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Family Law Attorneys in Pennsylvania

Family law covers a wide variety of family-related matters. This includes marital issues like divorce and separation agreements. It also includes child-related matters like adoption, custody, and child support. No matter your family’s situation, the attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm can help. Our family law attorneys have experience in mediating divorces, filing Protection from Abuse orders, overseeing adoptions, and more. Call us today for a consultation on your family law case.

Topics covered:

Marriage & Relationship Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are a contract between prospective spouses that spells out terms and conditions for finances, property, and other assets in the event of a divorce or separation. Prenuptial agreements, also known as pre-marital agreements, are formed prior to entering into a marriage.

While these are not a requirement for marriage, they can provide helpful protections in the event of a divorce. An experienced attorney, like the ones at Cornerstone Law Firm, can help you to draft a fair and reasonable pre or postnuptial agreement, and can see that it is enforced should a divorce or separation take place.

Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation agreements function similarly to prenuptial agreements, but they apply to couples who are not married but are living together. If you are in a long-term relationship with someone and have purchased a home, leased a car, or have shared in other assets, a cohabitation agreement may be right for you.

Splitting assets after a breakup can be painful and expensive. By entering into a cohabitation agreement, you and your partner will be able to determine who gets what property and who is responsible for paying which debts should you break up. Cohabitation agreements are legally binding contracts and can help you to avoid headaches and potential lawsuits down the road.

Separation Agreements

In some cases, a couple may not wish to begin divorce proceedings but may wish to spend time apart. Pennsylvania does not require any formal processes to be separated from your spouse. You can, however, get a separation agreement (essentially a type of postnuptial agreement) to establish responsibilities for the parties involved.

Separation agreements can help a couple to determine who should upkeep any joint property and whether the property needs to be divided. You can also use a separation agreement to establish custody and visitation for minor children. And you can cover a wide variety of other legal considerations that may become relevant during the course of your separation.


A legal annulment is the process of declaring a marriage null and void. It essentially makes it as though the marriage never existed. It differs from divorce, which terminates a marriage, because it erases the marriage from a legal standpoint. Compared to divorces, annulments are relatively rare. Annulments aren’t always granted. Some marriages are void, meaning they were never legally valid. Others are voidable, meaning they can be declared null and void if certain criteria are met. That criteria can include:

  • Void marriages—Some marriages are void from the beginning. Marriages involving bigamy (when one party is already legally married), incest (when the parties are close blood relatives), and marriages with underage parties lacking parental consent are all considered void.
  • Fraudulent marriages—If an important fact is concealed by one spouse, the deceived party may seek an annulment. This could include hiding things like a criminal background or impotence.
  • Nonconsensual marriages—If either or both parties enter the marriage without full and voluntary consent, this can be grounds for an annulment. This includes cases involving coercion, intoxication, or duress.
  • Issues with mental capacity—Similar to nonconsensual marriages, marriages involving a party that lacks the mental capacity needed to understand the nature and consequences of marriage at the time of the wedding can be annulled.
  • Marriages without consummation—If a marriage has not been consummated (no sexual relations have occurred) and one spouse refuses to do so without valid reason, the other spouse can seek an annulment.
  • Concealed impotence or pregnancy—If one spouse has concealed impotence or a pregnancy from another party outside of the marriage, the other spouse may seek an annulment.


Divorce is a difficult process for all parties involved and can often illicit strong emotions. At Cornerstone Law Firm, our attorneys see divorce differently than many firms, and we seek to help you analyze whether there is a way to keep your family together, even in situations that seem hopeless.

Pennsylvania recognizes two types of divorce: fault and no-fault divorce. In most cases, no-fault divorce will apply. Both parties must demonstrate that the marriage is irretrievably broken and beyond reconciliation. A no-fault divorce can be obtained either by the consent of both parties or after a 90-day waiting period in which one spouse files for divorce and the other does not object. To learn more about the divorce process in Pennsylvania, visit our Divorce & Separation Agreements page.


Depending on your situation, mediation may be a better option for your divorce or separation than traditional court proceedings. Mediations can be faster, less stressful, and more cost effective than court proceedings. They can also be less adversarial than traditional divorce litigation.

You may also be able to work together with the same attorney to develop an outcome that is fair and reasonable for both sides. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to divorce. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine which option is best for your case.


Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a form of financial support one spouse may be required to pay to the other spouse after a divorce. Alimony is awarded based on a number of factors including but not limited to financial need, length of the marriage, standard of living during the marriage, age and health, and marital misconduct. Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) is sometimes awarded during a separation. Spousal support can be either temporary or long-term depending on the circumstances of the case.

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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a type of abuse inflicted by a family member, household member, or close intimate partner. All types of domestic violence are illegal under Pennsylvania law, and protections are available to victims of domestic violence. At Cornerstone Law Firm, our attorneys are caring and compassionate. We will provide you with thorough legal defense at every step. Call us today to set up a consultation.

For help with domestic violence, you can call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You can also visit the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence to find your closest domestic violence program.

Child-Related Matters


Adoption is a great way to expand your family and support a child. The process can be complex. Hiring an adoption attorney, like the ones at Cornerstone Law Firm, can help you with filing paperwork, meeting eligibility criteria, and informing you of the legal responsibilities of adding to your family.

