Pennsylvania Divorce Law 101 (2021 Edition)

Robert T. Repko
William J. Phelan, IV
David J. Draganosky
Cassandra Colombo
Liberty J. Weyandt
Kelley Menzano Fazzini
Inna Materese
Robert T. Repko | Repko Law, LLC
William J. Phelan, IV | Cordell & Cordell, P.C.
David J. Draganosky | Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, P.C.
Cassandra Colombo | Cordell & Cordell, P.C.
Liberty J. Weyandt | Lynch Law Group
Kelley Menzano Fazzini | Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller
Inna Materese | Dischell Bartle Dooley

On-Demand: November 1, 2021

Pennsylvania Divorce Law 101 (2021 Edition)
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Program Summary

Session I – Client Interview – Robert Repko
Learn the basics about initial interactions with clients in divorce and other family law matters.

Key topics:
•   Use of Forms
•   Fee Expectations and Agreements
•   Conflict Checks
•   Client Interactions and Advice
•   Disengagement Letters
•   Refer to other Professionals when needed

Session II – Child Custody & Support – Robert Repko
Learn the basics about custody and support matters in Pennsylvania.

Key topics:
•   Evolution of custody law in Pennsylvania
•   Pennsylvania’s 16 Custody Factors
•   Support Rules and definitions of child support, spousal support and alimony pendente lite
•   Entitlement Defenses
•   Income and Earning Capacity
•   High Income Child Support

Session III – Equitable Distribution – Robert Repko
Learn the basics about equitable distribution in Pennsylvania.

Key topics:
•   What is equitable distribution
•   11 Equitable Distribution Factors
•   17 Alimony Factors
•   Retirement Benefits
•   Stock Options
•   Tax Issues
•   Private Agreements versus Court Ordered Distributions

Session IV – Restraining Orders – William Phelan IV
Attorneys can expect to learn about the applicable Pennsylvania domestic relation laws that can protect and/or restrain family members regarding prohibited and potentially illegal conduct. The program will generally cover the procedure and requirements of applicable law to obtain a court order for purposes of protecting a party and/or their child. Additionally, practical tips will be provided for practicing in this area of the law.

The presentation will mostly focus on the Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act, the most frequently used law for obtaining a restraining order against another family member due to domestic violence or child abuse. The presentation will also cover alternative options such as the Protection from Sexual Violence and Intimidation (PSVI) Act, restraining remedies in a divorce action, and protective measures afforded in a custody case.

Key topics:
•   Filing and procedure under the Protection from Abuse Act
•   Legal standards and litigating a Protection from Abuse Act claim
•   Restraining third parties
•   Other options under a divorce or custody case

Session V – Filings and Pleadings – Cassandra Colombo
Attorneys can expect to learn what is to be included in a divorce complaint, how to appropriately file the complaint, proper procedure following the complaint including service on opposing party, and issues if opposing party cannot be served.

For pleadings and filings the presentation will begin with discussions the difference in fault v. no-fault divorce and how it impacts filing. Then we will discuss what is to be included in a divorce complaint, explain how to file said complaint, and finally discuss the last necessary step of how to serve/why the need to serve opposing party.

Key topics:
•   Divorce Complaint Inclusions
•   Fault vs. Non – fault filing
•   Actual Filing of the Complaint (online vs in person and fees)
•   Service on Opposing Party

Session VI - Mediation & Collaborative Divorce Process Options – Liberty Weyandt
As the world changes around us, the manner in which clients are seeking and choosing to resolve their legal disputes is also changing. Alternative dispute resolution processes, including mediation and/or collaborative, allow families in relationship transitions to be active participants in creating lasting settlement agreements and in doing so, they can completely avoid the adversarial divorce litigation experience. In this segment, attorneys will learn more about the mediation and collaborative law processes as applied to various family law conflicts and how alternative dispute resolution processes can be effectively utilized to reach settlement agreements, as amicably as possible.

