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The Acceptable Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania

Grounds for Divorce

Under the laws of Pennsylvania, as in all other states, you can file for a “no-fault” divorce. This can be a little misleading, suggesting that you don’t have to provide any reason for legally ending your marriage. To the contrary, you must still indicate the basis for seeking a divorce—no-fault simply means you don’t have to allocate blame for the collapse of the marriage.

Grounds for a No-Fault Divorce

When neither party is technically at fault, you need only tell the court that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the bonds of marriage. A no-fault divorce may be by mutual consent, where both parties to the marriage agree that the marriage is over, or it may be unilateral, where one party files the petition and the other does not object. With a no-fault divorce by mutual consent, you need only wait 90 days for the divorce to become final. With a unilateral no-fault divorce, you must show that you have not cohabitated for 1 year and that the marriage cannot be fixed.

Grounds for an At-Fault Divorce

There’s no requirement that you allocate blame for the end of the marriage, but doing so can give you an advantage in your divorce proceedings. The permissible grounds for at-fault divorce in Pennsylvania include:

  • Marital infidelity or adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Domestic abuse, violence or cruelty, including mental abuse
  • Humiliation of a spouse, making the marriage no longer tenable
  • Abandonment of the relationship for at least one year
  • Conviction and imprisonment for a period of two or more years

Contact Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss any of your legal issues. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

What to Do Immediately after You’ve Been in a Motor Vehicle Accident

 injured in a motor vehicle

When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have a right to pursue damages for all your losses, including income and wages, unreimbursed medical expenses, loss of companionship or consortium, and physical pain and suffering. But the steps you take immediately after you’ve been in a crash can have a significant impact on your legal rights. Here are some ways you can protect your interests.

Get the Medical Care You Need as Soon as Possible

You want to seek medical attention immediately, and for a couple reasons. First, the sooner you get medical care, the better chance you have of a full financial recovery. But waiting to be treated can put you at risk. The longer you wait, the more ammunition you give defense attorney to argue that your injuries were not serious, or that your injuries were actually caused by some intervening event.

In addition, remember that this is no time to be strong or be a hero…it’s the time to take maximum precautions to avoid further injury. If you don’t think you can move under your own power, or if you are in significant pain, wait until emergency medical technicians arrive. They’ll know what’s best for you. Go to the hospital, if necessary. If, however, your injuries don’t require hospitalization, make a trip to an urgent care or your family doctor as soon as possible.

When you are treated, make certain you mention everything that has happened. Don’t focus on the obvious injuries and neglect to mention the twists and sprains in your neck or back. And ask that doctors and nurses document everything in writing.

Gather Information

If possible, you want to use the moments after the accident to gather information to assist your attorney. Ask for contact information from anyone involved in the accident, including name, address, phone number and insurance provider. You also want contact information from any witnesses.

Take pictures of everything, from the conditions of the road to the damage to all vehicles, from your injuries to the weather. Your camera on your phone should be sufficient.

Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss any legal issue affecting your business. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

How Does a Trust Work?

Trust Deed

You’ve been thinking that it’s time to put together and implement an estate plan, so that you can protect your heirs and ensure the orderly distribution of your estate. You may be uncertain about the different options available to you, including whether it’s in your best interests to establish a trust to meet your goals.

What is a Trust?

In essence, a trust is a separate legal entity that can hold, obtain and distribute property. A trust is created by the execution of a written legal document, which identifies the terms. The trust typically involves three different parties—the trustor, the trustee and any beneficiaries. The trustor is the person who created the trust and customarily the one who places property into the trust. The trustee is the person or entity (a trustee can be an institution, such as a bank) given the responsibility for managing the trust in accordance with the trust terms. The beneficiaries are individuals or institutions that have been granted some right to distributions of income or property from the trust.

How Does a Trust Benefit You?

One of the common objectives of an estate plan is to avoid the probate process. In the probate process, the court oversees the orderly distribution of property in an estate. The process can be complex and time-consuming, tying up estate assets for months or even years. In addition, the costs of probate can be considerable…up to 7% of the estate.

However, the probate process only applies to property owned by the deceased at the time of death. When you place property in trust, you no longer own it, even if you have certain rights to use it. Because it’s no longer your property, it is not subject to probate. Instead, upon your death, it typically stays exactly where it is…in the trust.

Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss any legal issue affecting your business. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Challenging Your Property Tax Assessment in Pennsylvania

A model home on top of a calculator

In Pennsylvania, all property owners pay a tax based on the value of the property, but the amount can vary from county to county. The amount can change from year to year, and can often change dramatically, based on a couple factors. There are ways, though that you can challenge the amount of your assessment.

Understanding How Your Tax Assessment is Calculated

The first thing you need to do, in order to legally challenge an assessment, is understand how your tax bill was calculated. Pennsylvania uses two different factors to calculate how much you owe in property tax: the applicable tax rate and the assessed value of your home.

The tax rate is set by local officials, so will vary, based on where you live. There’s little you can do to change the applicable tax rate, other than contact your elected officials or vote for officials who promise to keep tax rates low.

The taxable value of your home, though, may be subject to challenge. This dollar amount is determined by a local official, known as the tax assessor. The assessed value is generally some percentage of the fair market value of your home—what you would be able to sell it for to a willing buyer. The applicable percentage can vary from community to community, and the assessor’s determination of value can be based on a wide variety of factors, some of which may be disputed. It’s not uncommon for assessors to make mistakes regarding the classification of your home, or with respect to the physical features of your property, so a good starting place is to check your tax assessor’s office and confirm that the tax record is accurate. Here are some items to confirm:

  • Did the assessor properly classify your home as residential?
  • Does the tax record show the correct number of bathrooms, bedrooms and other spaces?
  • Is the square footage correct?
  • Are there improvements listed that you did not make?
  • Does the record reflect any property defects?
  • Are the age and purchase price accurate?

Contact Our Experienced Tax Assessment Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office at (717) 264-5194 to schedule an appointment to discuss any legal issue affecting your business. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Intro to Our Business Law Practice

Blogs that Help You Understand Your Rights and Our Services

Person writing on paper documents

Welcome to the website of B&D Law Group, experienced business law attorneys in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. At our firm, we understand the many legal issues that business owners face every day. Whether you’re just starting a new business venture or working hard to protect your bottom line, we have the skill, knowledge, experience and resources to swiftly and effectively answer your questions and resolve any concerns. We’ve protected the rights of businesses and business owners in the Chambersburg area for more than 55 years.

Our Business Law Practice

We offer comprehensive counsel to businesses and business owners, handling:

  • Business formation — we’ll help you evaluate the different types of business structures and set up the one that makes the most sense for you. We’ll prepare and file all documents necessary to comply with state laws, including articles of incorporation or organization, by-laws, corporate resolutions and tax registrations. We can help you set up a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation.
  • Business agreements — We have extensive experience with all aspects of business contracts, from negotiation through execution. We will advise you regarding any type of commercial agreement, including vendor or customer contracts, employment agreements, confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements, licensing contracts, partnership or shareholder agreements and real estate contracts.
  • Business disputes — We protect businesses and business owners is all types of litigation, from breach of contract to unfair competition, from partnership disputes to employment disagreements.

We understand that a well-informed client is the best client. To that end, we’ll regularly post blogs on different aspects of business law, so that you can continually increase your knowledge and protect your interests.

Contact Our Experienced Business Law Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office at (717) 264-5194 to schedule an appointment to discuss any legal issue affecting your business. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

ADDRESS :

  • B&D Law Group 82 West Queen Street, Chambersburg, PA 17201

  • Call for consultation (717) 264-5194