Two Partners Named Super Lawyers; Two Family Law Attorneys Recognized As 2018 Rising Stars

Two Partners Named Super Lawyers; Two Family Law Attorneys Recognized As 2018 Rising Stars

Two Dischell Bartle Dooley partners have been named Pennsylvania 2018 Super Lawyers and a partner and an associate have been named 2018 Rising Stars.

Frank Bartle, Dischell Bartle Dooley managing partner, is a Super Lawyer for the 10th year in a row. For more than 35 years, he has counseled businesses, individuals, non-profit organizations, municipalities and school districts on labor, land development, litigation, personal injury, real estate and zoning matters. He is recognized as an expert by peers and often is a consultant to other attorneys.

Mark Dischell is a Super Lawyer for the 15th year in a row. Recognized as a leader in family law, Dischell is a litigator with more than 35 years' experience in divorce, support, child custody, property distribution and grandparents' rights. Dischell is known for the long-standing relationships he maintains with the clients and families he assists. He has been named to "Best Lawyers in America" by his peers for 25 years in a row and chairs the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Family Law section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Liz Billies, a partner at the firm, was named a Rising Star for the 9th year in a row. Billies handles all areas of family law, including preparing pre- and post-nuptial agreements, obtaining no-fault and fault divorces and litigating and settling equitable distribution, custody and support matters. Clients value her collaborative and cost-effective approach to legal representation.

Inna Materese, a family law associate, is a 2018 Rising Star for the first time. Materese's focus is helping her clients achieve their individual goals through a collaborative, resourceful, pragmatic and compassionate approach. She handles all areas of family law, including high-asset divorce, complex custody issues, protection from abuse and support matters.

"Our firm has a long tradition of Super Lawyers and I am proud that Mark, Liz and Inna have been recognized for their excellent work," Bartle said. "They know that results matter and are always working to achieve the best outcome for clients."

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.

To be eligible for inclusion on the Rising Stars list, a candidate must be either 40-years-old or younger or in practice for less than 10 years.While up to five percent of the lawyers in Pennsylvania are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list.

Click Here to File for Divorce

Click Here to File for Divorce

By Inna G. Materese | Esquire

These days, you can complete nearly any task from your digital device. Purchase groceries? Done. Print photos? Yep. Design your perfect bedroom and purchase furnishings? Absolutely. Send a payment to a friend for last week's lunch? In seconds. 

File for divorce? In China, you can now do this, as well. 

The Chinese app WeChat, which is used by one billion active users worldwide, rolled out a new function permitting its users to schedule appointments with their local divorce registration office. In addition, the app permits users to enter information regarding themselves and the spouse they intend to divorce and store personal documents. Indeed, WeChat is so widely used across China for a multitude of purposes that in one case a woman was contacted via WeChat during a court proceeding when she failed to appear in court. 

Swipe right to file for divorce? Read more here

FAQ’S: FILING FOR CHILD SUPPORT

FAQ’S: FILING FOR CHILD SUPPORT

By Elizabeth J. Billies | Esquire

1. How do I begin a support action?

In order to initiate a support action, a party must file a Complaint for Support and an Application for Support Services at the appropriate Domestic Relations Office.  Those forms are generally available on the appropriate Domestic Relations Office’s website.   Parties may file a Support Complaint in person or by mail. Make sure to check the website to see if there is a filing fee.  The other party must be served with the Complaint as well as notice of the support conference date. It is best to serve the other party quickly after filing, as they will begin to receive notices from Domestic Relations whether or not they have been served.

2. What happens at the support conference?  

 In all counties, the support action will first be addressed at a Domestic Relations Support Conference before a Domestic Relations Support Conference Officer.  Conferences are scheduled before the Officers (who are not attorneys) approximately four to six weeks after the filing of the Complaint. At this level, the parties may appear with their attorneys or without counsel. The Conference is relatively informal, with the Support Conference Officer reviewing the documents and data submitted by parties.  Counsel and the Officer may also ask relevant questions regarding the income and expenses of the parties and needs of the children, particularly if one party doesn’t bring the information required. 

3. What do I need to bring to the conference?                        

Both parties should bring the following documents, if applicable. Remember, if you don’t bring verification of an expense it may not be considered! Also be sure to bring at least three copies of all documents, one for you, the other side and the officer to review. 

  • Completed Income Statement form which is provided by Domestic Relations with the conference date notice;
  • Most recent federal income tax return with W2's and 1099's;
  • Six months of pay-stubs;
  • Medical insurance documentation;
  • Verification of child care, tuition, and summer camp expenses;
  • Mortgage, real estate taxes and homeowners’ insurance documentation;  
  • Documentation relating to any social security derivative benefits received on behalf of the children and/or;
  • Any other information relating to any deviations being requested (i.e. multi-family deviations or shared custody adjustments).

