- How long will my divorce take?
If you and your spouse have an agreement as to all issues, including divorce, an uncontested divorce can be completed in approximately five-to-six months. The main reason for the length of time is that the law requires the parties to wait 90 days after the Divorce Complaint is served on your spouse. If you and your spouse have been separated for more than two years you do not have to wait the 90 days. During the 90 day “waiting period” the attorney can draft a document called a “Property Settlement Agreement” which memorializes the terms of your agreement. At the conclusion of the divorce, this will become a Court Order.
- Can my spouse and I live together and still file divorce?
The divorce can be started while the two of you are still living together. In fact, you can get divorced while living together. Generally, however, you cannot file for custody or support while the two of you are living together, except in special situations.
- Can I change my last name back to my maiden name?
Yes. At the conclusion of the divorce you can resume your maiden name without going to court. A spouse cannot compel the other person to resume their maiden name.
- What if my spouse does not agree to the divorce?
In Pennsylvania, if your spouse does not agree to sign the consent for a divorce, you can proceed without their consent after two years of “separation” or if the legal basis for “fault grounds” exists.
- Is there still such a thing as alimony in Pennsylvania?
Absolutely. There are many factors that affect the court’s determination in awarding alimony. The biggest factors are the length of the marriage, the income of the parties, whether or not one parent has custody of minor children and the size of your estate. The Court in determining whether or not to award alimony will consider each of the factors.
- If my child’s other parent and I agree to a schedule do we still have to go to court?
No. The best interest of your child involves you as parents deciding the custodial arrangements for your child. It is better for the two of you to agree and then have an attorney formalize that agreement so that it becomes a Court Order. The attorney will ensure that the Agreement will protect you in the future so as to avoid any problems.
- What types of custody are there?
In Pennsylvania, there are two forms of custody – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the obligation to consult one another for major medical, educational and religious decisions. Neither parent is allowed to unilaterally make these decisions. Physical custody is the actual “possession” of the child based upon the overnights. One parent usually has primary physical custody, which means you have more of the overnights, and the other parent has partial physical custody, which is less of the overnights. Physical custody can also be shared which means that you each have 50% of the overnights.
- What is alimony?
Alimony is money that one former spouse pays to the other after the divorce is final. It can be court ordered or paid by agreement and is usually paid in monthly installments. Alimony Pendente Lite is money that one spouse pays to the other after the divorce lawsuit is started and paid until it is final. APL is not automatic and has to be paid only if requested by the spouse with less money and court ordered.
- What is a Custody Conference?
A Custody Conference is a one-hour conference conducted by an attorney (Custody Conference Officer) appointed by the court. The purpose of the Custody Conference is to give each party a chance to share their concerns, help them work through their differences, try to reach an agreement and to avoid the emotional cost to children involved in a custody hearing. The Custody Conference process frequently works in helping the parties reach an agreement.
- What is Equitable Distribution?
Equitable Distribution refers to the legal process by which marital property is distributed to husband and wife as part of a divorce. Equitable distribution is not mandatory as a husband and wife can reach an agreement out of court for splitting up marital property. Agreements such as this are contracts and are referred to by such terms as Marital Settlement Agreement, Property Settlement Agreement and Post-Nuptial Agreement.
- What is Shared Custody?
Shared custody is when both parties have equal legal and physical custody of a child.
- What is Legal Custody?
Legal custody refers to the legal right to participate in major decisions affecting the best interest of a minor child, including, but not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions. In most cases parents share legal custody with each parent possessing the right to participate in major decisions impacting the child.
- What is Partial Custody?
Partial Physical custody refers to the right to take possession of a child away from the custodial parent for a certain period of time. Most cases involve a person who has primary physical custody, with whom the child resides most of the time and a person who has partial physical custody of the child on a limited basis.
- What is Physical Custody?
Physical custody refers to the actual physical possession and control of a child at any given time.
- What is Visitation?
