PA's New "Clean Slate Law" Makes Sealing Of Criminal Records Possible

PA's New "Clean Slate Law" Makes Sealing Of Criminal Records Possible

While expungement is still available to those seeking to completely remove certain offenses from their record, Pennsylvania now has a new and broader law that provides for the sealing of eligible criminal records.
 
The state’s “Clean Slate Law” went into effect in December. The law allows residents of Pennsylvania with non-violent misdemeanor records to have those records sealed if they have stayed out of trouble for 10 years and paid all fine.
 
Sealing will occur automatically between June of this year and June of next year for some cases. In other situations, a petition must be filed with the court. Dischell Bartle Dooley attorneys can assist with the filing of a petition before automatic sealing starts. Our attorneys can also help you with a petition to have a criminal record expunged. 
 
Why is it a good idea to seal your record?  Criminal records are widely used on a day-to-day basis, for example, by employers seeking to hire or landlords making a determination of which tenant they would like in their property.  Sealing your record gives you an opportunity to move forward from past mistakes.
 
If you are interested in sealing or expunging a record, call our attorneys at 215-362-2474 or click here to email our office.

Parenting Coordination Returns To Family Law

Parenting Coordination Returns To Family Law

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in August issued new rules for Parenting Coordination. Effective March 1, Parenting Coordination will again be a part of Family Law. It was eliminated by a Court ruling in 2013.

The new rules state that a “Parenting coordinator shall attempt to resolve issues arising out of the custody order by facilitating an agreement between the parties and, if unable to reach an agreement, recommend a resolution to the court.”  

The Parenting Coordinator does not determine major issues such as who obtains physical custody or a parent’s relocation, but rather the nettlesome issues such as places and conditions for transitions, the child’s participation in recreation, childcare arrangements, clothing, and many more mundane issues that trouble parents and custodians.
 
“Parenting Coordination is a very good thing for clients, lawyers, the courts and, most importantly, the children of the Commonwealth,” said Dischell Bartle Dooley attorney Mark Dischell.
 
After a final custody order has been entered, a judge may appoint a parenting coordinator to resolve parenting issues in cases involving repeated or intractable conflict between the parties affecting implementation of the final custody order, according to the Court’s rules. A parenting coordinator should not be appointed in every case. The appointment may be made on the motion of a party or the Court’s motion, the rules state.
 
A Parenting Coordinator must be licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as either an attorney or mental health professional with a Master’s degree or higher, according to the Court’s rules.  
 
A Parenting Coordinator can be helpful when the parties in a custody dispute have difficulty reaching an agreement, Dischell said.
 
“There are times when the parties in custody litigation can’t emotionally or financially continue with a process in the courts,” Dischell explained. “Parenting Coordination is an important option in those situations.”
 
For more information on Parenting Coordination, call Mark Dischell at 215-362-2474 or click here to email him.

 

 The Benefits Of A Prenuptial Agreement In The Headlines

The Benefits Of A Prenuptial Agreement In The Headlines

As you may have heard, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and his wife Mackenzie, have separated and are intending to divorce. 

Unfortunately for Jeff, he and his wife did not have a prenuptial agreement.  Therefore, if they are unable to agree, they will have to go to court to divide up their fortune of approximately $136,000,000,000. 

However, prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy.  Any parties contemplating marriage should also contemplate whether they would like to enter into a prenuptial agreement.  Many parties are already doing so, as legal professionals have seen a rise in prenuptial agreements in recent years.

However, not all prenuptial agreement are created equal.  If a prenuptial is not prepared correctly, it could be declared null and void and result in court proceedings.  Click here for a recent article from CNBC regarding prenuptial agreements and the pitfalls to avoid. 

Should you be contemplating marriage and are interested in learning more about prenuptial agreements, or if you are already married and are interested in entering into a postnuptial agreement, which can set forth how your property is divided in the event of a divorce, contact one of Dischell Bartle Dooley's experienced family law attorneys by calling 215-362-2474 or click here to email.

 

Dischell Bartle Dooley Adds Four Attorneys To Its Team

Dischell Bartle Dooley Adds Four Attorneys To Its Team

Dischell Bartle Dooley has added four attorneys with a combined 115 years’ of experience.

The lawyers joining the firm are Jessica L. Torres, Robert G. Rosen, George E. Saba Jr. and Theodore A. Schwartz. 

“We know results matter to our clients,” said Dischell Bartle Dooley Managing Partner Frank Bartle. “The addition of these four attorneys broadens our expertise so we can continue to provide the best counsel.”

Torres, an associate, most recently was a law clerk for the Honorable Carolyn H. Nichols of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. She also clerked for the Honorable H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. She has a J.D. from Widener University and a double B.S. from the University of Puerto Rico.

Rosen will be of counsel to the firm. He has been at attorney with the Office of Robert G. Rosen in Lansdale since 1980. He has deep roots in the North Penn area. He was a member of the board of directors and the board secretary of the former North Penn Chamber of Commerce, now the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Montgomery County, from 1982 until his retirement in 2014. He was also a member of the Montgomery Township Planning Commission for 10 years. He served in the U.S. Army, retiring as a captain. He has a J.D. and a B.B.A. from Temple University.

Saba will also be “of counsel” to the firm. For his entire legal career of almost 34 years, Saba has handled trial work including large exposure personal injury cases, commercial and construction losses as well as professional liability and insurance lawsuits.  He is Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in both Trial and Pretrial Advocacy.  He is the past president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” 14 times. 

Schwartz enjoyed a 47-year career representing seriously and catastrophically injured individuals in Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Automobile Litigation.  He is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association (now the Pennsylvania Association for Justice), where he also lectured and authored a publication dealing with Pennsylvania Practice and Procedure for 28 years. He is also a Past Governor of the American Association for Justice, and has taken many leadership positions in the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association.

The addition of Torres, Rosen, Saba and Schwartz gives Dischell Bartle Dooley 17 attorneys. The firm assists clients with personal injury, workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, real estate law, land development, zoning, family law, wills, trusts and estates, employment law, civil litigation, business law, municipal law, education law and criminal law matters.

Liz Billies Authors Book Chapter

Liz Billies Authors Book Chapter

Family law attorney Liz Billies has written a chapter for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s upcoming book on “Child and Spousal Support.” Liz’s chapter is on child support adjustments to basic obligations. The book will be available this spring. Liz is an experienced family law attorney with expertise in divorce, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, equitable distribution and custody and support matters.  She has been honored as one of the “10 Best Family Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in Pennsylvania” by the American Institute of Family Lawyers for five consecutive years.  

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