4.  What happens after the Officer looks at the documents? 

After reviewing all of the information provided, the Officer will enter the data into the PASCES support calculation software and share his/her verbal recommendation with the parties.  The Officers will also generally show the parties their calculations so that the parties can understand how the recommendation was calculated.  The Conference Officers strongly encourage the parties to reach an agreement.

If the parties agree to accept the recommendation, or some other amount is agreed to, the Officer will prepare a Support Order for the parties to sign and the support proceeding is complete.

5. What if we can’t come to an agreement?

If a final agreement cannot be reached, the Officer will enter a temporary Order and the matter will be scheduled for a hearing before a support master or judge, depending on the county. That hearing is generally scheduled before the parties leave the Conference, so be sure to bring your calendar.  The Conference Officer will also provide payment instructions to the obligor and direct deposit information to the obligee at this time.

Dischell Bartle Dooley Sponsors Race Benefitting Special Needs Community

Dischell Bartle Dooley Sponsors Race Benefitting Special Needs Community

Dischell Bartle Dooley is helping bring Ainsley’s Angels Inaugural Yellow Stairway 6K/12K to Montgomery County.

The Lansdale law firm is the presenting sponsor for one of the newest races on the Ainsley’s Angels Race Series circuit. The 6K/12K race is Saturday, May 12. It begins at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Pennbrook Parkway office complex, where Dischell Bartle Dooley is headquartered.

The Ainsley's Angels Race Series travels around the country working to ensure everyone can experience endurance events. What makes this Race Series so unique and special is that it encourages individuals of all abilities to participate—whether on their own feet or with provided racing chariots. Runners can enter an Ainsley's Angels Race Series event on their own or join an Angel Team, which consists of one rider and at least one runner. 

“We are proud to support Ainsley’s Angels works to build awareness of the special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life,” said Dischell Bartle Dooley Managing Partner Frank Bartle.  

“These races are wonderful examples of what can be achieved when we come together as a community and all work together to foster such inclusion; the possibilities are endless,” said Bob Iannozzi Jr., a partner at Dischell Bartle Dooley. 

Dischell Bartle Dooley’s involvement and sponsorship helped make the first Ainsley’s Angels race in Pennsylvania possible.

Ainsley's Angels in Southeast Pennsylvania is thrilled to have Dischell Bartle Dooley be our presenting sponsor of the inaugural Yellow Stairway race," said Ainsley's Angels ambassador Amanda Piccirilli-Hall. "It means so much to us to have a local business support our message of inclusion and truly believe that at the end of the day, everyone should be included in all aspect, especially endurance sports. We can't wait to roll with the wind on May 12."

Registration for the race is open. Volunteers are needed on May 11 during runner packet pick up and on May 12 between 6:30 a.m. and noon. Race day duties include runner registration, water stations and helping athlete riders into chairs. To volunteer, email jennalauren80@hotmail.com

Five Years of Client Satisfaction!

Five Years of Client Satisfaction!

For the fifth year in a row, DBD Family Law attorney Elizabeth J. Billies was honored as one of the 10 best Family Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in Pennsylvania by the American Institute of Family Lawyers. Congratulations Liz!

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A Messy Process Made a Little Messier...

A Messy Process Made a Little Messier...

By Inna G. Materese | Esquire

In December, we touched upon an emerging challenge for family lawyers and litigants alike: crypto-currency. Unfortunately, this new form of asset acquisition continues to be an ephemeral safe-haven for those determined to shield assets in a divorce action and, in the process, makes an already messy divorce process even messier. 

As reported by Bloomberg, not only is crypto-currency volatile, making it difficult to value, but it can be traded with relative anonymity. Crypto-currency holdings that are traded online can be traced and valued with a bit more ease, while holdings that are moved offline (and to a USB) are much more difficult to assess.  

As regulatory agencies grapple with the best method of tracking, disclosing and reporting crypto-currency, it is safe to say that some couples may encounter even more bitterness and frustration in their divorce matter. 

Two Years of Client Satisfaction

Two Years of Client Satisfaction

For the second year in a row, DBD Family Law attorney Inna Materese was honored as one of the 10 best Family Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in Pennsylvania by the American Institute of Family Lawyers. Congratulations Inna!

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KIDS DON’T DECIDE THEIR OWN CUSTODY AND FAULT DOESN’T MATTER

KIDS DON’T DECIDE THEIR OWN CUSTODY AND FAULT DOESN’T MATTER

*This article was written and originally publish by Judy Malmon on SuperLawyers.com and can be found in its original form here.