Visitation refers to the right to visit a child but not the right to remove a child from the custodial parent’s control.
- What are Grandparents Rights?
Grandparent rights is actually a generic term for the right or ability of certain third parties to have some form of custody with children in certain situations as a result of their relationship with a child. Although this usually applies to grandparents and their grandchildren, there are situations when a non-relative may be able to obtain some form of custody depending if certain, limited criteria are met.
- What is the Grandparents’ Rights Statute?
The statute allows the court to grant custody to grandparents, and non-relative third party’s in certain situations, as long as it does not interfere with parental relationships. It also covers the general rights of grandparents to see their grandchildren.
- Do I have a case?
Whether or not you have a case depends on who was at fault in your accident. If someone else was negligent and you were injured then you may have a case. We will give you a free initial consultation to answer that question and more.
- How much is my case worth?
The value of your case is determined by the liability, that is who was at fault, the injuries you suffered, the medical care you received and how long the medical care took, as well as how your injuries affected your personal life and ability to work. Every case is unique.
- How long will my case take?
Most personal injury cases take between a year and a year and a half from start to finish, especially if the case has to go all the way to trial. We will push your case forward to get your settlement or award as fast as possible.
- How is my lawyer paid?
There is never any fee to call us or discuss your case. We provide free initial consultations. If we do not get a settlement or an award for you, you do not pay anything. When we win your case our fee is a percentage of what your recovery is. Our customary fee is one-third of the settlement.
- Do I have to pay anything up front?
No. You do not pay anything unless and until we win your case. Our firm will pay all costs related to your case and you will not have to reimburse us for them unless and until we win your case, then they will be taken out of the final settlement as well as the one-third fee.
- Who pays my medical bills?
Medical bills for accident victims are submitted to and paid for by different insurance companies based on the type of accident involved. We will make sure that your bills go to the correct insurance company and will work with the appropriate insurance company to resolve any problems.
- Will I have to testify in Court?
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court. You will probably never have to testify in court but if you do, we will thoroughly prepare you for that event.
- What doctor should I go to?
You should go to your own regular family doctor or to a specialist recommended by your family doctor. If you were to switch doctors to one recommended by your lawyer, your case could be less credible. In certain cases such as worker’s compensation claims, you may be required to go to the insurance company’s doctor.
- How do I decide which lawyer to hire?
You should hire a lawyer for your personal injury case who is experienced and qualified. You should call and schedule a free initial consultation and speak with one of our lawyers so that you can feel comfortable that they have the experience that you require.
- What should I do if I am charged with a DUI?
If charged with DUI, you should make plans to attend your preliminary hearing and contact our office to speak with an experienced DUI attorney in Doylestown, Newtown, Bucks County and Montgomery County at once. An experienced DUI lawyer is your best friend.
- What are Field Sobriety Tests?
These are tests that help an officer evaluate your general impairment at the scene of the DUI stop in Doylestown, Newtown, Bucks County and Montgomery County. They consist of walking in a straight line, standing on one foot, checking the movement of your eyes and a breath test.
- What is “BAC?”
“BAC” is short for Blood Alcohol Content which is the standard measurement of how much alcohol is in your blood at any given time.
- What happens if I refuse a Breathalyzer test?
Refusing chemical testing, whether by breath, blood or urine will result in the suspension of your driver’s license for one year in the state of Pennsylvania whether you are convicted of a DUI or not. It is the officer’s duty to make you aware of the license suspension if you refuse the test.
- What is “Implied Consent?”
Implied consent means you gave implied permission to submit to a test of your blood alcohol level, and it does not require direct, express, or explicit words of agreement.
- What is “ARD?”
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance for first-time offenders in Pennsylvania, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program may be an option for you. Designed to get you the help you need quickly ARD focuses on providing rehabilitation through alcohol education courses and treatment. Your license will be suspended, but generally for a shorter period than is required if you have been convicted of DUI, and you may also be required to perform community service
- What is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is similar to a Breathalyzer, is connected to the vehicle dashboard or other location inside the vehicle and requires that the driver breathe into the device prior to starting the vehicle. If the IID detects the blood alcohol concentration of the driver to be above the programmed limit in the ignition interlock device, then the engine of the vehicle will not start.
