I may have just saved you $10,000.00 in your child custody dispute

Watch this video. Listen. Learn.

Sometimes I will come across some great family law related content. No two child custody cases are exactly alike. Child custody laws vary from state to state. Even judges who sit in the same jurisdiction can have different views. However, take a few minutes to listen to what this North Carolina family court judge had to say. This is a low budget video. However, in my opinion, the content is worth more than any slick, high-cost production video any lawyer or law firm can produce.

Keep your kids out of custody litigation

by Jonathan C. Noble         2 minute read

Keep your kids out of the middle

Every so often I see a parent try to pull their child into a child custody dispute. This is not a good idea. It is hard enough being a kid these days. Asking a young child to choose one parent over the other is often a bad idea. With very limited exception, kids should have ongoing access to both parents whenever possible.

Do not put pressure on your kids by pulling them into a custody battle. Be smart, even if the other parent is not smart. Leave your kids out of the fray.

Sole physical or sole legal custody: not likely

Unless there is compelling evidence under the law to preclude one parent from sharing physical or sharing legal custody of their minor child with the other parent, and both parents want to be in their child’s life, it is unlikely a court will order sole legal or sole physical custody of a child to only one parent. Sharing physical custody does not mean the parents will have equally shared physical custody on a 50/50 basis. No matter how much you may despise the other parent, they too have child custody rights under Pennsylvania child custody law. I have represented convicted felons out on parole in child custody matters. Unless there is a compelling reason under the law why a convicted felon out on parole cannot share custody of their child, a court will likely grant their request for a shared custody arrangement. No two family law cases are exactly alike. The specific facts of your case, and how those facts are presented to the court are two key elements of how your custody case will be decided.

Try to speak respectfully about the other parent. If you can’t speak respectfully about the other parent, then say nothing.

Children are like sponges. They pick up everything adults do and say. Even from an early age, children understand the difference between right and wrong. They understand hypocrisy. When you speak negatively about the other parent in front of the child, it often hurts children in a way they cannot easily ignore or defend. “If you have nothing nice to say, do not say anything”. Your kids will appreciate it, even if they do not say it. Children learn from your behavior. Be smart. Always take the high road. You can’t control the other parent.

If you are considering hiring an attorney in your family law case, search vigorously, select wisely.

Finding the right attorney to represent you in any legal matter can be difficult and time-consuming. I recommend speaking to at least two attorneys before hiring one. If you feel like you need to speak to more than two or three attorneys, keep searching before hiring one. Do NOT feel pressured into hiring an attorney until you are ready. Changing attorneys during a family law case can be expensive and counter-productive. Search vigorously from the start. Select wisely.

I look forward to hearing from you either for a brief phone inquiry or to schedule an in-depth initial consultation. I can be reached at  610 256 4843 or jonathancnobleesq at gmail dot com. I will consider representing individuals in complex family law cases throughout Pennsylvania.

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A Deadly Sin in Divorce | Pride

by Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.        3 minute read

Some divorce issues are really personality issues in disguise.

Occasionally, I will handle a divorce case where the parties cooperate with each other and cooperate in bringing the divorce process to a fair and equitable close. Unfortunately,  in a majority of divorce cases, conflict often gets in the way of progress.

I have seen several litigants try to establish a position that is so absurd, or so unlikely to prevail under the law, that I wonder what it must have been like to live with that person. People tend to show their true character in times of adversity. Divorce proceedings can put most people in the most stressful, adverse situation they have ever experienced. True colors often shine through. Sometimes the result is not pretty. Sometimes pride displaces common sense.

Letting go of your pride is often difficult for many divorce litigants. Pick your battles wisely. Do not let pride or other counterproductive emotions prevent you from making a fresh start.

Do not let your pride weigh you down in divorce

Some people are so wrapped up in who is “right” or who is “wrong”, they are blinded by their own pride. This mindset can be a major mistake in the context of a divorce. I have never seen pride or hubris win the day in divorce court. We are all human. Having too much of the wrong type of pride may cloud your thinking when trying to navigate a divorce. You should usually try to focus on the big picture and move past the trivial battles that mean very little when all is said and done.

Start with a level-headed, experienced lawyer. Then listen carefully, ask questions, and act accordingly.

Great lawyers listen to their clients and explain the law and legal strategy going forward. Smart clients listen to their lawyer carefully, ask questions, and do the things necessary to get the best overall outcome in their legal matter. Great communication is a two-way street. Clients who refuse to listen, or refuse to act according to the legal advice they have been given, usually create unnecessary headwinds for themselves. Start with hiring a level-headed, experienced lawyer. Then listen. Ask questions. Keep a lid on your pride. Stay focused.

