Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law Super Lawyers

May 2012 Archives

Is there "Legal Separation" in Pennsylvania?

I recently had a young lady in my Pittsburgh Law Office who had come in for a divorce consultation. At one point during our discussion of her potential divorce issues, I asked her what was the date that she separated from her husband. She responded "why does that matter, someone told me that there's no legal separation in Pennsylvania". After chastising her for listening to her Internet/coffee shop lawyer, I explained to her that the date of separation is of ultra importance in Pennsylvania divorce law. I then went on to explain the confusion.Some states will issue an order establishing legal separation; however, in Pennsylvania, the Court does not issue an order but rather first allows the parties to agree on the date that they became separated. Absent an agreement, the Court will look to the facts: when did one of the spouses move out of the marital residence, or move downstairs if he or she has not left? There is also a presumption of separation on the date the divorce is filed unless the facts indicate otherwise.

Should my business be incorporated?

Speaking as a Pittsburgh Business Law Attorney, I quite honestly believe there are very few instances where a small to medium sized business should not take advantage of the protections afforded by incorporating or by forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Individuals who own a business or who are beginning a business will be operating as a sole proprietor if they do not run the business out of an entity such as a corporation or LLC, which are two of the most prevalent forms of protection. Business Law states as a sole proprietor, an individual's assets are subject to creditor's claims and any judgments associated with the business activity. On the other hand, only in very rare cases are individual's assets subject to the company's liabilities if they run their business through a corporation or LLC. 

Divorce & Who Gets the Social Security Retirement Benefit Payments?

Many individuals who are contemplating Divorce are at, or near, retirement age and ask the questions whether their own, ex or soon-to-be ex partner's Social Security retirement benefits are considered to be marital property and, therefore subject to equitable distribution. The answer is-it depends. You can contact my Pittsburgh law office for more information.

His tree limbs and shrubs are on my property . . .

Ask a Pennsylvania Attorney what to do...Simply stated, Pennsylvania property law allows a landowner to cut off over-hanging branches of a tree belonging to an adjacent landowner, without regard to the degree of physical harm done to his property. The courts feel that cutting the protruding limbs is an adequate remedy when the branches are "intruding into the landowner's air space" and, therefore, the landowner who cuts the branches will not be subject to liability in the absence of special damages. The caveat here is that this self-help approach applies only to the protruding (offending) branches. In essence, the landowner cannot trespass on a neighbor's property and cut down the tree or cut branches that do not protrude on the landowner's airspace. The landowner may also seek reimbursement of reasonable expense incurred in exercising the self-help remedy. Irrespective of the above law, I highly suggest that you consult a lawyer before resorting to any self-help remedy.

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If you need to speak with an attorney about an important legal matter, contact my law office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation, call 412-455-5388, or contact me by e-mail.

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Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C.

1290 Freeport Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

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