- Do I need a lawyer’s help if I am accused of a crime?
It is always in your best interest to speak with a criminal defense lawyer as early as possible in criminal proceedings, whether or not you believe you have been wrongfully accused. Your defense attorney will fight for your legal and constitutional rights in criminal proceedings.
- What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. In Pennsylvania misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to five years in jail, and felonies are crimes that are punishable for more than five years.
- What should I do if I am arrested?
If the police have arrested you, you should immediately call an attorney. You should not say anything to the police that would incriminate you. You should indicate to the police that you do not wish to speak to them until you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney. Under the law they will not be able to question you if you assert that right.
- What is the difference between probation and parole?
Probation is a type of criminal sentence that allows a person to stay in the community rather than serve time in prison as long as he or she complies with certain conditions. Parole is a supervised release after the serving of a prison sentence. Conditions of parole are normally similar to those of probation.
- What if I am a juvenile charged with a crime?
A juvenile is punished for criminal conduct in a separate juvenile court system. The juvenile system does not allow for jury trials or preliminary hearings. The philosophy in the juvenile system is more focused on rehabilitation.
- How do you bill for your services?
In criminal cases our firm charges flat fees based on the seriousness of the matter and the estimated time involved in the representation. We do not bill on an hourly rate basis in criminal matters. Payment plans are available in certain instances.
- What is an Expungement in Pennsylvania?
An expungement is a legal proceeding requesting a criminal record be sealed or destroyed, effectively clearing your arrest record. All files relating to your criminal conviction, dismissal, arrest or acquittal will be inaccessible to potential employers or others and not appear in a background check.The records expunged can include identifiable descriptions, dates and notations of arrests, indictments, information and other formal charges or dispositions. These records also include all complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, “rap sheets” and judicial dockets.Law enforcement officials and courts will still be able to access the expunged information in order to determine your eligibility for alternative punishment programs and future offenses.
- Who is eligible for Expungement in Pennsylvania?
Many people made one mistake and are now experiencing the serious consequences and embarrassment of a conviction. If you have kept clean for a number of years, you may be eligible for the expungements of certain criminal records.
You may petition to expunge arrests & non-convictions if:
- You were found not guilty.
- Your charges were dismissed.
- Your charges were withdrawn.
- You were accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, completed all terms and conditions and paid all fines and costs.
- You received Probation Without Verdict under the Controlled Substances Act.
- You were a first-time DUI offender and successfully completed ARD.
- You were charged as a juvenile.
- You had an underage drinking conviction (once you turn 21).
- You are 70 years or older and have not been arrested in 10 years.
- You pled guilty to a summary offense more than five years ago and have a clean record since the offense.
- You were charged with an alcohol-related offense and have met all the terms and conditions of the sentence imposed.
- Are all crimes eligible for Expungement?
Not all crimes are eligible for expungement. State law specifically prohibits the courts from expunging records of those charged with certain sexual assault or related offenses against victims under the age of 18, even if the offender has successfully complied with the terms of ARD.
- What types of crimes are eligible for Expungement?
If your criminal record is otherwise clean and you have no other charges pending, you may be able to have your records expunged for convictions of offenses such as:
- Disorderly conduct
- Public drunkenness
- Retail theft (shoplifting)
- Underage drinking
- Driving without a license
- And other non-traffic summary offenses
It is critical to have an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney defend you against the original charges. Repko Law, LLC has worked to have many of our clients’ charges dismissed or reduced to offenses that can be expunged.
