Blog – Pennsylvania Family Law

http://pafamilylaw.foxrothschild.com/

Mark contributes to the Pennsylvania Family Law Blog, which provides readers with information on and insight into Pennsylvania Family Law issues, including divorce, equitable distribution, alimony, child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite and custody.

Recent Blog Posts

  • ARM WRESTLING OVER THE DEPENDENCY EXEMPTION? There are still things to discover about the 2017 Tax Reform passed by Congress late in that year.  The bar and the accounting community have spilled lots of ink over the changes to the law affecting alimony and many other lesser issues.  One of those issues is the temporary disappearance of the longstanding dependency deduction/exemption.  It still goes to the parent with primary custody unless there is an agreement otherwise.  Nevertheless, until 2025, the “deduction” has been effectively gutted.  In... More
  • SUPERIOR COURT WIDENS THE DURESS DOOR In a reported three judge panel decision issued on June 12, 2020, the Superior Court appears to have made it easier for parties to avoid a contractual agreement on the basis of duress.  The case, Lewis v. Lewis is reported as 2020 Pa. Super. 140. The Pennsylvania standard for duress as a basis for voiding a contract has long been that set forth in Carrier v. William Penn Broadcasting, a 1967 decision by the Supreme Court. 233 A.2d 519.   To set... More
  • Defining Net Income for 2020 is Going to Be “A Problem” I attended a seminar offered by accountant, Mitchell E. Benson, CPA, MT, CFF (Savran Benson LLP), Brian C. Vertz, Esquire (Pollock Begg) and Aliah Molczan (Savran Benson LLP) on July 9, 2020.  One of the topics discussed was the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans, which were distributed in the second quarter of 2020 to allow employers to keep staff on payroll through June 30, 2020. The tax aspects of this plan are still in a state of flux, and there... More
  • COLLEGE DEBT & EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION When couples decide to end a marriage, the process involves division of the good (the assets) the bad (the liabilities) and the ugly (liabilities that exceed assets).  Hearing officers whom we have spoken with report that they are seeing more cases where the controversies are ugly.  A decade ago, the battles were typically about overleveraged homes that were “upside down” (debt far exceeding market value).  The growing economy of the past decade has fixed many of those problems, but, for... More
  • BUSINESS VALUATION & THE COVID PARADOX As I write this, the Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve System has just announced their forecast that second quarter gross domestic product is expected to plummet 53%; a harrowing statistic.  Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index sits at 3,055.  That’s where it was on March 5 of this year, at which time, there were fewer than 50 coronavirus deaths in the entire country.  On March 5, unemployment in the United States was 3.5%.  At the end of April, it was... More
  • IS THE REVERSE MORTGAGE A VIABLE OPTION? It is said that desperate times call for desperate measures.  Many people out there today are facing some financial headwinds that were not reasonably foreseeable a few months ago.  Today they have businesses to operate or even daily bills to pay while afflicted with cash shortages. The reverse mortgage or more properly the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) has been around for a while.  In an age of low interest rates it has seemed like a device which merited attention.  Many... More
  • A Caution About Funding Current Expenses with IRAs/401(k)s On March 27, 2020, we wrote about provisions in the 2020 CARES Act, which expanded 401(k) loan eligibility and permitted funds to be drawn from IRAs without tax consequence, so long as the withdrawal was repaid by 2023.  As we wrote this, there seemed to be some “too good to be true elements” to the package.  As one might suspect, we now have additional “guidance” from the Joint Committee on Taxation.  For those bypassed or still awaiting federally backed loans,... More
  • MOVIE REVIEW? A Must See Movie for Separating Couples. Just Don’t Watch It Now. First, a confession. I watch very few moves and when I do, I frequently feel stupid because I don’t see all the nuances others do.  So, don’t see this move on my say so.  Truth is that since it was premiered in 2017, the movie won a number of awards in Europe.  It was produced in France but was very highly reviewed here in the states was well.  Rotten Tomatoes scored it 95%. The movie is Jusqu’à la garde or simply... More
  • A LOOK AT THE HOUSING MARKET As I write this, it is sunny and 55 degrees.  Realtors ordinarily would be calling back customers from the weekend open houses.  The market should be not just brisk but frothy.  In many markets, the inventory of housing has been relatively thin.  Thirty-year rates stand at 3.75%. Unless you are going to bang on the door yourself and the seller wants to ignore the prevailing social distancing regulations, you cannot see a house except online.  That’s a problem.  Like many other... More
  • FILING SUPPORT MODIFICATIONS ONLINE March 6 was the Emergency Declaration from the Governor.  March 19 was the stay at home order.  In the meantime, since March 15, a record 1.5 million Pennsylvanians have applied for unemployment.  That’s an average of 300,000 per week in contrast to roughly 10,000 a week before the crisis hit.  With the statewide shut down, the local Domestic Relations offices, which manage child and spousal support have also gone to basic staff only, which means the system is working in... More