By Judy Malmon

Divorce is ubiquitous. Many of us know someone who’s been through the process, or have been divorced ourselves. Stories of divorce are on TV, social media, the internet—nearly everywhere you look. Despite this, there remain a surprising amount of misconceptions.

What you think you know about divorce isn’t necessarily true.

Kids Don’t Choose

Lansdale family law attorney Elizabeth Billies, of Dischell Bartle Dooley, says that one of the most common errors she encounters is the belief that children over a certain age (usually 12 or 14) can decide their own custody arrangement. I have so many people that come in and say, ‘My kid can decide where they want to live.’ And I have to tell them, ‘No, that is not what the law says.’”

Pennsylvania custody law outlines 16 factors that go into a judicial determination of custody based on finding what would be in the best interest of the child. Within these factors is one that takes into account a child’s “well-reasoned preference.” But this is only a factor, not dispositive in itself, and is considered in light of their maturity and judgment.

Billies shares a story from early in her career to illustrate the rationale behind this law: “In one memorable case I worked on, the girl was 15 or 16, back when MySpace was popular. The dad lived out of state, and he found evidence in his daughter’s MySpace postings that she was hanging out with guys who were 19 years old and drinking. They showed in the custody trial that mom was trying to act like a friend, not like a parent, and exercising poor judgment. In that case, custody was transferred to dad, and the child had to move. Obviously, that was not the child’s preference, but it was in her best interest, and is an example of why preference can’t rule the day. Because why should a 12 year-old know what’s best for them?”

No Fault Means Exactly That

Another common misconception Billies sees regularly has to do with property distribution under no-fault divorce. “People think if someone cheated on them, abused them, was not good with money, that should really count for something in the division of property. And it just doesn’t.”

In a no-fault divorce there is no examination of the behavior of the parties related to the dissolution of their marriage. “When it comes time to divide up assets, I tell my clients to look at it as a dissolution of a business,” says Billies. “It’s a business transaction. That makes the emotional piece really different.”

Billies recommends working on emotional issues with a therapist or friend, while keeping the legal end of things more practical. This also helps keep the legal bill down, as fighting with your ex through your lawyer can be very costly.

Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, meaning that property between divorcing spouses is not divided evenly in half, but apportioned according to what a judge considers fair in light of factors such as relative income of each spouse, anticipated retirement income of each, duration of the marriage, and other factors deemed relevant (but not fault-related behavior). Assets that were owned prior to the marriage or a gift or inheritance are generally not part of the marital estate.

Prevalent misinformation can leave you with incorrect assumptions about your divorce or custody situation. Talk to an experienced family law attorney to make sure you have the best information and advice.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Consultation

How to Get the Most Out of Your Consultation

By Inna G. Materese | Esquire

Most people don’t visit an attorney’s office happily. After all, why would one need an attorney if everything is going swimmingly? It is therefore understandable that most clients are unsure of how to proceed when scheduling a consultation with a lawyer. However, the solution to your legal question often begins to form at that initial meeting with competent counsel and it is important to get the most out of the first visit. So, how does one get the most out of a legal consultation? So glad you asked.