- What are the benefits of an Expungement in Pennsylvania?If you’ve been arrested in Pennsylvania, the arrest record can haunt you for the rest of your life, even if you’ve never been convicted. Your job prospects, educational opportunities and housing options can all be hindered if you have to say “yes” when asked if you have ever been arrested. An expungement wipes your slate clean and allows you to truthfully state “no” to that perilous question.
Reasons to Expunge your Criminal Record:
- Firearm Rights
- Federal Assistance
An expungement takes away the ability to publicly search your arrest record record and gives you a fresh start. Once your record has been expunged, the law allows one to say it never happened.
- How does the expungement process work in Pennsylvania?
To get adult criminal records expunged in Pennsylvania, a Petition for Expungement with the Court of Common Pleas, together with supporting paperwork and filing fees, must be filed in the county in which the offenses occurred. At the time the petition is filed, a hearing is scheduled before a judge who will determine if your expungement request should be granted.In determining if your request should be granted, the court will consider such factors as damage to your reputation, livelihood and future earnings capacity; the nature and severity of the offense; your prior criminal history; and the state’s interest in preserving the record to protect the public.Once granted, the Court Order for Expungement will be submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository for Criminal History Information in Harrisburg, Pa. This agency will disseminate the Court Order for Expungement to all agencies that have previously received the information that is the subject of the order. Once received, they are required to destroy all paperwork and electronic information pertaining to your case and then mail verification of such to confirm compliance with the Order.
- How long does the expungement process take?
Generally, the entire expungement process can take anywhere from 3-9 months to complete. The law office of Repko Law, LLC works diligently to expedite the process as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, the Pennsylvania expungement process requires paperwork to be handled by various offices throughout the state and a large part of the process is determined by the schedules of each office.
- Can an expungement be denied?
Yes, an Expungement can be denied if the District Attorney does not think that expungement is appropriate, objects to your petition, and a judge agrees with him. Pennsylvania law explicitly prohibits the courts from expunging records, even though the individual has effectively complied with the terms of the accelerated rehabilitation disposition, where he or she had been charged with certain kinds of sexual assault offenses against juvenile.
- What are the advantages of having Repko Law, LLC handle my expungement?
Expunging criminal records can be a complicated, time-consuming process. Your Petition for and proposed Order of Expungement must contain specific, complete and accurate information or the court will dismiss it.The attorneys at Repko Law, LLC have decades of experience defending clients against criminal charges and have a comprehensive understanding of the laws and procedures governing expungements. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through every step of the expungement process. We will prepare and file all documentation required by the courts and be your advocate during all hearings or proceedings throughout the entire expungement process.If you are interested in having an arrest or conviction expunged from your record, the experienced criminal record expungement attorneys at Repko Law, LLC can help you. We have extensive expertise in getting Bucks County and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania expungements filed as quickly, thoroughly and efficiently as possible so you can put this behind and look forward to a future unhindered by the past.
- Who is eligible for the ARD Program in Bucks & Montgomery County, PA?
In Pennsylvania, eligibility for the ARD Program depends upon a variety of factors:
- You are a first-time offender with no prior criminal history.
- Your charges are non-violent.
- If you previously participated in the ARD program, it must have been more than 10 years ago.
- No third party was harmed or killed if the offender was involved in a drunk driving accident.
- You have not already been convicted at trial.
- You successfully apply for admission into the ARD program within the deadline.
- Are all crimes eligible for the ARD Program?
If your criminal record is otherwise clean, you may be eligible for offenses such as:
- Retail Theft
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Criminal Mischief
- Disorderly Conduct
- And Others
- What are the benefits of the ARD program in Pennsylvania?
ARD is considered a diversionary program. It is an alternative to trial, to conviction, and to some of the mandatory penalties a conviction brings.
The ARD program in Pennsylvania can help first-time offenders:
- Avoid jail time.
- Avoid a criminal conviction.
- Reduce a driver’s license suspension period.
- Keep your criminal record clean.
- Expungement eligibility.
- What is the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) admission process?