Key topics:
•   How does the Mediation process work?
•   What are the benefits of reaching a settlement agreement through mediation?
•   How does the Collaborative Law process work?
•   What are its benefits of reaching a settlement agreement through Collaborative Law?
•   Why your practice should include the use of Mediation and Collaborative Law and how you can get started including alternative dispute resolution process as part of your legal services

Session VII – Prenuptial Agreements – David Draganosky
Attorneys attending this presentation can expect to learn what a prenuptial agreement is, some common reasons for entering into a prenuptial agreement, what provisions are typically included in a prenuptial agreement, and the requirements for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable under Pennsylvania Law.

Key topics:
•   What is a prenuptial agreement?
•   Reasons for entering into a prenuptial agreement
•   Separation and divorce considerations in prenuptial agreements
•   Post-death considerations in prenuptial agreements
•   Tax considerations in a prenuptial agreement
•   Enforceability of prenuptial agreements

Session VIII – The Family Law Discovery Toolbox – Kelley Menzano Fazzini
The course will focus on the various tools available to family law practitioners to find the information they need to successfully litigate and settle cases. We will review the Rules of Civil Procedure as they apply to discovery in custody, support and equitable distribution matters as well as the other options available to discover concealed assets and information.

Key topics:
•   Custody – Testing and Evaluation
•   Support – Basic vs. Complex Matters
•   Equitable Distribution – Informal, Formal and Expert Options

Session IX – Legal Ethics – Inna Materese
This Legal Ethics program will focus on the family law attorney’s ethical obligations to the client, the court, and the legal community in which they practice. In Pennsylvania, practicing attorneys have ethical obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct that permeate every area of daily practice and must be considered in each matter. This program will help attorneys balance the potential ethical consideration and pitfalls of navigating client communications, maintaining and managing client funds, obligations to candor with the Court, and even potentially withdrawing from representing a client.

Key topics:
•   Retention by a client and maintaining client funds
•   Duty of communication with a client
•   Duty to legal community and court
•   Withdrawing from a family law matter
•   Additional Ethical Considerations: Acting as an escrowee with respect to client’s property or funds, duties to incapacitated clients or client with potential capacity issues, marketing/advertising considerations

This course is co-sponsored with myLawCLE.

Date / Time: November 1, 2021

•   10:00 am – 5:50 pm Eastern
•   9:00 am – 4:50 pm pm Central
•   8:00 am – 3:50 pm Mountain
•   7:00 am – 2:50 pm Pacific

Choose a format:
•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program "live" in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for "live" CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 5 business days after the original recording date and are viewable for up to one year.
Closed-captioning available

Speakers

Robert T. Repko_Repko Law, LLC_myLawCLERobert T. Repko | Repko Law, LLC

Robert T. Repko, Esquire is the founding partner of Repko Law, LLC in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where he has built a successful practice focusing on representing individuals in matters related to divorce, custody, support, domestic violence and protection from abuse. He received his B.A. from College Misericordia (now Misericordia University) and his J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law, now of the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Repko served as an Assistant District Attorney in both Monroe and Bucks Counties, where he gained significant trial experience prosecuting both jury trials and bench trials. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Delaware Valley College, teaching such classes as Real Estate Fundamentals and Business Law.

Mr. Repko remains very active within the legal profession, having served as the Treasurer, Vice-President and President of the Bucks County Bar Association, Chair of the Finance Committee and Chair of the Bench Bar Committee. He is also a member of the Association’s Diversity Committee, Family Law Section and Criminal Law Section, and has previously served as Vice- Chair of the Young Lawyer’s Division. He also belongs to the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association, where he currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Membership Development and Quality of Life Committees, is a Delegate to the PBA House of Delegates, and is a member of both the Family Law and Solo and Small Practice Sections.

