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Smart Decisions Start With Knowledge

Family law is complicated. While no amount of research can replace a personalized consultation from an experienced family law attorney, getting informed is one of the best ways to prepare for your divorce, custody, support or other family law matter.To get you started, we’ve put together articles we think will help you gain the knowledge you need to successfully move forward.So, start your learning now.

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How to Tell Your Kids About Your Divorce: Advice From a Child

Breaking news of your divorce to your children is not easy. Preparation is key. How you approach this conversation will depend on the age of your children. However, young or old, male or female, ... Read more

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How to Get Your Life Back After Divorce: Consider Hiring a Life Coach

Guest Blog By Julie Ketover, Divorce and Life Coach Divorce is a major transition in your life. For some, the transition is welcome. For... Read more

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How Child Support is Calculated in Pennsylvania

Child support in Pennsylvania is calculated by a mathematical formula set forth in law. There are, however, many nuisances to the formula. The court may also deviate from the formula based on special or unusual circumstances. However, in general, child support is calculated as follows: First, you should understand that there are four main factors that a… Read more

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How Alimony and Spousal Support is Calculated in Pennsylvania

How Alimony Is Calculated in Pennsylvania: Updated for 2019

In Pennsylvania, there are three types of “Alimony”: Spousal Support, Alimony Pendente Lite, and Alimony. Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite are calculated pursuant to a mathematical formula based on the parties’ monthly net incomes. Alimony is calculated pursuant to a list of factors.

1. Won… Read more

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Where Do You Modify An Alimony Order When Neither Party Lives In The State That Entered The Order?

Just when you thought you were out, they keep pulling you back in! A client recently asked us for assistance modifying his New Jersey alimony order. He and his spouse divorced in New Jersey and the court issued an alimony order. Post-separation, both parties moved to Pennsylvania. A change in circumstances prompted the client to seek modification of the existing order. Unfortunately, the l… Read more

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Separate Finances? Guess Again.

A few of the attorneys from our office were out to lunch the other day when our conversations turned to the different types of relationships we see come through our office. The one that we ended up talking about the most is what I like to refer to as the “roommate marriage.” In this type of marriage the couple maintains separate finances as if they were roommates – they keep separate ba… Read more

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Cooley & Handy Awards GenZ Future of Marriage Scholarship to Central Bucks East Graduate

COOLEY & HANDY AWARDS “GenZ FUTURE OF MARRIAGE” SCHOLARSHIP TO CENTRAL BUCKS EAST GRADUATE SUZANNE E. FORBES. DOYLESTOWN, PA – Cooley & Handy Attorneys at Law, a premier Bucks County law firm specializing in divorcee and family law, awarded its 2016 “GenZ Future of Marriage” Scholarship to Suzanne E. Forbes of Jamison, PA. Ms. Forbes graduated from Central… Read more

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How is Marital Property Divided in Pennsylvania?

One of the most common questions that people going through a divorce ask is, “how is marital property divided in Pennsylvania in divorce?” Marital property is divided in divorce in Pennsylvania through a process called "equitable distribution." Unlike in community property states such as California, where marital property is divide equally (i.e. 50% - 50%), in Pennsylvania marit… Read more

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Getting Divorced In Pennsylvania? These Are The Steps You Need To Take To Prepare

When you are getting divorced, you can create a safer, more advantageous position for yourself by taking several financial steps while the divorce is pending. If you and your spouse are separating on fairly good terms -- and especially if reconciliation is possible -- you may not want to take all of the steps outlined below. Many couples maintain their financial arrangements while the divorce… Read more

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Seeking an Attorney to Represent a Child to Avoid Contempt when the Child Refuses to Visit with a Parent

In extreme cases, when a child is refusing to visit with a parent and the court is threatening the primary custodial parent with contempt or other drastic sanctions, one tactic that can help deflect blame for the child’s failure to abide by the custody order is for the custodial parent to request that the child be appointed his or her own attorney. A court can appoint an attorney to repr… Read more

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How Long Does Alimony Last In PA?