The application requirements, process and procedures for admission into the ARD program differ within each Pennsylvania County. Repko Law, LLC can help you successfully apply for the program, navigate the process and help you complete all the required steps of the ARD program:
- Waive your rights to a speedy trial from the date of your application for ARD until the date on which your case is finally disposed.
- Submit a completed ARD Application to the assigned Magisterial District Court.
- Submit a completed ARD Information Form with your ARD Application to the assigned Magisterial District Court.
The Magisterial District Court will forward your application to the District Attorney’s office. The District Attorney will determine whether or not you are accepted into the ARD Program.
If your application for ARD is conditionally approved by the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, a court hearing where you will be formally placed into the ARD program will be scheduled.
If you are not accepted into the ARD program, you will receive a rejection letter and your case will be scheduled for a trial date.
- What are the conditions of the ARD program in Pennsylvania?
Depending on the nature of the crime, the ARD program in Pennsylvania can include:
- A minimum of 10 hours of community service.
- Court-ordered evaluations and treatment programs.
- License suspension ranging from 0 to 2 months.
- Payments of fines & costs.
- What is the Bucks County ARD Community Service Policy?
All defendants must complete community service as part of their ARD programs. The Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department must verify community service hours.It is the responsibility of the defendant to submit a completion letter to the Bucks County Adult Probation Department for verification. This letter must be from the agency where community service hours were performed. This letter should state that the required community service hours have been fulfilled as well as the contact information for the agency’s community service program director.If community service hours have been verified as completed by the Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department, and all other ARD conditions have been fulfilled prior to the ARD court date, the defendant may be eligible for a 6-month probation period for both DUI and non-DUI offenses.
- What happens if I fail to complete the ARD program in Pennsylvania?
Failure to complete the ARD program in Pennsylvania can result in all the original charges being reinstated and the full penalties applied, including steep fines and jail time.
- Can I have my record expunged after I complete the ARD program in PA?
Yes. If you complete the ARD program successfully, you qualify for a record expungement, meaning that your criminal record will be cleared of the arrest, charges, and completion of the ARD program.Effective April 1, 2013: Upon successful completion of your ARD agreement, the Court will automatically dismiss the charges against you and your criminal record will be expunged pursuant to Rules 319 and 320 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.
- What are the advantages of hiring Repko Law, LLC to handle my ARD?
The criminal defense attorneys at Repko Law, LLC have decades of experience defending clients against criminal charges and have a comprehensive understanding of the laws and procedures governing the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program.The experienced ARD attorneys at Repko Law, LLC can help determine if you are eligible for the ARD program, if the ARD program is right option for you, and help you apply for admission into the ARD program as quickly, thoroughly and efficiently as possible so you can put this behind and look forward to a future unhindered by the past.
- What is a delinquent act?
A delinquent act is an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult. When a child is found guilty of committing a delinquent act, he or she is adjudicated delinquent, which is not the same thing as being convicted of a crime.
- What is expungement?
Expungement means that your juvenile record is erased and no one can see it. For help filing a motion for expungement, please contact us.
- Are juvenile records automatically expunged after age 18?
No. You must petition the court for an expungement The court will keep your record for 25 years unless you are granted an expungement and police records could be kept longer.
- When can I get my juvenile record expunged?
The court will expunge your record if it finds the charge has been dismissed; six months have passed since your final discharge from supervision under a consent decree and no juvenile or criminal charges are pending; five years have passed since your final discharge and you have never been charged with another crime; or you are over 18 and the district attorney has consented to expunge your record.
- Can a college find out if I have a juvenile record?
If you were charged with an offense and adjudicated delinquent it is possible that a college can find out if you have a juvenile record. You should try to expunge your record so that it will not get in the way of your future.
- How do I answer if a college application asks me if I have ever been convicted of a crime?
Juvenile adjudication is not the same as a criminal conviction. If you only have been found delinquent by a juvenile court, you have not been convicted of a crime and can answer “no” to this question.
