the divorce. The woman also said that he was sharing financial information with her sister but not with her and her attorney.

While a person may not be able to open the other spouse's mail, it is possible to write down the names of financial institutions sending mail to get an idea of where assets might be. A forensic accountant might be able to trace these assets. A letter from an attorney might put a stop to the information sharing.

How to respond to a spouse's unexpected financial transactions

Some people in Pennsylvania might wonder whether a spouse who does something unusual financially might be considering filing for divorce. One husband and wife sold their home and got $90,000 from it. They also both lost their jobs and got around $40,000 each. Without telling her husband, the woman opened an account in her name and put money from the house and from her job into it. The husband demanded that she put the money back into a joint account or add him to the account, but she did not.

A person who believes the other spouse does not manage money well might do this. However, another possibility is that the person is getting ready to file for divorce.

Older cars are less safe, says report

A research paper released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates a negative correlation between the age of a car and how safe it is to drive. Specifically, the driver of a vehicle that is more than 17 years old faces a 71 percent increase in the risk of a fatal accident than a driver behind the wheel of a car that is three years old or less. These statistics may be especially sobering for Pennsylvania parents who would like their teenage drivers to be safe behind the wheel of an older vehicle.

The NHTSA study focused only on traffic fatalities and did not provide statistics regarding accident injuries. With regard to crash deaths, the risk increases with the age of the vehicle. A driver behind the wheel of a vehicle that is between four and seven years old has a 10 percent higher risk of dying in a crash than the driver of a vehicle that is three years old or less. The driver of a car between 8 and 11 years old has a 19 percent higher risk.

Car accidents in Pennsylvania

Everyone wants to avoid car accidents. Sometimes collisions are unavoidable, so what factors are involved in making the crash less damaging to the car and safer for the occupants? It turns out that the size of the car plays a surprisingly significant role in the outcome of a car accident.

Bigger vehicles like SUVs, trucks and mid-size cars are more crashworthy than smaller cars. A car's size, weight, structural strength and material are all key components of determining how well a car will stand up in a crash. Generally, the greater the distance between the front of the car and its passengers, the safer it will be in a front-end collision. This is because there is more material between the passenger and the colliding car to absorb the impact.

Tips for avoiding financial mistakes in a divorce

Pennsylvania couples facing divorce should avoid a few common financial errors. One of those mistakes is not taking out a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse who is paying child or spousal support. This insurance can protect against loss of income in the event of the ex-spouse's death.

Another common mistake might be keeping the home. This may seem like a fair exchange with a spouse who takes a more liquid asset such as a brokerage or retirement account. However, it is important to calculate the cost of home maintenance in assessing its value. Furthermore, a person who takes the home should make sure that it is possible to pay for its upkeep on just one income.

Highways are often more dangerous at night

Statistics show that fatal traffic accidents are more likely to occur at night. Drivers on Pennsylvania roadways would do well to understand some of the reasons why the night presents added risks. Among the most important factors contributing to higher accident rates at night are night blindness, drunk drivers, increased construction activity and decreased visibility.

Night blindness is a condition that causes difficulty seeing in low light. Cataracts and other eye conditions may exacerbate night blindness. The condition may cause peripheral vision issues or the loss of vision at the center of a person's view. Individuals who suspect they are suffering from night blindness should consult a physician. There is no easy cure for the condition, but a doctor may be able to prescribe medication that can help.

Drivers reveal how they use cell phones while driving

In August 2017, Progressive insurance conducted a study involving roughly 1,000 drivers over the 18 who were not Progressive customers. Generally speaking, most Pennsylvania residents and others believed that distracted driving was one of the biggest causes of accidents. Over 90 percent of respondents said that it should be illegal. However, more than one-third of those who responded said that they were confident in their ability to text while driving.

It is important to point out that there was a difference in opinion between older and younger drivers when it came to that assertion. Of those between the ages of 18-34 who responded to the survey, 62 percent said that they could safely text and drive. However, only 6 percent of respondents ages 55 and older shared that belief. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 3,477 people died and 391,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.

Creating house rules to increase stability for kids after divorce

When divorced parents have shared custody of their children, setting common house rules can often be difficult. However, agreeing on common house rules can make the transition easier for the kids. As such, it is imperative that parents in Pennsylvania attempt to work together to agree on what shared house rules they will have.

One of the easiest ways to reach a parenting agreement regarding house rules is to have both parents sit down and talk it out. Parents should pick the rules that are most important to them while agreeing to compromise on other rules that they do not feel are as important. For example, if a parent is set on having a specific bedtime, the other parent may agree in order to maintain consistency. If the children are at least 6 years old, parents may wish to include them so that they feel that they have some control over their lives during this transition time.

The fall season brings special considerations for drivers

Autumn in Pennsylvania means the settling in of cool weather and the changing and dropping of the leaves to the ground. It also means new hazards on highways and surface streets, as fall can be a dangerous time on the road for a number of reasons. Back to school traffic, including many green or young drivers, and more pedestrian traffic during morning and evening hours can increase accident risks.

Rain can change driving conditions by impeding visibility and potentially making roadways slick. Fog inhibits visibility as well, and driver's high beams may cause glare when it's thick enough. The dangers of falling leaves are more related to drivers who behave differently on the road because they want to watch the colors. Pennsylvania drivers behind cars with out-of-state plates should give them a little more space in case they're planning to stop to take photos.

Shared child custody can help foster parent-child relationships

Those going through divorce in Pennsylvania might benefit from a child custody model that emphasizes both parents' relationships with the children. Shared parenting, a model that is popular around the world but is just gaining traction in the United States, focuses on providing both parents with equal time and decision-making authority in relation to their children.

While this model may seem in many ways to reflect common sense, family courts in the United States often default to awarding primary child custody to the mother of the children. In over 80 percent of child custody cases in the country, sole custody of the mother is the outcome. When fathers actively petition for custody, this number drops sharply, indicating that this is in many cases a default assumption.