If you are looking for a no-nonsense approach to your family law matter, I welcome your inquiry. Please contact my office via email to set up a consultation. (jonathancnobleesq at gmail dot com). I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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The Always Angry Spouse – Tales From The Dark (Divorce) Side

by Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.                   3 minute read

Family law case facts never surprise me. Digging deep is what I do.

Every family law case has a unique set of facts. There is almost always two (or three) sides to a story. Sometimes people focus more on emotional issues than on getting to the root cause of the friction in their relationship. I have had potential divorce clients come in for a consultation, then enter therapy for themselves and take good care of themselves. Sometimes a potential divorce client successfully reconciles with their spouse or partner. This is always a good thing, whenever possible.

Unfortunately, sometimes reconciliation is not possible. That is where I come in.

“I told you 2% milk, and you come home with 1% milk! How could you do that to me!”

I have handled family law cases where the daily living situation is no longer tenable for one or both spouses. One case involved a person who became increasingly agitated at virtually nothing. In one case, I had a client who would arrive home after a long day working in a high-stress job, only to have his stay-at-home spouse start yelling at him, for virtually no logical reason about the most minor insignificant things. He came in for a consultation after he realized that his spouse was abusive and hostile towards him, and things were getting worse. One night he arrived home with 1% milk, after his spouse sent him a text message earlier that day to buy 2% milk on his way home. “They were out of 2% milk, and it was getting late”, he told me. Something needed to change.

Sometimes underlying issues can be fleshed out and cleaned up. Sometimes not.

It is amazing what can happen when people realize what they can change and what they cannot change. Sometimes people blame their spouse or loved ones for problems that they themselves own. Sometimes people come to a relationship with deeply rooted baggage that only they can examine and repair. It may take work, and it may take help from a competent and caring mental health professional, but some people are willing to put in the work to save their relationship and become a better version of themselves. In some cases, this is not possible.

Consulting with an experienced family law attorney does not mean you are ready to file for divorce. However, it will help you understand your options and help you formulate a strategy going forward.

If you have read this far, you are likely thinking about contacting an experienced divorce or family law attorney. An in-depth consultation is usually a good idea before filing any documents, or hiring any attorney to represent you. It is almost always best to understand all of your options through the lens of a family law attorney who is licensed to practice in your state. Forget the well-meaning advice from friends and family members. Friends and family may love you, but they do not know the law, and cannot assess your legal situation as an attorney can.

Feel free to contact my office at 610 256 4843 if you would like to set up a brief phone call or an in-depth face-to-face consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Pro Tip: Stay Informed In Your Family Law Matter

by Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.          3 minute read

The best case outcomes in many family law matters depend on active, ongoing client involvement and two-way communication between attorney and client. A good working relationship between attorney and client is often essential for a good outcome in family law matters.

Unlike some other areas of law practice, family law matters depend on open, ongoing, two-way communication between lawyer and client. Divorce and child custody matters are often emotional. Events often take place during family law litigation that could impact the outcome of a case. Unless the client and his or her counsel have an open line of communication, the chances for the best possible outcome can decline.

Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.

Common reasons why some clients are reluctant to keep their counsel abreast of new developments in their family law matter. 

a) Some clients feel like they will be overcharged for sending their lawyer a short email or asking a simple question. If you find yourself in this situation, bring it up to your lawyer without delay.

b) Sometimes a client will think that newly discovered information will hurt their case, so they say nothing and hope it goes unnoticed. This is a big mistake. Let your lawyer decide what is important. If you don’t keep your lawyer informed, you could get blindsided at trial.

c) Some family law clients are simply not in an emotional state to stay on top of the issues involved in a high conflict family law matter. This is common. The best thing to do is seek professional help. Mental health treatment can be a key component to becoming the best person you can be. There is no shame or stigma for reaching out for professional help, especially in times of great stress. Do not wait.

Your family law attorney should be your trusted advocate. Forming a great working relationship can often impact the result in your family law matter. I invite your inquiry. Feel free to contact my office at (610) 256 4843.

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Social Media meets Family Law

by Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.                             3 minute read

Use Social Media With Extreme Caution During Your Child Support or Child Custody Matter 

Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms are fertile grounds for family law attorneys to gather evidence in support or custody cases. Skilled attorneys can navigate the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence to get the social media postings authenticated, and admitted in evidence.

Heavy Drinking, Drug Abuse, and Reckless Behavior Should Not Be Undertaken and Then Documented on Social Media if you are in a Custody Battle. 