In addition, Mr. Repko is actively involved in his community, where he serves on the Board of the Corporate Business Partnership panel for the James A. Michener Museum, previously served on the Board of Directors for the Bucks County Opportunity Council, was the League Director and coach for the Doylestown Athletic Association 12U girls softball program, and was a Parish Religious Education Program (P.R.E.P.) Teacher for his parish. Mr. Repko is also currently the Solicitor for Bucks County Health Services, and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois, as well as the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and the United States Supreme Court.

 

William J. Phelan, IV_Cordell & Cordell, P.C._myLawCLEWilliam J. Phelan, IV | Cordell & Cordell, P.C.

William J. Phelan, IV is the Lead Litigator for the Philadelphia office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C., managing his own cases and overseeing case work for other attorneys in the firm. He advocates in various areas of family law, including, but not limited to, divorce, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, child custody and support, equitable distribution, spousal support, alimony, adoptions and termination of parental rights, and domestic violence. In addition to being a seasoned trial attorney, he serves on the firm’s elite appellate team, assisting other attorneys with their appeals to various intermediate and high-level courts. Mr. Phelan is currently President of the Doris Jonas Freed Matrimonial American Inn of Court, serving on its executive board for the past five years.

He is also involved with the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Family Law Section and Disability Services Committee (where he serves as Co-Chair), as well as the Brehon Law Society (a legal organization comprised of attorneys and judges of Irish ancestry). He has been selected to the Irish Legal 100 in 2019; was a Super Lawyers Rising Star for four consecutive years; a member of The National Advocates Top 100 List; a National Academy of Family Law Attorneys’ Top 10 Under 40 Attorneys; and one of the 10 Best Family Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in Pennsylvania by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. Within his firm, Mr. Phelan volunteers as a mentor for other attorneys regarding development of their litigation skills. He presents and is published frequently on the topics of family law and disability rights. Mr. Phelan is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. District Courts for Eastern Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

He graduated magna cum laude from The Catholic University of America earning a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Civilizations and then a Master of Arts in Congressional and Presidential Studies (Politics). He earned his Juris Doctor, with a certificate in Law and Public Policy, from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. During law school, Mr. Phelan served as a Senior Editor for The Journal of Contemporary Health Law & Policy. He attended the American Bar Association Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute. Mr. Phelan volunteers as President of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities Appeal of Greater Philadelphia and as a member of the La Salle College High School Leadership Council.

 

David J. Draganosky_Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, P.C._myLawCLEDavid J. Draganosky | Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, P.C.

David J. Draganosky, Esquire is a partner with Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, P.C., a boutique law firm in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, practicing exclusively in the area of family law. Mr. Draganosky handles a wide range of family law matters including divorce, equitable distribution, support, custody, protection from abuse, prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements. Prior to joining his current firm in 2008, Mr. Draganosky was a partner in the family law department of a large, then Philadelphia-based, law firm. Mr. Draganosky is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of family law, one of the legal profession’s oldest and most respected peer-review publications, published by U.S. News & World Report.

He is also a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, a distinction held by only the top five percent of Pennsylvania’s 50,000 attorneys each year. Mr. Draganosky is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in Pennsylvania. He graduated from LaSalle University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English. Subsequently, he obtained his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the Temple University School of Law in 1990. While in law school, Mr. Draganosky served on the staff of the Temple Law Review, an honor for which he was chosen based upon his performance in a rigorous research and writing competition. Mr. Draganosky is a frequent lecturer and has been interviewed by the press regarding a variety of family law topics including divorce, equitable distribution, custody and support.

He has authored numerous family law articles that have been published both in print and on line. He also co-authored the chapter entitled “Effectuating the Distribution Agreement/Award” in Slicing Up the Pie: Property Distribution in Pennsylvania (2010, 2d ed. 2012, 3d ed. 2016). Mr. Draganosky is a member of the Pennsylvania and Montgomery Bar Associations and their respective Family Law Sections. Additionally, he has served on various committees of the Montgomery Bar Association, including the Joint Liaison with Accountants Committee, Membership Committee and Sidebar Committee.

 

Cassandra Colombo_Cordell & Cordell, P.C._myLawCLECassandra Colombo | Cordell & Cordell, P.C.