People going through a divorce often wonder, how long does alimony last in PA? It depends on a variety of factors, including what type of “alimony” or support is being paid. As we discussed in our previous article, there are three types of “alimony” or support t… Read more

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How Bucks County Child Support May Affect Your Divorce

Most divorces involve couples with children. Virtually all of these divorces will be impacted by child support issues. If you are divorcing in Bucks County, PA, it is important to have a general understanding of how child support works, how it is decided, and the factors that will influence it to your advantage or disadvantage. Below are the top 11 ways that Bucks County Child Support may aff… Read more

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How Child Custody Is Determined in Bucks County, PA

When it comes to custody, every county does it a bit differently. If you are initiating a child custody action or modifying a current custody order in Bucks County, here is what you need to know: 1.  Custody Conference After you file your initial custody petition or petition to modify, you will be scheduled for a conference with a family Master.   A family Master is a full-ti… Read more

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When To Say “No” to a Divorce Mediator and “Yes” to Litigation

Most divorcing couples want to get through the process as quickly and cheaply as possible, which can make mediation seem like the perfect option. Unfortunately, that desire to save time and money sometimes means risking a lot more, including your own welfare. Below are a few situations in which you should say no to a divorce mediator and yes to litigation. 1.  One party controls the fi… Read more

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How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer

Make no mistake, this is a serious decision. The divorce lawyer you choose to represent you will have an impact on some of the most important matters in your life. You should dismiss most of the “information” about divorce attorneys you get from cultural and societal cues, like movies, novels and newspaper stories. Instead, do your research. Look around. Ask for referrals from those you t… Read more

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SnapDivorce: Modern Divorce Mediation, Arbitration and Agreements

SnapDivorce Makes Divorce Simple Through Modern Divorce Mediation, Arbitration and Agreements. There are well over half a million divorces in the United States each year, many of which ruin couples financially and emotionally. As nearly anyone who has gone through the process can attest, the divorce system is overwhelmed with cases, expensive, fraught with delays … Read more

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What To Do If Your Spouse Is Taking All The Money In A Divorce

What to do? My wife just emptied out the checking account! My husband just withdrew $50,000 from our joint investment account! What can I do to stop this behavior and protect the marital assets? The important thing to know is that you can stop it. You can stop it by filing a Petition for Special Relief to Freeze Marital Assets. By filing this petition, you are requesting that the court ent… Read more

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A Resolution We Can Help You Keep

You see it all around you every January: people starting over. Starting diets, starting exercise plans, and starting, unfortunately for many, the process of divorce. Resolutions are easy to make but difficult to keep, largely because the process is unclear. Nowhere in the world of resolutions is this truer than for something like divorce. What steps do you take first? Which concerns should be… Read more

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Is the “Best Interest of the Children” Standard No Standard at All?

In Pennsylvania, as in most states, child custody battles are something of a crapshoot. Theoretically, courts are supposed to enter custody orders that are in “the best interest” of children based on a loose set of factors ranging from parental cooperation to history of abuse to who is adjudged the most emotionally nurturing parent. In practice, however, decisions are mostly entered based… Read more

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Every Town Has Its Amityville Horror

If you found out that someone was murdered in a home you were interested in buying, would you still be interested in buying it? What if the home were used as a crystal meth lab? What if satanic rituals were performed there? Criminal or traumatic circumstances that might be a deal breaker for the average homeowner are not automatically disclosed – nor are they required to be. The Pennsylv… Read more

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When Not To Listen To Your Friends

Most people get their impressions of divorce from Hollywood and their friends, which are probably the two worst sources of information for those pursuing litigation in real time and in the real world. The actress Ellen Barkin reputedly received $20 million in her divorce from investor Ronald Perelman. Your neighbor's cousin may have gotten three homes and the family dog in his divorce. Your c… Read more

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Can You Ever Leave A Child Alone In The Car?

