New PA Law Grants Guardianship Rights to Grandparents While Parents Undergo Drug or Alcohol Treatment

New PA Law Grants Guardianship Rights to Grandparents While Parents Undergo Drug or Alcohol Treatment

By Elizabeth J. Billies | Esquire

The opioid epidemic continues to ravage many communities around the country, including those in Pennsylvania.  As a result, many of the Commonwealth's children are being raised by family members and not their parents struggling with addiction.

Those custodial relationships are often informal and not memorialized by any court order. This can be because the parents are reluctant to relinquish legal custody of their children to another without an end date. As such, these family members have difficulty obtaining benefits for these children as they do not have actual legal rights to them, causing financial strain on the family members and denying these children access to medical and education services that they desperately need. 

On October 23, 2018, Governor Wolf signed a bill into law that would assist those family members, particularly grandparents, by allowing them to obtain temporary guardianship (in three month increments) of such children, thus providing them with access to benefits only afforded to those who have actual legal guardianship.  Governor Wolf also signed a second bill which would give these guardians access to kinship benefits which can assist them in providing financial resources and other services. 

Click here for NBC10's coverage of this bill, which includes a link to the legislation.

DBD Sponsors and Supports the Methacton Field Hockey Team in Play 4 Cure Game

DBD Sponsors and Supports the Methacton Field Hockey Team in Play 4 Cure Game

DBD is a proud sponsor of the Methacton Field Hockey Team, who participated in the annual Play 4 the Cure Game on Saturday, October 13, 2018. With the help of DBD, the team surpassed their goal of raising $2,800 by $1,700!

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this worthwhile event.

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DBD Supports LLS's Chester County Light the Night Walk

DBD Supports LLS's Chester County Light the Night Walk

On Saturday, October 13, 2018, DBD partner, Liz Billies and her team, the Running Objections, participated in the Chester County Light the Night Walk to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  The one mile walk, which took place at Wilson Park Farm benefited the Leukemia endeavors to raise research dollars to find cures for Leukemia and other blood cancers.  Liz’s team raised approximately $1,000.00 towards this worthwhile cause.

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Dischell Bartle Dooley Recognized For Client Satisfaction For Estate Planning

Dischell Bartle Dooley Recognized For Client Satisfaction For Estate Planning

The American Institute of Legal Counsel has named Dischell Bartle Dooley one of Pennsylvania’s 10 best law firms for client satisfaction for estate planning.

To receive the recognition, firms must be nominated by clients, a fellow attorney or the Institute and have an impeccable client satisfaction rating. The wills, trusts and estate team at Dischell Bartle Dooley has been assisting individuals and families with all aspects of estate planning for more than 40 years.

The wills, trusts and estates practice, which is led by Dischell Bartle Dooley partner Jack Dooley, favors a straightforward approach to estate planning.

“There is a great deal of misinformation out there,” Dooley said. “We cut through all that and simplify the process for our clients.”

The ABC’s of Social Security Disability

The ABC’s of Social Security Disability

Social Security retirement and disability benefits were created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Social Security Act became law in 1935. The initial intent of the legislation was to create a mandatory retirement and disability insurance program. The program is funded by tax contributions from workers and employers.

Everyone should be aware of their Social Security status. You can quickly get an estimate of your retirement benefits by visiting the Social Security Administration website. Other important information can also be found at the website.

In a very simplistic sense, applying for Social Security Disability benefits is merely asking Social Security to grant you benefits before your retirement age. For many decades, the full-benefit retirement age was set at age 65 with early retirement benefits available at age 62. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age gradually increases until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959.

To receive Social Security Disability benefits, an individual has to be “unable to engage in any substantially gainful activity.” This is Social Security jargon meaning unable to work in any job. The Social Security Administration’s Disability Benefits brochure provides some background on the process.

An applicant needs to have been disabled as a result of a physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months. An average Social Security Disability applicant needs to have a sufficient amount of work credits. The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. An application for disability benefits is most winnable if filed within five years of the last date you actively worked.

The rules for Social Security Disability are very specific. If you are considering applying for benefits, it would be best to first speak with an attorney. Dischell Bartle Dooley partner Jon Young assists individuals with all stages of the Social Security Disability application process and litigation, if that follows.  Jon is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).

Contact Jon at 215-362-2474 or at jyoung@dischellbartle.com for a free consultation. 

Partner Firm Supports Gilbertsville Bike Night

Partner Firm Supports Gilbertsville Bike Night

Bike Night rolls into Gilbertsville on Saturday, August 18. From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., hundreds of motorcycles will be on display in the 10th anniversary of this summer tradition.

Dischell Bartle Dooley's partner firm, E. Kenneth Nyce Law Office, is proud to once again sponsor Bike Night, which benefits emergency services in Douglas Township. Bike Night will feature motorcycles you don’t want to miss, a burnout pit, dozens of vendors, great food and drinks and music.

Bike Night takes place along Philadelphia Pike in Gilbertsville. Visit the Nyce Law Office tent for a chance to win a $100 gift card and to meet the Nyce team.

Saturday, August 18, 2018
4:00 - 10:00 p.m.
1454 E. Philadelphia Avenue
Gilbertsville, PA 19525

~Registration $15
~Bike Show with Trophies
~50/50
~Vendors
~Burnout Pit
~Bike Raffle / 2018 Softail Low Rider or $8,000 cash

Proceeds Benefit Gilbertsville Emergency Services

Proud Community Sponsor

Proud Community Sponsor

Dischell Bartle Dooley is proud to sponsor the annual Indian Valley Beer Fest on July 28.

The event will be held at the Indian Valley Public Library at 100 E. Church Ave. in Telford from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It promises to be a fun evening with yard games, food and, of course, craft beer. Be sure to stop and say hello to the Dischell Bartle Dooley team and enter to win a $100 gift card.

Click here to learn more and purchase tickets

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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