- Can having a juvenile record be a barrier to enlisting in the military?
The military can see your juvenile record even if it has been expunged. The branches of the military are federal agencies and are allowed to apply their own rules and regulations, which may be different from state law. The military requires “moral fitness” of its soldiers and may conclude that you are not morally fit for enlistment based on their regulations.
- Is there anything I can do if the military says my juvenile record is standing in the way of my enlistment?
If you are interested in a career in the military and are being told that your juvenile record is creating a problem, ask for a waiver as soon as you can. When you ask for a waiver, you are asking the military to consider all of your strengths, improvements and progress you have made since. It is also helpful to have recommendations from people who know you and can speak about your good character.
- Can I change my Will by crossing out certain bequests?
No. Any changes to your will, including written corrections after it has been signed, may invalidate the entire document. So if changes are needed, the best solution is to have a lawyer prepare a new will or codicil.
- Do I need both a Living Will and a Healthcare Power-of-Attorney?
No. But while separate documents may not be required, it is recommended that you have a separate Living Will and a separate Healthcare Power-of-Attorney.
- Should I have a Living Trust?
Probably not. A living trust can avoid probate, a very simple and uncomplicated process in Pennsylvania, but it will not avoid or eliminate any Inheritance Taxes.
- What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A document that allows you to plan for your potential disability and can help you and your family avoid costly and protracted guardianship procedures through a Court.
- If I move to Pennsylvania, must I have a new Will?
While the terms of your old Will probably will still apply, you should have the Will reviewed to be sure that it meets our requirements for signing, witnesses, and so forth.
- What is a Last Will and Testament?
A Last Will and Testament is signed and dated document that which clearly indicates who will receive your assets after death and to decide who will be in charge of handling your estate.
- Why should I have a Will?
A Last Will and Testament follows and carries out your wishes after death, rather than leaving it up to state law.
- What are some things I can indicate in my Will?
With a Will you can name guardians and set up funds for your minor children; set up special needs trust to provide for incapacitated or disabled minors or adult children; set up a trust for a spouse; give money to charities; provide for a pet; and make specific bequests of personal property or real property.
- What is an Executor?
An Executor (male) or Executrix (female) is a personal representative who is to be in charge of the decedent’s affairs. This person should be someone trusted by the Testator to collect assets, pay bills and taxes, and make distributions to the Testator’s beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will.
- What happens if I die without a Will?
Without a Will, an administrator is appointed by the Register of Wills to handle the affairs of the estate. The person may not be the one the decedent would have selected to serve as his personal representative.
- What is Medicare?
Medicare is the federal government’s principal health care insurance program for people 65 years of age and over as well as people of any age who are permanently disabled or who have end-stage renal disease. Medicare consists of four major programs: Part A, which covers hospital stays; Part B, which covers physician fees; Part C, which permits Medicare beneficiaries to receive their medical care from among a number of delivery options; and the recently-added Part D, which covers prescription medications.
- What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a joint Federal and State program that helps pay medical costs for some people with limited incomes and resources. People with Medicaid may get coverage for services such as nursing home and home health care, that aren’t fully covered by Medicare.
- Does Medicare pay for nursing home care?
To qualify for care in a skilled nursing facility, your doctor must certify that you need daily skilled care like intravenous injections or physical therapy. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care or custodial care. You pay nothing for the first 20 days each benefit period. You pay $144.50 per day for days 21–100 each benefit period. You pay all costs for each day after day 100 in a benefit period.
- Why do I need Long-Term Planning?
Long-term care planning can protect assets and can help a family understand how to deal with the situation of a loved one entering a nursing home and determine how to pay for nursing facility care due toMedicare’s limitations.
- What does Long-Term Planning involve?
Long-term care planning can involve prepaying for funerals, making burial arrangements, setting up trusts and purchasing long-term care insurance among other things. Our Doylestown elder law attorneys can help you protect your family from the high cost of long-term care.