If you are a parent with young children, I’m sure you have thought at least once about leaving your kids in the car while you ran a quick errand into the dry cleaner or convenience store.  Let’s face it, getting young kids in and out of the car can turn a 3 minute stop into a 30 minute ordeal.  On the other hand, you probably haven’t considered locking your kids in the car for an hour… Read more

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You May Be Able To Withdraw Money From A Qualified Retirement Account Penalty-Free In Connection With Your Divorce

Spouses involved in divorces frequently have an immediate need for cash at the time their divorce is finalized, to pay bills, make a down payment on a home or secure an apartment, or for other reasons, but lack any significant non-retirement assets from which they can obtain such funds. Often, the only significant assets of parties at the conclusion of a divorce are funds in employer-sponsore… Read more

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Who is Responsible for Maintaining Health Insurance Coverage in Divorce and Child Support Cases in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law provides rules that govern which party is responsible for maintaining heath insurance coverage in divorces and in child support matters. The law also provides the court with guidance regarding how to allocate the cost of such insurance between the parties. Who is Responsible for Provides Health Insurance Coverage? In child support cases, where family health insur… Read more

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Cooley & Handy Sponsors TALK’s 5K Trail Run and 1 Mile Family Walk

Cooley & Handy is proud to sponsor TALK Institute and School’s 5K Trail Run and 1 Mile Family Walk. The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at 10:00 A.M. at the Garrett Williamson Foundation in Newtown Square, PA. The benefits will go towards increasing scholarship resources and its intensive programming. TALK’s mission is to seek out and create innovativ… Read more

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Flirting on Facebook Can Lead To Divorce

Accepting the Facebook friend request from her old high school boyfriend seemed harmless enough to Monica, even though she felt a twinge of excitement at the time. At first, he would “like” pictures that she uploaded or comment on posts that she made. Then they started to message each other. Soon they were e-mailing, texting and talking on the phone every day. “Before I knew it, I was i… Read more

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Your iPhone Addiction Is Ruining Your Relationship With Your Children

A few months ago I was at a playground with my daughter. Another father was sitting on a bench a few feet away and his son, who looked about three years old, was playing nearby. As I was watching my daughter, I couldn’t help but notice that the boy was very excited about something he was doing and was looking over to his father for acknowledgement and approval. The father, however, had no i… Read more

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How To Keep The Peace During The Holidays If You’re Divorced

For adults, the holidays are an opportunity to try to recapture some of the magic and wonder of their childhoods. Children, however, are just forming their memories and feelings about the holidays. Imagine that if, instead of associating the holidays with joy, you associated them with stress and fights. That is the reality for many children of divorced or separated parents, although it doesn… Read more

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Grandparent Rights to Visitation or Child Custody in Pennsylvania

Becoming a grandparent is a special event in one’s life, and grandparents often form close and meaningful bonds with their grandchildren. In many families, grandparents spend a great deal of time with their grandchildren and play an important and active role in their lives. The separation, divorce or death of a parent, however, can throw a grandparent’s relationship with their grandchi… Read more

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10 Steps You Should Take To Prepare For Divorce In Pennsylvania

What steps a person should take to prepare for divorce depends on the person’s individual situation and the person’s relationship with his or her spouse. If you and your spouse are separating on fairly good terms, especially if reconciliation is possible, you may not want to immediately take all of the steps outlined below to minimize the disruption to your lives. For example, often parti… Read more

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I’m a Woman: Do I Have to Pay Alimony or Child Support?

One morning not long ago, when I was dropping my son off late at pre-school, all of his classmates were already in circle time talking about the day’s weather. As my son joined the circle, I overheard his teacher gently reminding the class that their “mommies” must return permission slips for the library field trip. My heart dropped a bit as I thought of my son’s best friend, sitting … Read more

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Should You Consider Pre-Divorce Counseling?

