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Family Law & Estate Planning Services

Experienced Family Lawyer in West Chester, PA

Since 1977, The Altman Law Firm has provided family law services in West Chester, PA and surrounding communities in Chester County. Family law cases can mark some of the most important transitions in your life--as well as the most stressful and challenging. We work diligently to take a calm, amicable, and professional approach to family law matters. Our goal is to help our clients reach friendly agreements and remain on a friendly basis. The long-term health of your family is important to us, so we focus on providing you and your loved ones with the tools you need to improve your wellbeing and stability.

Our head attorney and support staff have decades of experience working on complex family law issues. Together with you, we will determine your unique needs and goals and put our comprehensive knowledge of the process to work for you. In addition to family law matters, we also represent clients for criminal defense, personal injury, and juvenile law cases.

The team at The Altman Law Firm is prepared to work on family law cases involving:

A divorce can be an emotionally financially taxing experience. It is important to have a divorce attorney with your best interests at heart. With The Altman Law Firm, you can count on receiving personalized service. Our head attorney has gone through a divorce and has represented himself, so he has a firsthand appreciation of the difficulty of the process and the issues that arise. Our team will take the time to explain Pennsylvania divorce law and how it applies to your individual case.

We recognize that every divorce is unique and presents and different set of challenges. Working together with you, we will address all issues related to your case, including spousal support, property division, and alimony. We make it our goal to help you truly understand the your options and will work with you to help you get the results you want.

Pursuing guardianship is an alternative to adoption for some individuals or families. If a parent is unable to do so for a period of time guardianship allows an adult to care for a minor and make decisions regarding their welfare. In some cases, guardianship may be appropriate when a parent becomes ill, leaves the home, or is incapacitated. Guardianship can be limited to a specific amount of time. Unlike an adoption, guardianship provides an opportunity for a parent to appoint an individual to make legal decisions for their child but not lose their parental rights.

While every child has a biological father, not every child necessarily has a legal father. Until paternity is established, a child does not have a legal father. If parents are married to each other at the time of a child’s birth, paternity is automatically established. For unmarried parents, paternity may be established at the time of birth or any time thereafter, by both parents signing a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity.” Only after this form is signed by both parties can a father’s name be listed on the child’s birth certificate. In other cases, a Petition to Determine Paternity may be filed if a father wants custody or visitation rights.
Together with you, our team can help you establish your right as a child’s legal father or help you pursue child support or other benefits for your child.

As a parent, we know you want what is best for your child. A child custody case can be one the most daunting issues you may encounter as a parent. It can be an overwhelming experience and is one of most emotionally charged legal issues. It takes an experienced lawyer to guide you and provide you with the support and representation you deserve. Our team is committed to helping our clients realistically develop a parenting plan, work out the details of sharing time, and help you successfully maneuver the custody arena.

Pennsylvania law prohibits a parent or custodian from moving a child to a new location with giving the other parent the opportunity to weigh in on the decision. In other words, an individual cannot simply move with their child. Whether you are attempting to move with your child or object to your child moving, you deserve representation from an experienced family law attorney. Our team will provide you with skilled and compassionate representation and help you resolve complex custody matters.

Alimony is support paid by one spouse to the other spouse, based on one spouse’s need and the ability of the other spouse to pay. This is designed to help the spouse earning less to maintain the standard of living as it was before the divorce or separation. Our attorneys will take the time to examine both parties’ incomes and expenses, and determine which avenue is best to help you obtain an income stream. Under Pennsylvania law, there are three types of support paid to spouses: Alimony Pendente Lite, Alimony, and Spousal Support.

Under Pennsylvania Law, a Protection for Abuse Order (PFA) provides victims of abuse with legal protection. A PFA can protect you from and abusive domestic partner or abusive spouse in a variety of ways. This includes limiting the amount of contact the abuser has with you, your family members, or minor child. A PFA can also remove the abuser from your home and exclude them from our place of business.
In addition, the abuser may be ordered turn over any weapons or firearms, and pay an expenses resulting from the abuse, which can include damage to your property, medical care, and loss of earnings.

If you are not receiving the child support payments you are entitled to from the noncustodial parent or if you are not allowed access to your children, per the terms of your parenting plan, you have the right to seek an enforcement action through the courts.
Child support enforcement should not be done informally. Enforcing child support payments is something you do for your child's benefit, not your own. Even if the parent paying child support is having financial problems, it is best to petition the courts to adjudicate a formal modification order, rather than having a verbal or informal agreement with the payor parent. We can help you modify a plan that works for all parties.

Estate Planning Services

Without an estate plan in place, your family’s financial future may be vulnerable. It can be a difficult process determining how your home, financial assets, and possessions should be divided after you pass. Taking the time to plan your estate ensures your wishes are carried out. Together, you and your attorney will design a strategy that protects your family’s interests.

A last will and testament is a legal document that insures your wishes are carried out after your death. It appoints guardians for your minor children and controls the division of your individually owned assets. An executor is nominated in your will to manage the distribution of your assets according to your will. The Executor will work alongside our attorneys to administer your estate in accordance with Pennsylvania Law. If you die without a will or trust, the commonwealth will dictate who inherits your money. A will ensures your individually owned assets go to the individuals you want.

A trust provides you with a way to manage your assets while you are alive and can be revocable or irrevocable. A trust requires the appointment of a trustee, which can be you, the settlor, or another trusted individual or institution. A trust can provide a means to avoid probate after you die. While your will determines where your assets go after you die, a trust controls how those assets are handled and distributed. Together with you, our attorneys will determine which plan best fits your family’s situation. Common types of trusts are: Irrevocable Trusts, Revocable Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, and Charitable Trusts.

A power of attorney allows you to designate an organization or person to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so. While it is not necessary to meet with an attorney to establish power of attorney, it is wise to consult one to provide advice and counsel on your situation. Our team will work with you the establish the appropriate power of attorney for your affairs.

A living will helps your document your wishes concerning medical care at the end of your life. A healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney gives the chosen agents the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are become mentally incompetent, unconscious or are unable to do so on your own.
Together with you, we can guide you through choosing a medical power of attorney and answer any questions you may have about the process.

For over four decades, The Altman Law Firm has provided a range of estate planning and family law services in West Chester, PA. Our team is proud to serve clients throughout Chester County communities. Our staff and attorneys work hard to present clients with a welcoming environment. We will get to know your needs and are proud to be the law firm of choice for a variety of matters including: criminal defense, juvenile law, estate planning, student loans and family law.
To schedule your free, initial consultation about our family law or estate planning services, please contact the Altman Law Firm today at 610.436.4040.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.