Divorce & Family Law


• Divorce • Child support • Child custody • Spousal support
• Alimony • Modifications • Order enforcements
• Contempt petitions • Protection from abuse (PFA) actions
• Prenuptial agreements • Paternity

Divorce

Sometimes things don’t always work out the way we planned and our dreams of a life-long partner fade and disappear. If you and your spouse believe that your marriage is best dissolved, I will work to help reach an equitable divorce settlement with your spouse that favors everyone’s best interests. With everyone’s cooperation, your divorce could be finalized in as little as a few months.
But in the event that your spouse doesn’t want to cooperate with the divorce action, you’re going to need someone who aggressively represents your interests and works hard to help you minimize your financial impact. This is where the Law Office of J. Michael Sheldon stands ready to help you by stepping forward and seeking equality and justice for your concerns, which could include spousal support, child support, alimony and equitable distribution of the martial property. Each of these areas can carry significant financial consequences. In many cases, a decision in one aspect of the divorce action can impact another.
Child Support & Custody

Whether the parents of a minor [under 18 years-old] are married or not, child support can be affected by the amount of custody of the minor child awarded to either parent.
Child support generally is a matter of working through numbers representing the monthly net income of the involved parties. “Net income” is that income which is left over after the mandatory deductions are taken from your paycheck. Calculating an amount of child support that one parent may be required to pay involves using a lengthy formula which includes multiple variations. These variations account for other child support payments being made by the party, as well as the amount of visitation or custody that parent might have with the minor child.
Custody of the minor child is an important issue to separating parents. No one argues that both parents love their child but sometimes the anger felt by one parent towards the other translates into reducing the custody action to a football game where custody of the child is used against the other parent.
The Law Office of J. Michael Sheldon understands your need to have an emotionally secure and safe environment where you can nurture a loving relationship with your child without outside interference. Our office can initiate a custody action on your behalf, protect your interests and work with you in the best interests of the child.
Spousal Support & Alimony

Let’s face reality a little bit here. Depending upon how a relationship terminates, there can be a lot of difficult emotions to deal with on both sides, with neither side really wanting to “give in” or pay the other party anything. However, in many cases, both parties are aware of each other’s financial situation and can generally work things out if they put the emotion aside and talk with each other honestly and realistically. This is where the Law Office of J. Michael Sheldon can help the most. By meeting with the client and preparing a realistic financial picture, our office can initiate support actions and help you present your rightful financial demand, while working hard to help the other side understand realistic expectations. But, when conversation doesn’t work, we also help by preparing and presenting your case to court.
Modifications

Every days brings some sort of change in our life. Consequently, a child custody or a support situation that existed months or years ago may need to be re-visited in order to update a court Order or change some aspect of the custody or support matter. My office will help you seek a modification a child custody or a support judgment already entered by the Court.
Order Enforcements & Contempt Petitions

Order enforcement and contempt petitions oftentimes work hand-in-hand. If you have a custody Order awarding you custody of your minor child/children, there are times when the other parent doesn’t follow the directions of the Order. In many instances, a dispute can be resolved by a telephone call; however, in those instances which merit a more stern approach, the Law Office of J. Michael Sheldon will file a petition with the court seeking to hold the other party in contempt of the court’s Order. If it is determined that the other parent was—in fact—disobedient of the court’s Order, there can be financial sanctions to that person which would penalize for the disobedience and act to discourage any further activity that is neither wanted nor agreed to in the best interests of your child.
Protection From Abuse (PFA)

In addition, I file emergency petitions and Protection From Abuse (PFA) actions on behalf of those whose family law matters endanger their well-being. If a spouse or loved one exhibits threatening behavior toward you or your family, an emergency petition for a PFA requires [if granted] that person’s removal from the premises within 24 hours, with a hearing to be held within 10 days to determine whether the emergency petition should become a permanent Order of Court. A permanent Protection From Abuse (PFA) action can prohibit the offender from any contact with you anywhere or at any time for as long as 36 months. [For an explanation of the consequences of violating the PFA, please go to the ICC section on the “Criminal Law” page.]
Prenuptial Agreements

Not a whole lot can be said against the value of protecting your income, savings and the results of your hard work before you get married. A prenuptial agreement preserves those assets which you bring into the marriage from being dissolved or removed from you if the marriage should terminate. A prenuptial agreement removes any financial consideration from the love and attachment felt by you and your future spouse to each other, and it helps you both focus on the most important aspect of your relationship—your relationship with each other and your future as husband and wife. The Law Office of J. Michael Sheldon can assist you in drafting a Prenuptial Agreement which meets your financial needs and protects the results of your hard work.

Pennsylvania Attorney 717-657-3464