Maintaining a successful marriage can be hard, even under the best of circumstances. Yet, many couples enter into marriage without the skills necessary to navigate this stressful and complex world with a partner. When relationships become strained, many people seek divorce without seriously considering whether the marriage can be saved through counseling. Even if the marriage cannot be saved,… Read more

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Cooley & Handy Obtains Extraordinary Reversal in Supreme Court of Pennsylvania of Superior Court Decision Quashing Appeal of Paternity by Estoppel Case as Moot

After a lengthy and, at times, frustrating legal battle, Cooley & Handy secured their clients’ right to appeal an adverse paternity by estoppel decision in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. On November 9, 2011, the Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court’s decision that quashed the appeal in the paternity by estoppel custody case as “moot.” The Superior Court had quashed the ap… Read more

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Attorney’s Fees Awarded for Frivolous Custody Appeal In Pennsylvania

Cooley & Handy’s attorneys successfully convinced the Superior Court of Pennsylvania to sustain a Bucks County trial court’s award of attorney’s fees and to award their client additional attorneys’ fees for having to litigate a frivolous appeal. The parties in the case were involved in a highly contentious divorce. As part of the parties’ Property Settlement Agreement resolvi… Read more

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Karen C. Graham joins law firm of Cooley & Handy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information, contact Kevin J. Handy, principal Phone: 215.345.8000 Email:  khandy@cooleyhandy.com Karen C. Graham, Esq. has joined the Doylestown law firm of Cooley & Handy.  The firm concentrates its practice in family law and personal injury law in Bucks, Montgo… Read more

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Cooley & Handy challenges order requiring father to take down website.

Firm Contact: Kevin J. Handy khandy@cooleyhandy.com 215-345-8000 Divorced Father Challenges Judge's Order Forcing him to Take Down Anonymous Website and Blog About his Ex-Wife and Divorce on First Amendment Grounds. Divorced Father Claims that Bucks County, Pennsylvania Judge's Order Requiring him to Take Down a Website … Read more

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Time to Retire… and Divorce?

The recently announced separation of Al and Tipper Gore reflects a broader trend of couples divorcing later in life – after thirty, forty or more years of marriage. Divorces among older couples, especially couples at or near retirement age can present difficult challenges in resolving equitable distribution and support and alimony claims in divorce. The Bucks County divorce lawyers at Cooel… Read more

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The Great Recession’s Affect on Divorces

The recent recession in the United States has directly affected the economic and personal lives of Americans. A secondary affect of the recession has been on divorce rates. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal notes that divorce rates have decreased as the economic crisis has increased. The reason that divorce rates have decreased is that poorer employment opportunities and a decreas… Read more

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Dismissal of Abuse of Process Lawsuit Arising out of Pennsylvania Custody Litigation Affirmed

Cooley & Handy won an appeal today that followed the dismissal of a frivolous “abuse of process” lawsuit filed against one of Cooley & Handy’s clients, a mother, by her ex-husband and the father of her children. The lawsuit arouse out of contentious and on-going divorce and custody litigation pending in Bucks County. Cooley & Handy also represented the mother in the custody … Read more

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Cooley & Handy Obtains Substantial Settlement in Lock Haven University Assault Case

Cooley & Handy recently obtained a substantial cash settlement in a personal injury case for a 21 year-old Lock Haven University student who was severely injured after he was assaulted while at college. The plaintiff was injured when he attempted to intervene to break up a fight started by six young men who did not attend the university. As he approached the fight, the plaintiff was pushe… Read more

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Alimony Pendente Lite Can Help You Afford a Divorce in Pennsylvania

Whether you are unemployed, under employed or are simply the lower-earning spouse in a marriage, the cost of getting divorced in Pennsylvania is an important concern faced by those who are seeking a divorce. Our attorneys often encounter clients who sacrificed their careers for the sake of the union, either by opting to work part-time or to stay at home to care for children. Such a decision… Read more