Ms. Colombo received her Bachelor of Arts in politics from Ursinus College and her Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Prior to joining Cordell & Cordell in 2018, Ms. Colombo practiced workers compensation, personal injury, and family law. In 2021, Ms. Colombo was recognized as a Rising Star in the family law practice area by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service of outstanding attorneys.

 

Liberty J. Weyandt_Lynch Law Group_myLawCLELiberty J. Weyandt | Lynch Law Group

Liberty J. Weyandt, Esquire is a Partner at the Lynch Law Group, as well as the Chair of the firms Family Law Practice Group. Representing clients in the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Ms. Weyandt is dedicated to assisting families who are in transition obtain solutions to their complex family matters. In addition to extensive, traditional court-room experience, Liberty is a trained Collaborative Law Attorney and Mediator. Her commitment to various alternative dispute resolution processes allows her clients to have the option to resolve their matters in a more family-focused manner, without adversarial litigation.

She is a founding member of “CLASP,” The Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania and a member of the “IACP,” The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She has been recognized by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, both as a “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyer,” and has been recognized as a 2021 & 2022 “Best Lawyer” in The Best Lawyers in America, for her work in Family Law.

 

Kelley Menzano Fazzini_Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller_myLawCLEKelley Menzano Fazzini | Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller

Kelley Menzano Fazzini, a senior associate in the Family Law group at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, has extensive experience handling both litigation and negotiation in domestic relations issues. She focuses her practice on matters involving prenuptial agreements, divorce, custody, support, domestic violence, and paternity. She practices in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Kelley earned her law degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 2009, where she received a Child and Family Law Certificate, as well as the Pro Bono Service Award and the Leadership and Service Award. She also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Children’s Legal Rights Journal. She earned her bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Villanova University in 2006.

During law school, Kelley dedicated her education to the study of family law and served as a legal intern for the Family Violence Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as an extern for the Honorable Ronald Bartkowicz, and as a licensed clinic student in the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law Child Law Clinic. Following law school, she was a post-graduate fellow with CIVITAS Child Law Center and an associate at a boutique family law firm in downtown Chicago.

Kelley is a frequent course planner and speaker with the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pennsylvania Bar Association and Montgomery Bar Association. Kelley currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Montgomery Bar Family Section and on Council for the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section. Kelley has been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer Rising Star from 2016 to the present and was named onto the Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” list for 2022.

 

Inna Materese_Dischell Bartle Dooley_myLawCLEInna Materese | Dischell Bartle Dooley

Inna concentrates her practice in all areas of family law, including but not limited to, high-asset divorce, complex custody issues, protection from abuse and support matters. Inna has successfully represented clients in the negotiation, litigation, and resolution of their family law matters in Montgomery, Bucks, Chester and Philadelphia Counties.

Inna is actively involved with a variety of professional and community organizations. She is on the executive board for the Doris Jonas Freed American Inn of Court, as well as an active member of the Family Law Section for both the Montgomery County Bar Association and Pennsylvania Bar Association. Additionally, Inna has participated in several continuing education events as faculty and presenter. Prior to joining Dischell Bartle Dooley, Inna practiced at Berner Klaw & Watson, a Philadelphia family law firm, where she honed her client-centered and cost-effective approach. Inna completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida prior to attending the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.

Agenda

Session I – Client Interview | 10:00am – 10:40am
I. Use of Forms | 10:00am – 10:07am
II. Fee Expectations and Agreements | 10:00am – 10:14am
III. Conflict Checks | 10:14am – 10:20am
IV. Client Interactions and Advice | 10:20am – 10:27am
V. Disengagement Letters | 10:27am – 10:33am
VI. Refer to other Professionals when needed | 10:33am – 10:40am

Session II – Child Custody & Support | 10:40am – 11:30am
I. Evolution of custody law in Pennsylvania | 10:40am – 10:47am
II. Pennsylvania’s 16 Custody Factors | 10:47am – 10:53am
III. Support Rules and definitions of child support, spousal support and alimony pendente lite | 10:53am – 11:00am

