Over 27 Years Family Law Experience - Call for an Initial Consultation 610-692-7090

Divorce

Andrea B. Pettine brings over 27 years of Family Law experience to help you navigate through the often painful and emotional issues surrounding the break-up of a marriage. It’s crucial to protect your economic and financial interests while working through a divorce. The divorce process in Chester County, Pennsylvania involves separation issues, the equitable distribution of assets and debts, as well as possibly spousal support, alimony pendente lite and alimony.  Whether the issues of your divorce are resolved through a Property Settlement Agreement, mediation, arbitration or litigated through the Courts, Andrea brings her skills and experience to give you realistic advice and personalized attention throughout your Divorce matter.  

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Equitable Distribution / Division of Assets

Although there are a few exceptions, most assets and debts accrued during a marriage are considered to be “marital” and are subject to distribution between spouses as part of a Divorce. These assets/debts can include real estate, retirement plans, investment accounts, stocks, automobiles, mortgages, personal loans and credit card debts. Equitable distribution in Pennsylvania does not automatically mean an “equal” division of assets and debts. Every case is fact specific and there are a number of economic factors to be considered.  It is always best, and the most cost efficient, for the parties to reach a Property Settlement Agreement to address these economic issues. Andrea B. Pettine has assisted clients in Chester County for over 27 years negotiating settlement agreements in her client’s best interests, as well as advocating for her clients through litigation in the event a settlement is not feasible.  

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Alimony

Alimony is the term used for support payments to a spouse after a divorce is finalized. There is no formula or guideline to determine alimony in Pennsylvania.  There are a number of factors considered by the court in deciding if alimony is appropriate in a specific case, as well as the amount and the term of alimony payments. These factors include, but are not limited to, the income and earning capacities of the parties, health, needs and expenses, and the assets/liabilities of the parties. Alimony is often a controversial issue in a divorce case.  It is important to have an experienced Chester County family law attorney to represent your interests and maintain your financial stability when facing an alimony issue. Andrea B. Pettine has been working with clients for over 27 years resolving alimony conflicts and litigating these issues when necessary.

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Property Settlement Agreements (Post-Nuptial Agreement)

Although there are a few exceptions, most assets and debts accrued during a marriage are considered to be “marital” and are subject to distribution between spouses as part of a Divorce. These assets/debts can include real estate, retirement plans, investment accounts, stocks, automobiles, mortgages, personal loans and credit card debts. Equitable distribution in Pennsylvania does not automatically mean an “equal” division of assets and debts. Every case is fact specific and there are a number of economic factors to be considered.  It is always best, and the most cost efficient, for the parties to reach a Property Settlement Agreement/Post-Nuptial Agreement to address and memorialize these economic issues. A post-nuptial Agreement is one that is signed after the marriage, but prior to a Divorce in order to address the economic terms of a future separation. Andrea B. Pettine has assisted clients in Chester County for over 27 years negotiating settlement agreements in her client’s best interests, as well as advocating for her clients through litigation in the event a settlement is not feasible. Whether through mediation, arbitration, or the negotiation of a Property Settlement Agreement/Post-Nuptial Agreement, Andrea can help you with the process of distributing your assets and addressing the economics of your divorce.

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Child Support and Child Support Modification

There can be an understandable fear of the unknown if you are concerned about how you will financially support your children. If you are living separately from your spouse or the other parent of your children, you may be entitled to collect child support. In Pennsylvania, child support is calculated pursuant to Child Support Guidelines based on the net incomes (or earning capacities) of both parents.  There can be circumstances when the Court may deviate from the guideline support calculations. Child support cases also involve issues such as the responsibility of each party to pay medical expenses which are unreimbursed by insurance coverage, who will provide the health insurance, childcare expenses, as well as extra-curricular activity expenses. The required child support payment may also be affected by the parties’ child custody arrangements. 


In the event of a material and substantial change in circumstances, it may be appropriate to modify a Child Support Order.  For example, this modification issue may arise if one party involuntarily suffers a reduction in their income, loses their job, or becomes disabled. Child support Orders are enforceable with the Court and there are serious consequences for failure to satisfy your obligations set forth in these orders. Andrea B. Pettine has represented clients for over 27 years in Chester County child support and child support modification cases.  She can advise and assist you in your Child Support case whether through mediation, arbitration, negotiation of a settlement or through litigation if necessary.  

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Spousal Support / Alimony Pendente Lite

The term Spousal Support refers to payments made to the spouse with a lower income (or earning capacity) when appropriate during the pendency of the divorce action and before it is finalized.  Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) payments are similar and may be required after a Divorce action is filed and continue until the parties are divorced. In Pennsylvania, support guidelines are utilized to determine the payment amount and the formula calculation may be affected by child support if there are minor children involved. Andrea B. Pettine has represented clients for over 27 years in Chester County spousal support and alimony pendente lite cases.  She can advise and assist you in your case whether through mediation, arbitration, negotiation of a settlement or through litigation if necessary.

