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5 Tips for Pennsylvania Estate Planning in the New Year

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Jan 26, 2016 1:43:11 PM

It is now 2016.  You are married and you have children, but you have procrastinated when it comes to estate planning.  Death and disability are topics that nobody wants to think about; however, as a parent and a spouse, you must plan for these situations.  Your loved ones depend on you.  Here are 5 estate planning tips that you should focus on in the New Year.

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My ex-wife wants to move.  How does this affect custody?

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Jan 18, 2016 8:00:00 AM

When divorced couples with children start their new lives separate and apart from each other, they cannot be totally free and clear from each other because they have a responsibility to co-parent.  In Pennsylvania, divorced parents will usually have a custody agreement or custody order in place that governs the custody arrangement between the parents.  The agreement or order will, among other things, provide for a physical custody schedule that will specifically define when each parent will have the children.  There are always minor issues that arise that cause the parents to have to verbally modify the agreement to suit the particular situation.  For example, one parent may be sick during that parent’s custody time, so the other parent by agreement with the sick parent may keep the children during that time, even though the custody agreement or order says otherwise.  These issues are common and when they arise, they emphasize the importance of parents being able to amicably co-parent, even though their marriage was irretrievably broken.  Sometimes, however, one parent wants to move or relocate to a new place.  When this occurs, it can have a major impact on the practicality of the custody agreement or order.  When one parent wants to move, how does it affect the custody arrangement?

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Shoplifting: Why it is Essential to Have a Criminal Lawyer Defend You

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Jan 11, 2016 2:31:12 PM

In Pennsylvania, anyone who is suspected of shoplifting is charged with violation of the retail theft statute.  Generally speaking, you can be convicted of retail theft if the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can prove that you took possession of merchandise that is offered for sale by a store with the intent of depriving the seller of the merchandise without paying for it.  

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How to Deal with a Possession with Intent to Deliver Charge

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Jan 5, 2016 12:21:45 PM

A Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID) charge in Pennsylvania is a felony.  The penalties vary based on the type of the controlled substance and the amount or weight of the substance.  Other factors include the proximity to a school zone and possession or proximity of a weapon to the drugs.   Mandatory minimum sentences may also apply.  Therefore, it is important for a person who is arrested and charged with a Possession with Intent to Deliver take immediate action.

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The Benefits Of Setting Up A Special Needs Trust For Your Child

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Dec 29, 2015 2:39:58 PM

A Special Needs Trust, or sometimes referred to as a Supplemental Needs Trust, is a legal document that when drafted properly, can allow a child who is under and a physical or mental disability to have an unlimited amount of assets available to him or her, even when the child is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid or some other means tested benefit.  The purpose of the Special Needs Trust (SNT) is to allow for resources in addition to that which the child is already receiving.  Parents can either create the Special Needs Trust as part of their Last Will and Testament or parents can create a separate stand-alone document to establish the Trust.  There are many benefits to setting up the Special Needs Trust for your child.

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How To Collect Judgments Across State Lines

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Dec 21, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Trying to collect a debt can be frustrating. When demand letters and phone calls fail to solicit a response from the debtor, the creditor’s sole remedy is to get a judgment against the debtor. In order to get a judgment, the creditor must first file a lawsuit and then receive a verdict in the creditor’s favor or enter a default judgment against the debtor if the debtor fails to respond to the action. However, judgments do not automatically compel a debtor to pay. In many instances, the creditor must utilize post judgment collection remedies in order to locate and seize assets, levy bank accounts or force a sale of other assets owned by the debtor. A complicating factor is the location of the debtor or the debtor’s assets. If a judgment is entered against the debtor in one state, but the debtor resides in another state or the debtor’s assets are located in another state, then the creditor must transfer the judgment to that state.

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Pros and Cons of Divorce Mediation over Court

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Dec 7, 2015 4:13:49 PM

Divorce mediation occurs when you and your spouse elect a neutral person (the mediator) to discuss openly the issues involved in the divorce such as custody of the children and parenting time, child support, division and distribution of the marital property, and alimony.  Divorcing couples often choose mediation when they believe that they can amicably work towards a resolution of these matters in order to avoid the cost of attorneys, the expenses of court filings, and the delays caused by the court process.

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What Can I Do If I Was Left Out of My Parent’s Will?

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Dec 1, 2015 12:39:15 PM

                 When a child is left out of his or her parent’s will, there may be a reason for it.  Perhaps the child had a bad relationship with the parents or maybe the parents felt abandoned by the child during their older years when the parents needed the child’s support.  Even in those situations, it is uncommon for parents to completely remove a child from the will and prohibiting the child from receiving an inheritance.  When a child is left out of the will, the child should discuss the matter with an attorney who has experience in estate litigation and will contest matters.

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Men and Divorce

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Nov 20, 2015 12:55:28 PM

In any Pennsylvania Divorce, men and women have to deal with separation from their current spouse and starting a new chapter in life.  Everyone handles this transition differently, because the transition is based on the specific circumstances surrounding the separation, a person’s mental fortitude, emotional well-being, and ability to cope with stress and major change.  The divorce process impacts this transition.  Men and women have to proceed through the divorce process and deal with issues of equitably dividing marital property, support and alimony, and child custody.  Complicating factors may also include allegations of abuse and paying for lawyers.  In Pennsylvania, the divorce laws are meant to equally apply to men and women.  Most divorce lawyers understand that there are unique aspects to representing men in divorce.

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Business Collections: 5 Steps to Get Paid

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Nov 9, 2015 8:00:00 AM

 There is no magic bullet to recover payments from customers when a business has unpaid customer accounts.  Delinquent business accounts can cause nightmares for a small business.  It can affect cash flow, marketing, manufacturing, and all other functions of a business.  When a customer refuses to pay, an effective strategy should be implemented and acted upon in order to increase the likelihood of getting paid.  An effective strategy can be broken down into five (5) key steps.

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