Break | 11:00am – 11:10am

IV. Entitlement Defenses | 11:10am – 11:17am
V. Income and Earning Capacity | 11:17am – 11:24am
VI. High Income Child Support | 11:24am – 11:30am

Session III – Equitable Distribution | 11:30am – 12:10pm
I. What is equitable distribution | 11:30am – 11:35am
II. 11 Equitable Distribution Factors | 11:35am – 11:40am
III. 17 Alimony Factors | 11:40am – 11:46am
IV. Retirement Benefits | 11:46am – 11:51am
V. Stock Options | 11:51am – 11:57am
VI. Tax Issues | 11:57am – 12:03pm
VII. Private Agreements versus Court Ordered Distributions | 12:03pm – 12:10pm

Break | 12:10pm – 12:20pm

Session IV – Restraining Orders | 12:20pm – 1:00pm
I. Filing and procedure under the Protection from Abuse Act | 12:20pm – 12:30pm
II. Legal standards and litigating a Protection from Abuse Act claim | 12:30pm – 12:40pm
III. Restraining third parties | 12:40pm – 12:50pm
IV. Other options under a divorce or custody case | 12:50pm – 1:00pm

Session V – Filings and Pleadings | 1:00pm – 1:50pm
I. Divorce Complaint Inclusions | 1:00pm – 1:10pm
II. Fault vs. Non – fault filing | 1:10pm – 1:20pm

Break | 1:20pm – 1:30pm

III. Actual Filing of the Complaint (online vs in person and fees) | 1:30pm – 1:40pm
IV. Service on Opposing Party | 1:40pm – 1:50pm

Session VI – Mediation & Collaborative Divorce Process Options | 1:50pm – 2:30pm
I. How does the Mediation process work? | 1:50pm – 1:58pm
II. What are the benefits of reaching a settlement agreement through mediation? | 1:58pm – 2:06pm
III. How does the Collaborative Law process work? | 2:06pm – 2:14pm
IV. What are its benefits of reaching a settlement agreement through Collaborative Law? | 2:14pm – 2:22pm
V. Why your practice should include the use of Mediation and Collaborative Law and how you can get started including alternative dispute resolution process as part of your legal services | 2:22pm – 2:30pm

Lunch break | 2:30pm – 3:00pm

Session VII – Prenuptial Agreements | 3:00pm – 3:40pm
I. What is a prenuptial agreement? | 3:00pm – 3:07pm
II. Reasons for entering into a prenuptial agreement | 3:07pm – 3:14pm
III. Separation and divorce considerations in prenuptial agreements | 3:14pm – 3:20pm
IV. Post-death considerations in prenuptial agreements | 3:20pm – 3:27pm
V. Tax considerations in a prenuptial agreement | 3:27pm – 3:33pm
VI. Enforceability of prenuptial agreements | 3:33pm – 3:40pm

Session VIII – The Family Law Discovery Toolbox | 3:40pm – 4:40pm
I. Custody Discovery | 3:40pm – 4:00pm

a. Testing
b. Evaluations/Experts
c. Subpoenas
d. School Information
e. Communication Applications

Break | 4:00pm – 4:10pm

II. Support & Equitable Distribution | 4:10pm – 4:40pm

a. Support vs. Equitable Distribution
b. Where to Start
c. Formal vs. Informal
d. Rules of Civil Procedure
e. Use of Experts

Session IX – Legal Ethics | 4:40pm – 5:50pm
I. Retention by a client and maintaining client funds | 4:40pm – 4:52pm
II. Duty of communication with a client | 4:52pm – 5:00pm
III. Duty to legal community and court | 5:00pm – 5:10pm

Break | 5:10pm – 5:20pm

IV. Withdrawing from a family law matter | 5:20pm – 5:35pm
V. Additional Ethical Considerations | 5:35pm – 5:50pm