- Why should I consult an elder law attorney about Long-Term Planning?
Our skilled Doylestown elder law attorneys can advise and represent you regarding both short-term and long-term needs. We encourage clients to plan early to avoid penalties and legal complications that can often occur in the future before an illness or disability jeopardizes your estate.
- What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a legal process utilized when a person can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his person and/or property or has become susceptible to fraud or undue influence. A guardian should take into account the wishes and desires of the ward when making decisions about residence, medical treatments and end-of-life decisions.
- What is a Guardian?
A guardian is a person, institution, or agency appointed by a court to manage the affairs of another, called a ward. The guardian may manage the person and/or the estate of an individual. All guardians are accountable to the court.
- How does a Guardian get appointed?
A guardian gets appointed after a petition is filed, a court hearing is held, and the court determines, based on the evidence presented, that the individual is incapacitated, guardianship is appropriate, who or what entity will act as guardian, and what the authority of the guardian will be.
- Who may have a Guardian appointed?
In order to have a guardian appointed a person must be demonstrated to lack the capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning personal or financial matters. Mental illness, developmental disability, physical incapacity, chronic intoxication, or even advanced age can be identified the basis for the lack of decisional capacity.
- Do parents of children with disabilities automatically remain their child’s natural guardian?
No. When a child with disabilities reaches the age of 18, the parents do not automatically remain their child’s natural guardian. Guardianship is a judicial determination made in a court of law.
- My realtor has prepared an Agreement of Sale at the purchase price I want. Should I contact a lawyer before signing the Agreement?
Yes. You should always consult with a lawyer before signing an Agreement of Sale. In Pennsylvania, most residential properties are sold pursuant to an Agreement of Sale on a form that is prepared by the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors that is quite good. Competent realtors will understand the necessity for an attorney review prior to signature. As your attorneys, we would meet with you and review the agreement as soon as possible because we understand the importance of timing in this field. The PAR Agreement prepared may require no changes but there are several options that need to be discussed that may warrant improvement to the Agreement.
- Do I need a real estate lawyer if I am a seller working with a real estate agent?
Yes. Our real estate lawyers will review your listing agreement and proposed agreement of sale to be sure the terms of these agreements protect you from liability and that contingencies arising from inspection results or buyer actions are reasonable.
- Do I need a real estate lawyer if I am a buyer working with a real estate agent?
Yes. A seller’s agent is there to represent the seller, not the buyer. He or she does not have your best interests in mind when trying to make the sale. As a buyer, you need someone who is dedicated to protecting your interests, not protecting the broker’s commission.
- Will my real estate lawyer attend my closing?
Yes. Our real estate attorneys will attend your real estate closing with you to explain all closing documents and ensure no problems arise that could delay the sale. If there is a last-minute change, we can help you negotiate that change and can draft appropriate language to insert into the documents.
- What is a Mechanic’s Lien?
Mechanic’s liens in Pennsylvania can be filed against any residential or commercial property as security to collect outstanding monies owed for work performed at the property by a contractor and/or subcontractor.
- Who can file a Mechanic’s Lien?
Pennsylvania law permits contractors and subcontractors to claim a lien for labor or materials furnished in the erection, construction, alteration or repair of a property, provided that the amount of the claim shall exceed $500.
- What types of construction issues require the assistance of an attorney for a homeowner?
An experienced construction litigation attorney can assist with any legal issue occurring prior to, during or after the completion of construction including: plans that are not in accordance with the agreement, failure to account for geologic hazards, damage to existing structures, breach of contract by a party, defective or negligent work by a builder, contractor, or subcontractor, and more.
- Who can a Construction Litigation Attorney represent?
Our attorneys represent contractors and subcontractors who have been denied payment; homeowners seeking relief from construction defects and inadequate construction warranties; as well as design professionals, architects and engineers with negligence claims.