  1. Choose (your counsel) wisely. Many clients (understandably) shy away from consultation fees and only seek out free consultation. In doing so, they are potentially eliminating the attorney they need. Consultation fee avoidance can cost you big time in the long run. Though you may ultimately choose not to work with the attorney with whom you consult, it is important to ensure that the attorney you’re meeting with takes the time to get to know and understand your specific circumstances. You will likely find that a paid consultation lasts longer and is more in-depth than those offered free of charge. It is quite likely that you will walk out of a paid consultation with an evaluation of your specific case and a strategy for tackling your legal issue. If you shy away from an attorney you believe can aptly handle your matter because he or she charges a consultation fee, you may be shortchanging yourself down the road.
  2. Do your own recognizance. Before you meet with an attorney (or sign a retainer, for that matter), understand whom you are hiring. There are many, many attorneys out there and many, many resources to help you find the right one. Consult the local bar association for active bar members who practice in the field you are looking for. You may wish to consult with an attorney with a certain number of years of practice or certain credentials. This information, as well as attorney disciplinary records is likely available online. Evaluate whether the attorney you are considering has relevant experience, participates in relevant associations, is respected by the legal community, and/or has positive client testimonials.
  3. Get your ducks in a row. Being prepared is the best way to get the most out of your time with an attorney. Know as much as possible about the facts of your situation and identify the things you don’t know. It is often helpful to jot down notes regarding specific timelines, dates, details, and other pertinent descriptions. Compile any and all documents to support your understanding of the situation. For example, if your legal issue involves a dispute over a contract, make sure to have the contract handy at the meeting, as well as any documents evidencing your position. The easier it is for your attorney to assess the situation, the more productive your consultation will be.
  4. Remember that details are essential. Your attorney will likely ask you extremely specific questions about every detail of the issue. They are not doing so to be nosy. Instead, he/she is attempting to truly assess your case. Though it may be frustrating to clients at times, most cases turn on small threads of information and the manner in which the law applies to those very particular circumstances. Include all possible details regarding your issues, even if you may not believe it is relevant or noteworthy. Don’t be afraid to share with the attorney in your consultation. While some information may be personal and/or feel embarrassing, your attorneys needs to know anything that can affect your case to properly advise you and your consultation is confidential.
  5. Facts, Facts, Facts (and more facts). Nothing is a bigger shock to a potential client’s system than to hear an attorney redirect him/her away from their feelings about an issue to more mundane facts. But, remember those details we mentioned above? Your attorney needs as many of them as possible during your meeting. While we always keep in mind that the situation that brought you to our office is sensitive and can be extremely emotional, keeping your focus on the factual circumstances is the best way to get the most bang for your legal buck.
  6. Bring your goals but leave your prejudices at the door. When you meet with an attorney, it is important to have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish, even if it is not quite fleshed out yet. Make sure your attorney is aware of your goals so he/she can advise you appropriately. However, it is equally important to remain flexible, adaptable, and receptive to input. Your consulting attorney may advise you that your goals, in their original form, are not quite feasible or, well, legal. Or, an attorney may advise you that the process for accomplishing your goal may look quite different than what you envisioned. Be open to professional advice. After all, that’s what you’re here for!
  7. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your meeting. While your consulting attorney may wish to explain a certain concept or obtain certain information before answering, it is important that your questions are addressed. Before you leave, address any questions you may have about legal options, fees, retention of your attorney, possibility of success, attorney experience, etc. Doing so allows you to not only evaluate your legal circumstances but also helps you evaluate whether this attorney is the right man or woman for the job.

Keeping these tips in mind when you visit an attorney will help you have a more effective consultation and help you find the best attorney to collaborate with.

DBD Family Law Attorneys Serve in Leadership Roles in 2018

DBD Family Law Attorneys Serve in Leadership Roles in 2018

Elizabeth J. Billies and Inna Materese, DBD Family Law attorneys, are serving in leadership roles in the Family Law Section of the Montgomery County Bar Association for 2018. Ms. Billies is serving as the Chairperson of the Friends of the Court Committee, while Ms. Materese is chairing the Dickman Seminar Committee. 

Both attorneys are also on executive committee of Doris Freed Inn of Court for the 2017-2018 term. Ms. Billies serves as the treasurer of the organization, while Ms. Materese serves as secretary. 

 

The Expanding and Evolving American Family

The Expanding and Evolving American Family

By Inna G. Materese | Esquire

"What do you call, for example, your stepmother’s son’s live-in girlfriend’s 11-year-old son?" inquires Ben Steverman of Bloomberg. This question gets to the heart of a consideration many family law litigants and practitioners may be encountering more and more.

Us family law practitioners are mostly consumed with what occurred during our clients' marriages, what is taking place during the pending litigation, and protecting our clients' future financial prospects. However, though we may wish our clients well and love to receive updates, we don't always know how their families evolve and grow after the completion of their family law matter. 

With many American families reconfiguring through divorce and remarriage, there is no doubt that many families expand in unexpected ways. Perhaps taking the complexities of post-divorce families into consideration is an important part maintaining familiar relationships. 

The New High Tech Trend in Hiding Marital Assets in Divorce

The New High Tech Trend in Hiding Marital Assets in Divorce

By Inna G. Materese | Esquire

It's hard to read or see the news  these days without running into mention of bitcoin, the crypto-currency that has exploded onto the scene and exponentially increased overnight. Even so, most of us are left scratching our heads when it comes to understanding how it all works or what it all means. 

For family law litigants and practitioners, the prospect of a "bitcoin divorce" is even more of a puzzler. Are bitcoin divisible in equitable distribution? If so, are these asset in the nature of currency or personal property or stocks? Are bitcoin transactions traceable and able to be regulated? Perhaps most importantly, can bitcoin and/or other crypto-currency be withdrawn or sold for actual dollars?

There are currently few definitive answers to these questions. However, we are already seeing the impact of the electronic cash system on divorce matters as some appear to be using the currency as a high-tech method of hiding cash

If you or your partner own crypto-currency, consult with an attorney regarding the best way to deal with this new type of asset.