It always amazes me how some people doom their own family law case by posting damaging evidence on their own social media accounts.

I recently represented a father in a high conflict child custody case. The mother had dozens of postings on her social media profiles proudly displaying her hard partying, illicit drug taking, intoxicated lifestyle. In nearly every photo she posted on her social media accounts, this mother was holding a beer can, or a shot glass, or a marijuana pipe, and she always appeared impaired and disheveled. The young child who was the subject of this custody dispute also appeared in many of the mother’s social media postings.

A good lawyer will have relevant social media postings admitted in evidence at trial.

I properly authenticated every single social media posting of the mother that my client obtained off of the mother’s social media accounts. Every piece of evidence was admitted in evidence. Needless to say, I was able to secure a great result for the father. Pictures don’t lie. Especially when you have dozens of pictures, all with the common feature of mother’s frequent heavy drinking, and frequent heavy cannabis use, while she had  physical custody of the young child. In the days before social media, obtaining this type and quantity of evidence would have been much more difficult, if not impossible. I am amazed that some people have no idea how they continue to doom their own child custody case via their use of social media.

Evidence From Social Media May Be Used in Spousal and Child Support Cases

In recent years, evidence retrieved from social media platforms has been used by savvy attorneys to support allegations of hidden assets or the underreporting of income. Social media postings by litigants in support cases who post details of frequent exotic trips, and their fancy new six-figure automobiles, can and do work against certain litigants in a support case. I am amazed how often litigants unthinkingly post photos of their new exotic sports cars, and expensive trips (often with their new paramour), even though they have a pending, hotly contested, support case where they claim an income that cannot possibly support such a lifestyle.

If you are a litigant in a support matter, use proper discretion when posting personal information about your new Italian sports car on social media.

For some reason, certain family law litigants seem to create problems for themselves by making bad decisions, being reckless, then documenting their recklessness on social media platforms for the whole world to see and discover.

Always try to think things through, with a clear head, and make good decisions that will impact your family law case in a positive manner.

Feel free to contact my office at 610 256 4843 to schedule a consultation about your family law matter.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Who the (BLEEP) did I marry? This is NOT a question you want to be asking yourself.

by Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.             3 minute read

I was recently introduced to a television show titled “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? Being a divorce and family law attorney, I could not resist finding out more about the program.

Nobody should EVER allow themselves to stay in an abusive relationship. Keep your eyes open and trust your instincts before getting married.

Basically, the show is based on marriages where one newlywed has kept a deep, dark secret from their spouse. In fact, sometimes they have more than one deep, dark secret. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting spouse finds him or herself starring in their own real-life horror movie, with no easy way out.

Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? tells the unenviable stories about people who get married without really knowing the dark details about who they are marrying. Much like the show, I have seen people rush into a marriage for many reasons, and without knowing the other person very well. This is a high-risk gamble with a huge potential downside.

The real life stories are endless. Do your homework.

Some people feel that they “cannot do any better” so they “settle” on marrying their current partner. Some people feel that time is somehow “running out” and they want to get married before doing their homework. I have also seen couples enter into a marriage because their parents, friends, and or family members pressure them to get married. Of course, nobody should ever feel pressured to make a life decision, (such as getting married) unless and until they are ready.

The Evil Beauty, A Dangerous Affair, I Will Control You, Living a Double Life. Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? You do NOT want to be asking yourself this question. Do your homework. Take your time. Getting married is easy. Getting divorced can be difficult.

Be wary of spousal abuse before you walk down the aisle. Spousal abuse can take many forms. Economic abuse. Physical abuse. Emotional abuse. Sexual abuse. While it is not always possible to completely vet a potential spouse, it is possible to keep your eyes open for tell-tale signs of possible abuse. Take your time. Listen to your instincts. Open your eyes. Wide. Early. Often. Things rarely get better.

I have been contacted by many potential divorce clients who endure abusive marriages, and end up wondering “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry”? Sometimes they wait for years to take action because they do not want to be alone, or they feel like they would be considered a failure if they initiate divorce proceedings. While it is almost always preferable to work things out wherever possible and reasonable to do so, sometimes marriages become non-functioning or abusive.

In reality, I do not know of one person who escaped an abusive relationship or non-functioning marriage who was not convinced that they made the right decision. Actually, every abused person I ever met who did take action wishes they didn’t wait as long as they did. Most people saw warning signs, but chose to ignore them.

Proceed with caution before getting married. You do not want to star in your own version of “Who the (Bleep) did I Marry”?

While nothing in life is 100% certain, proceeding with caution can help prevent you from ever starring in your own version of “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry”?

I welcome your comments.

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