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Fault Divorce in PA: What You Need To Know

In the past to obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania one spouse had to prove "fault" by the other spouse. That, however, is no longer the case in Pennsylvania. Now a Pennsylvania divorce may be obtained without a party having to prove that the other party is somehow legally at "fault." The Pennsylvania fault divorce, however, still survives as a legal option and in certain circumstances, where gro… Read more

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“But I need my car for work…” — DUI License Suspensions in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties and the Availability of Occupational Limited Licenses

First time DUI offenders often wonder if their driver’s license will be suspended and, if so, how they will manage to get to work. Because people are so dependent on their vehicles, this is a major concern for those faced with DUI charges. In fact, many of our clients are actually more concerned about their potential driver’s license suspensions than going to jail. If you find yourself fa… Read more

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Bucks County Courier Times Editorial Supports Cooley & Handy’s Appeal of Custody Contempt Order Imposing Sanctions on Father for Profanity Use

Thumbs Down

To the Bucks County judge who fined a divorced dad $2,000 for cursing in front of his 9-year-old son.  That’s not to condone the practice.  It is both shameful and reprehensible for any adult to use foul language in front of any child.  But there is such a thing as free speech.  And, like it or not, the Supreme Court has ruled that “courts and legislatures cannot… Read more

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Cooley & Handy Challenges Sanctions in Custody Contempt Case Based on First and Fourteenth Amendments to U.S. Constitution

The Bucks County Law Firm of Cooley & Handy Challenges Order Sanctioning Father $2,000.00 for Cursing in Front of His Ex-Wife and Daughter on First Amendment Grounds

Father Claims that Bucks County Judge’s Order Prohibiting Him From Using “Inappropriate” Language Constitutes an Illegal and Unenforceable Prior Restraint on Free Speech. A father in a custody dispute is ch… Read more

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Cooley & Handy Attorney Establishes that Biological Father may Challenge Putative Father’s Acknowledgment of Paternity on the Basis of Fraud

October 24, 2008 - In a precedential ruling, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held that a biological father has the statutory right to challenge an acknowledgment of paternity on the basis of fraud, duress or material mistake of fact. Cooley & Handy attorney Susanne M. Wherry, with co-counsel, successfully argued that silence, when good faith requires disclosure, can rise to the leve… Read more

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Avoiding Contempt When a Child Refuses to Visit with a Parent

A difficult issue faced by both custodial parents and their attorneys occurs when a minor child refuses to visit with the other parent as a result of alienation, anger, and sometimes fear. The situation becomes increasingly problematic as the child approaches the age of majority (18 years old). In some cases, the child’s mental heath is at-issue due to familial turmoil or stress related to … Read more

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Child Custody Relocation in PA: What You Need To Know

The State of Pennsylvania has amended the law affecting relocations in child custody cases. Parents who are in the midst of a divorce should take time to read the new custody law changes. Any parent involved in a Pennsylvania (PA) custody case or who has a child that is the subject of a Pennsylvania child custody order and is thinking about moving or relocating should be aware that the PA law… Read more

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How to Get Divorced in Pennsylvania

"How do I get divorced in Pennsylvania?" is probably the most frequent and seemingly simple question that Cooley & Handy gets from our family law clients. Unfortunately there is no simple answer. While all Pennsylvania divorces are officially started by the filing of a divorce complaint in the Court of Common Pleas, generally in the county in which one of the parties resides, there are… Read more

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Social Security Retirement Benefits and Divorce – What are YOU entitled to?