There are several ways in which you can adopt a child. You can work with a private adoption agency to adopt a newborn. You can work with a state agency to adopt a foster child or a child with support needs. You can adopt a relative, like a stepchild, a niece, a nephew, or a grandchild. You can also adopt internationally, though that may be even more complicated depending on the restrictions placed by other countries. You can also adopt an adult.


Establishing paternity—the legal father of your child or children—has many benefits but can be complicated. In most cases, genetic testing will be the best way to determine paternity. If a man decides to assume responsibility voluntarily, both he and the child’s mother can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Form (VAP). Hospitals can file a signed VAP upon the birth of a child, or either parent can file a VAP with the county after a child’s birth.

Benefits of establishing paternity include:

  • Parental rights for the father, including potential custody and visitation rights.
  • Access to medical history.
  • Inheritance rights for the child.
  • Military, healthcare, or social security benefits for the child.
  • A birth certificate naming both parents.
  • The child having relationships with both parents’ extended families.
  • The right to file for child support.

If you are looking to establish paternity as either the mother or father of a child, contact the family law attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm for help.

Child Support

Child support refers to the money paid by a noncustodial parent to provide food, clothing, and shelter for his or her child. These payments can also cover costs for medical care, childcare, and education. The amount of support is calculated based on the relative income of the parties.  The cost of health insurance premiums for the children will be allocated between the parties. The guidelines can be found in the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, Pa. R.C.P. 1910.16-1 to Pa. R.C.P. 1910.16.7.

Custody & Visitation

When it comes to custody, the first thing to keep in mind is your child’s best interest. There’s not always an easy solution, and compromising may feel like taking a loss, but it is vital to protect your child’s sense of safety and belonging. Custody often takes the form of either primary custody, partial custody, or joint custody. Any form of custody involves meeting the child’s physical and emotional needs, and making decisions regarding education, healthcare, and religion.

Supervised or unsupervised visitation may be granted to a non-custodial parent depending on the circumstances. Supervised visitation typically takes place when the non-custodial parent is deemed incapable of spending time alone with the child. This is most common in cases involving domestic violence or other types of abuse, substance abuse, or mental illness.

Grandparents’ Rights

Grandparents have some rights in regard to custody of or visitation with their grandchildren. The extent of those rights varies based on the circumstances of the case, but if you as a grandparent would like to establish custody or visitation with your grandchildren, you may be able to do so. It is important to remember that in all situations involving children, the child’s best interest must come first.

When is it more likely that a grandparent may receive custody or visitation?

  • In cases where a court has terminated one or both parents’ parental rights.
  • In cases where one or both parents have died.
  • In cases where a divorce or separation have taken place.
  • In cases where a child’s well-being is at risk.

When is it less likely that a grandparent may receive custody or visitation?

  • In cases where both parents are fit and willing and oppose the grandparent having custody or visitation.
  • In cases where the child is adopted by a non-relative.
  • In cases where it is determined not to be in the child’s best interest.

Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency refers to minors (individuals who are under the age of 18) that have allegedly participated in illegal activities or behaviors that would be considered criminal offenses if committed by an adult. Youth offenders have many of the same rights as adult offenders including the right to a trial, the right to an attorney, and the right to file pre-trial motions.

If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, contact Cornerstone Law Firm. Our defense attorneys will work to protect your child’s rights, have charges lowered or dismissed, and strive to get the best outcome possible for your child. A juvenile record can have adverse effects on your child’s future—legal representation is vital. Call us today.

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Provision of Care

Conservatorship & Guardianship

Conservatorship and guardianship are two ways to provide care to family members who are not able to care for themselves. Both of these arrangements are established to protect the best interests of an individual who is incapacitated, has a disability, or is otherwise incapable of managing medical, financial, and other decisions independently.

A conservatorship is established to protect the individual’s finances and estate. If you are appointed as a conservator, you will be responsible for handing things like bank accounts, investments, real estate, and other assets. A guardianship is established to ensure the individual receives daily care, necessary medical treatment, and has proper housing. If you are appointed as a guardian, you will be responsible for making decisions about things like medical treatment, living arrangements, and personal care.

If you become a legal guardian or conservator, you will be required to submit an annual report to the court that details what actions you have taken on behalf of the individual. Should the individual regain the ability to care for themselves independently, the guardianship or conservatorship will be terminated.

Health Care Directives

Health Care Directives, also called Advance Health Care Directives or Advance Directives, are legal documents that explain your wishes for health care should you become incapacitated and unable to express those wishes. Under both Pennsylvania and federal law, any adult aged 18 or older has the right to decide what types of health care to accept, reject, or discontinue. You can also appoint someone to make those decisions for you in the event that you are no longer able.

There are four types of advance directives recognized under Pennsylvania law. Those are:

  1. A Living Will Declaration
  2. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
  3. A Mental Health Care Declaration
  4. A Mental Health Power of Attorney

Advance directives can be changed or cancelled at any point in time. If you have one, it’s a good idea to provide copies to your doctor(s), lawyer, family members, local hospital(s), and nursing home. For help with setting up a health care directive, contact Cornerstone Law Firm.

Contact the Family Law Attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm.

The experienced family law attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm can help you with dividing property during a divorce, adopting a child or stepchild, filing a PFA order, establishing a visitation agreement, and more. Our attorneys are caring and compassionate, and we will work with you to protect your rights and provide care for your family and you. Call us today to schedule a consultation.