How much will my case cost?
There is no way to predict how much the attorney fees will be for any case. The Attorney charges based on the time she spends on your case. The opposing party in a case may be agreeable and the issues may be resolved fairly quickly. However, a case may be disputed and may involve multiple meetings, letter, court hearings legal research, etc.
How do you handle payments?
We charge an initial consultation fee of $150.00 for a one hour consultation with Attorney Voelcker. If you wish to retain (hire) us, we will require a retainer fee. A retainer fee is an initial down payment on future services. The retainer fee is not a flat fee for your entire case; it is a deposit for the initial work that we anticipate will be performed on your case. We will bill our services against your retainer. When the retainer is used up, we will send you bill for our services. Payment details: We bill monthly and accept payments by cash, check, money order, VISA, Mastercard and American Express. All payments are due within 30 days of the billing date. If a bill is not paid within 30 days, interest will accrue at a rate of 1.5% monthly. We do offer payment plans; please contact our office for more information.
Should I transfer my house to my son or daughter for $1.00?
Transferring any asset to another person for less than fair market value (what the house is worth) can have many repercussions. Despite what you may have heard, it is not a miracle solution to saving your assets. There are certain issues that arise when you want to transfer real estate to your relatives for less than the property’s fair market value. Some of these issues are:Medicaid disqualification,life estate, failure to retain a life estate,death of a transferee, Clean and Green rollback taxes and other taxes in general* and insurance.*Please note that we do not profess to be tax advisors, and any such matters should be discussed at length with a tax professional of your choosing.
How long will a divorce take?
That depends. In Pennsylvania, a mutually agreeable "No-Fault" divorce, once filed, has a 90 day waiting period after which a divorce is granted by the court without a hearing. That's only if all parties agree to everything, 100% right up front. Length is then added for the division of property and determination of alimony. There is no waiting period for “Fault” divorces in Pennsylvania but the process can take anywhere from several weeks to, in rare cases, several years. If one spouse is trying to obtain a divorce due to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, that spouse will have to prove that the couple has been living apart for two years. There are many factors that determine the time it takes for a divorce to be final. Your best bet would be to make an appointment with an attorney experienced in family law to discuss your situation personally.
In a custody case, at what age can the child decide where s/he wants to live?
Eighteen. When a child reaches the age of 18 they are an adult and can decide where they want to live. Prior to that, there is no set age when a child gets to make this decision. In a custody case, the Judge (or Custody Master) can speak with the child – at any age – about the custody situation and the child’s preferences. There are sixteen factors the court must consider when deciding a custody case. One of those factors is “The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment.” In general, the older a child is, the more weight the Judge will give his or her preference. However, equally as important is WHY the child has that preference. If a child wants to live with his Mother because he gets to eat pizza every night and can stay up as late as he wants playing video games – those reasons are not very persuasive.
“I was just served with divorce papers. What do I do?”
When served with divorce papers (or “petition”) contact your lawyer as soon as possible. You do have a right to represent yourself, however, it is not recommended. The law is very complex and even in situations in which the dispute seems simple, it is rarely a good idea to not seek a lawyer’s advice. It's very important that after receiving divorce papers, those papers not be “ignored.” They will not “go away.” By not responding properly to divorce papers, many people have given up valuable rights, or entered into agreements that they could have easily avoided by proper action.
"Am I too young for a will?"
Everyone should have a Will! You do not have to be “old” to make a Will. No one knows when death may occur. By putting in writing your desires for distribution of your property, many problems can be avoided at the time of and after death. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! The way to have your estate disposed of according to your wishes is to have a Will.
“Do you handle criminal law such as accusations of DUI, theft or lewd conduct? "
Criminal Law is not an area of law that we practice, but, if you contact our office, we can recommend a local attorney who can help you.