- What is a Breach of Contract in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, a breach of contract action involves the existence of a contract, a breach of a duty imposed by the contract, and damages. In a breach of contract action, damages are awarded to compensate the injured party for losses suffered due to the breach.
- What is The Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices Act and Consumer Protection Law?
It protects the public from business engaging in fraud, misrepresentation or deceptive practices, such as unfair methods of competition, unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and any other fraudulent or deceptive conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding.
- What is Unjust Enrichment?
The general principle of Unjust Enrichment is that no person should be allowed to profit at another’s expense without making restitution for the reasonable value of any property, services, or other benefits that have been unfairly received and retained. Unjust enrichment has three elements. First, the plaintiff must have provided the defendant with something of value while expecting compensation in return. Second, the defendant must have acknowledged, accepted, and benefited from whatever the plaintiff provided. Third, the plaintiff must show that it would be inequitable for the defendant to enjoy the benefit of the plaintiff’s actions without paying for it.
- What is Fraud in Pennsylvania?
A person is liable for fraud if they make a fraudulent misrepresentation of material fact to another person and that other person relies upon the statement to their detriment. In PA, a person liable for fraud is responsible for all injuries resulting from that other person’s reliance on the fraudulent misrepresentation. Fraud is an intentional act and thus subject to punitive damages.
- What is Unemployment Compensation and am I eligible?
Unemployment Compensation (UC) is the temporary income that offers earnings in case if you have lost your job through no fault of your own. The amount you receive will be for a limited period of time. To be eligible for benefits, you need to fulfill the criteria of PA unemployment eligibility, an individual must be an employee who has executed the service expected by the UC Law and he should be eligible to work. A person may even be eligible for partial benefits if they are only a part-time worker. However, the law in Pennsylvania requires all benefit recipients to be available to work and actively searching for a job.
- How do I apply for Unemployment Compensation benefits in the state Pennsylvania?
It is important to be familiar with how and when you must file the claim for Unemployment Compensation Benefits. Initial Unemployment Compensation applications for benefits can be filed online via Internet or through the Pennsylvania Tele-claims (PAT) service centers. You may visit the Pennsylvania Unemployment website which is the best way to file your Unemployment Claim. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven day a week.
- Is it possible for me to get unemployment compensation benefits if I am fired from a company?
If you were fired from the company on the basis that the job was not suitable for your position, or if you were terminated because the company has reduced their production or is making layoffs, you may be qualified for unemployment benefits. If you are fired on the basis of misconduct then you may not be eligible for unemployment compensation.
- If I resigned from my job am I eligible for benefits?
In most of the cases, if you quit a job on your own, you will not eligible for the compensation. But in some rare cases, you can still collect the benefit if you have left the job for good cause. Good cause can include unsafe working conditions, not being paid, unexpected change in your job duties, discrimination, health and safety risks, or some type of family emergency situations.
- Will I lose my license if convicted of a traffic offense?
You may. Some traffic offenses carry an automatic license suspension while others may result in points being assessed to your license.
- What is Pennsylvania’s Points System?
Each driving offense carries a point value. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) begins imposing penalties after 6 points have been accumulated. Your insurance company will raise your rates based on the accumulation of these points.
- What happens after a driver reaches 6 points for the first time?
The driver will receive a written notice to take a special written point examination that will address the driver’s knowledge of safe driving practices, departmental sanctions and related safety issues. The driver has 30 days to successfully pass the exam or else the license will be suspended until the exam is passed. If the exam is passed within the 30-day period, 2 points will be removed from the driving record.
- Can points be removed?
Yes. Three points are removed from a driving record for every 12 consecutive months a person drives (from the date of the last violation) without a violation, which results in points, license suspension or revocation. Once a driving record is reduced to zero and remains at zero points for 12 consecutive months, any further accumulation of points is treated as the first accumulation of points.
- Will a traffic conviction affect my insurance rates?
Yes. Many insurance companies will raise your rates if you are conviceted of a traffic offense, have points assessed to your license or have your license suspended.
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