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Child Custody / Visitation / Grandparent Rights / Relocation

The most emotional and difficult issues in a Family Law case often surround the custody of minor children and where those children will live when the parents separate or divorce. If the parties are unable to reach a custody agreement, the Court will make a determination of custody and visitation utilizing the “best interests of the children” standard after a review of the relevant factors. Every case is fact specific and it is best for the children to maintain a relationship with both parents.  Custody Agreements and Custody Orders may be appropriate for modification if it is in the best interests of the children. Children’s needs and the parties’ and/or children’s changing schedules may necessitate a modification of a custody order. Andrea B. Pettine has been providing personalized attention to Chester County custody cases and clients for over 27 years. Andrea approaches these cases with compassion and the protection of your children as her primary concern. Andrea takes a balanced approach to assist clients in an effort to avoid unnecessary conflict while protecting your parental rights. She can advise and assist you in your Chester County custody case whether through mediation, arbitration, negotiation of a settlement or through litigation if necessary.  


Family Law cases also involve custody issues surrounding the Relocation of one parent which may require a modification of a Custody Order or Agreement. For example, if a parent seeks to move due to a job change or a personal relationship, a Custody Relocation may require the agreement of the parties or the Court’s consent before a party moves. You should consult a child custody attorney if a custody relocation issue arises in your case whether you are seeking to relocation or opposing the relocation. There are a number of factors considered by the court in a relocation custody case and it’s important to have an experienced Chester County Family Law attorney to guide you through the process.  


Grandparent custody issues may arise if a parent dies and the grandparents are then prohibited from seeing their grandchildren. Pennsylvania gives grandparents custody rights depending on the facts of your case and with the best interests of the children at the forefront of the considerations.  


Andrea B. Pettine has represented clients for over 27 years in Chester County custody cases, custody modification, visitation, and relocation cases, as well as Grandparent custody cases.  She can advise and assist you in your case whether through mediation, arbitration, negotiation of a settlement or through litigation if necessary. Andrea has the experience to protect you and your children. 

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Premarital Agreements (Prenuptial Agreements)

A Premarital Agreement (or Prenuptial Agreement) may be in your best interests if you are planning to get married. Whether you have significant assets that you will want to protect in the unfortunate event of a Divorce, or in the event of your death, or if you want to protect and preserve your assets for your children from a prior relationship, a Premarital Agreement can address those issues. The terms of the agreement will help you avoid the potential of future Divorce litigation by specifying what will happen to your assets and debts in the future.  Andrea B. Pettine has been representing clients in Chester County for over 27 years in the drafting and review of Premarital/Prenuptial Agreements.  Andrea provides personalized attention to help you protect your financial future.  

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Mediation / Arbitration

Andrea has served for many years as a mediator for couples involved in divorce, support, and/or custody matters.  Many couples choose mediation as an alternative method of resolving their divorce, property and custody issues.  The mediator is a trained, independent and neutral third party who can assist you through the mediation process.  Often, mediation is a favorable option which can address the very stressful and often emotional issues surrounding a divorce, versus litigation where these matters are dealt with in a public courtroom. 


Your mediation will take place in the private setting of Andrea's office with both the Husband and Wife present.  It's possible to reach a mediated property settlement agreement and custody arrangement which is in the best interests of your children in a non-adversarial environment.  You will maintain the control to end the mediation process at any time without waiving your right to litigate your case if you decide to do so.  In most cases, mediation is far less expensive than litigation and the related court appearances. 


Mediation serves as an opportunity to discuss the issues and possible solutions for your case, with the assistance of the mediator.  The mediator will not however make any decisions or choose sides, nor will the mediator provide any legal advice.  There may be times during the mediation when it may become necessary to consult with an attorney or other experts such as real estate or business appraisers and accountants.  You will have an opportunity to review any agreement reached during mediation with an attorney on your behalf and the mediator will recommend that you take that step.


While mediation is a process whereby the parties make the final decisions in their Divorce, Support, and/or Custody Family Law case, in the alternative, Andrea B. Pettine also has many years of experience when the parties want to present their case and turn the decision-making process over to an independent arbitrator. The parties must agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision.  Arbitration can help you avoid the expensive and often lengthy process of litigating your Family Law case through the courts. Andrea approaches her role as an arbitrator with a balanced approach and provides both parties with the opportunity to be heard while making a fair decision based on her more than 27 years of Chester County Family Law, Divorce, Support, and Custody experience.  

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Parenting Coordination

When parties involved in a child custody dispute suffer a breakdown in communication and repeated litigation results in significant legal fees, as well as emotional turmoil, Andrea B. Pettine can provide Parenting Coordination services. As a certified Parenting Coordinator, Andrea brings her personal balanced approach and serves as an intermediary to assist the parties with their custody disputes.  Utilizing a Parenting Coordinator can help you obtain decisions in custody disputes on an expedient basis and will also avoid significant legal fees. 

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