If you are in the midst of a divorce, Social Security retirement benefits may not be on your mind, especially if you are relatively young and far from retirement. However, the potential affect of divorce on Social Security retirement benefits is an important consideration in negotiating the terms of a marital settlement agreement, including alimony, support and dividing marital property. The … Read more

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How The Vanishing Credit Works In Bucks County PA Divorces

A frequent issue that arises in Pennsylvania divorce cases is how a premarital asset that was contributed to the marriage should be handled in equitable distribution. A premarital asset is an asset that one party possessed before the marriage. Such an asset is deemed “contributed to the marriage” or converted to a marital asset when it is put into joint names or used to purchase a joint m… Read more

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Cooley & Handy Secures Extraordinary Stay of Alimony Pendente Lite Order Entered in Bucks County Divorce Proceedings from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania took the rare step of staying a completely unprecedented and legally erroneous alimony pendente lite order entered against an ex-husband in a Bucks County divorce action by the Hon. Alan M. Rubenstein. The stay of the alimony pendente lite order was obtained through the efforts of the Bucks County divorce lawyers at Cooley & Handy. … Read more

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As the Economy Rises, So Does the Divorce Rate

In May 2010 we wrote about how the great recession had caused couples to put their divorces on hold due to the loss of employment and decreases in the value of their assets. Federal figures suggest the divorce rate fell about 7% between 2006 and 2009. National Public Radio now reports that with the improving economy the divorce rate is once again on the rise. Because banks are now more wil… Read more

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Pennsylvania Divorce Law 101: Know The Basics

Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage in Pennsylvania. However, when most people think about "divorce," they usually also think about related claims, such as equitable distribution, which is the legal process of dividing up marital property in Pennsylvania, support claims (such as alimony pendente lite, and spousal support), and sometimes even custody and child support claims. Whi… Read more

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Cooley & Handy Successfully Argues for Application of “Paternity by Estoppel” Doctrine in Bucks County Custody Case

February 18, 2009 - Cooley & Handy Successfully Argues in Buck County Custody Matter that “Paternity by Estoppel” is Applicable where Biological Father Failed to Challenge Putative Father’s Acknowledgement of Paternity for Nine Years Despite Actual Knowledge of Probability that Child was his Biological Child. The trial court in a Bucks County custody matter recently accepted Cool… Read more

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Cooley & Handy Challenges Order Sanctioning Father $2,000.00 for Cursing in Front of His Ex-Wife and Daughter on First Amendment Grounds

Father Claims that Bucks County Judge’s Order Prohibiting Him From Using “Inappropriate” Language Constitutes an Illegal and Unenforceable Prior Restraint on Free Speech

Doylestown, Pa (April 24, 2009) - A father in a custody dispute is challenging a contempt order entered by a Bucks County judge that sanctioned him $2,000.00 for violating a custody order requiring him not to … Read more

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Intelligencer Columnist Lends Support to Cooley & Handy’s Appeal of Custody Contempt Fine Based on Father’s First Amendment Rights

Four Letters, Two Grand

By Phil Gianficano, Daily Intelligencer May 3, 2009 - A Bucks County Judge recently instructed a Northampton man involved in a custody dispute to stop cussing when in the presence of his 9-year old daughter. The judge subsequently learned the man violated terms of the agreement and uttered a four-letter word in front of the girl. The word was not flo… Read more

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Pennsylvania Abuse of Process Lawsuit Arising out of Contentious Custody Litigation Dismissed

December 31, 2008 - Cooley & Handy recently secured the dismissal of a frivolous “abuse of process” lawsuit filed against one of its clients, a mother, by her ex-husband and the father of her children. The lawsuit arouse out of contentious and on-going custody litigation pending in Bucks County. Cooley & Handy also represented the mother in the custody litigation. In the underl… Read more

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Spa Faces Lawsuit Over Sexual Assault

A woman has filed against Essentials Day Spa and a former employee for sexually assaulting her during a massage

October 5, 2007 By: Christina Kristofic A Bucks County woman who was sexually assaulted during a massage at Essentials Salon and Day Spa in Doylestown has brought a civil suit against the spa’s owners and the former employee who assaulted her. The suit, filed by Do… Read more

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