Lawyer FAQs

Does my obligation to pay child support extend to having to pay for college expenses?

No. There is no legal requirement in Pennsylvania for a parent to contribute to college expenses of their children. That does not mean that parents do not find themselves at odds over whether they should do so. Because Pennsylvania law does not require a parent to contribute to college expenses, the traditional court process is not available to resolve this matter.

In the Collaborative Process, parents can determine how their children’s post-high school education and training will be paid and whether an agreement on these issues should become a legally enforceable obligation. The Collaborative Team, which may include a Financial Specialist, works together with both parents to discuss and develop a comprehensive approach to provide for their children’s post-high school education and training, which may include contributions by the children such as loans, grants, scholarships and savings. In this way, parents are also better able to save for their financial future.

My kids are 8 and 10. They tell me they want nothing to do with their mom. They refuse to take her calls or see her. The court won’t make them see their mom. Right?

The court’s job is to make decisions that are in a child’s best interest. The court is going to want to understand the reason a child has decided not to have contact with a parent. The court may order evaluations/assessments of your children and each parent to determine what professional intervention will encourage and promote reestablishing the children’s relationship with their mom. You should not count on the court supporting the children’s decision to have nothing to do with their mom. With the cost of litigation and evaluations, you should each conservatively expect to invest $30,000 to $50,000 or more. That’s upwards of $100,000 and a year or two before a court decision is made. And then, there’s always the possibility of an appeal, more money and more time.

The Collaborative Process and Team offer another possibility and opportunity. Collaborative Lawyers will educate and advise you on the points of law while remaining committed to resolve the case out-of-court. A Child Specialist is trained in child development, expected behaviors and common struggles children experience when divorce results in a changed family system. The Child Specialist will give the children a voice, help to strengthen the children’s relationship with their mom and develop hope. The Coach will help you and the mom manage emotions, identify your own emotional struggles that may be contributing to this situation and help you focus on the future for each of you and your children. Our Collaborative Team of Professionals are here to help . . . contact us to learn more!

My spouse is likely to receive a large share of our marital property. Will I still have to pay alimony?

Even in the case where a financially dependent spouse receives a large share of the marital property, alimony may still be appropriate in order for the financially dependent spouse to be able to pay for their reasonable needs. In these situations, one spouse generally has far greater income than the other party or has non-marital property of substantial worth.

In the Collaborative Process, each spouse and their Collaborative Lawyers are able to call in a Financial Specialist whose role in the Collaborative Team is to assist the spouses and their Collaborative Lawyers to:

  • assess the income and expenses of each spouse;
  • evaluate the nature and extent of the marital property;
  • consider the financial realities of the separation and divorce;
  • help structure the distribution of marital property, alimony and child support;
  • support the development of practical options and a structure for the distribution of property and payment of debts, alimony and child support, if applicable;
  • educate each spouse on the financial implications of each option; and
  • empower each spouse to make sound financial decisions for the short and long-term.

To schedule a confidential consultation and learn more, contact a professional with Collaborative Law Professionals of Southeastern Pennsylvania.