Friday, June 22, 2018


Divorce vs. Legal Separation in PATaking the necessary steps to legally dissolve a marriage is often a challenging process. A competent, compassionate divorce attorney will not only advise you on separation and how to file for divorce, he or she will look out for your best interests and be there to support you through the process every step of the way.

Separation in Pennsylvania

So how long does it take for legal separation?  The answer to this question is complicated, as there is no concept of legal separation under Pennsylvania law. According to Pennsylvania Divorce Code, separation begins when you stop living together as spouses. Whether you are living in separate households is irrelevant; separation simply means that you are no longer partners and are leading separate lives. After one year, separation becomes a no-fault ground for divorce, even if one spouse is not in agreement.
Although you are not required to go to court to gain formal approval for separation, having a separation agreement in place is vital to address the division of martial assets and debts, child custody & support, medical insurance issues, estate matters, and how finances are to be handled during the separation period.


In Pennsylvania, your divorce may be based on either fault or no-fault grounds. First, you must file a divorce complaint with the Court of Common Pleas. Your complaint should outline your eligibility for divorce in Pennsylvania and the reason for divorce, along with any other matters you want the court to decide. These documents must be served on the other party within 30 days of the date they were filed.
An uncontested divorce by mutual consent (no-fault) means that you both give sworn statements declaring that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If you are in agreement on the terms of your divorce, it is essential to have an attorney draft a divorce settlement agreement, which outlines the terms of the rights and responsibilities of each party and division of property, assets and debts.
You may file for fault-based divorce if you can prove that your spouse:
  • Has acted in a way that made your life unbearable or extremely difficult
  • Abandoned you without a reasonable cause for a period of one or more years
  • Committed adultery, bigamy or domestic violence
  • Has been imprisoned for two or more years
If you are facing separation or divorce, seeking the counsel of an experienced family law attorney is vital to ensure your rights are protected. Whether you need an affordable divorce lawyer to draft a separation agreement or represent you in a contentious at-fault divorce case, our knowledgeable divorce attorneys in West Chester, Carosella & Associates can help.

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Monday, June 11, 2018


Can you continue Operating your Business after filing for Bankruptcy?
Deciding whether or not to file bankruptcy is a daunting decision, but it’s important to remember that bankruptcy laws were written with businesses and entrepreneurs in mind. Filing bankruptcy does not mean automatic dissolution of your business—some types provide protections that often allow companies to continue operations after bankruptcy and discharge. Many large companies such as airlines and auto manufacturers have benefited from strategically filing for bankruptcy, as it allows them to clear up debt and restructure their business, which can lead to more efficient and profitable operations.
Regardless of whether you are thinking of filing personal or business bankruptcy, it is vital to consult experienced bankruptcy lawyers who will help you devise an effective plan to protect your assets and business.

How Different Types of Bankruptcies May Affect Your Business

How and when your business files for bankruptcy will impact its future viability and financial stability. There are several types of bankruptcy you can file, and each has its drawbacks and benefits. Before you file any type of bankruptcy, it is essential to engage the counsel of a knowledgeable business lawyer who can assess your financial situation and advise you on solutions that will be most beneficial to you.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a court-appointed trustee who sells your assets and pays creditors on your behalf. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, whether you can continue operating your business depends on its structure. If you are a sole proprietor, Chapter 7 may work well to keep your business operational. If your business is a separate legal entity, such as a corporation or LLC, you must file a bankruptcy on behalf of the business. Chapter 7 may be an efficient way to liquidate these types of business structures, but it means that your company will not continue to operate in its current form.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization option that is only available to businesses owned and operated by sole proprietors. In Chapter 13, your business keeps its assets and repays creditors through a repayment plan. There are debt limits that apply in Chapter 13, but certain strategies can help you get your debts below limits before you file. As a sole proprietor, you can include both personal and business debts in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy also allows your business to keep its assets and repay creditors through a repayment plan. It can be complex and arduous, but Chapter 11 is the only bankruptcy option that allows partnerships, LLCs, or corporations to reorganize and continue operations. Chapter 11 is also an option for sole proprietors who want to restructure and stay in business but owe too much to meet the eligibility requirements for Chapter 13.
If you are concerned about whether or not bankruptcy is the right option to preserve your business, our experienced West Chester bankruptcy lawyers at Carosella & Associates can provide the guidance you need to get your business back on track.

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Monday, June 4, 2018


Do you Need a Lawyer to Write up your Will?Regardless of whether you have considerable assets, making sure you have a will in the event of your death is essential to ensure that your wishes are properly carried out after your passing. There are many sites on the internet that claim you can create your own will for little or no cost. However, seeking the services of lawyers who deal with wills ensures that all your legal bases are covered.

DIY Will or Lawyer?

There are many important things to consider when preparing a will. Although a will is not legally required in Pennsylvania, a valid last will and testament can help your estate navigate the probate process more easily. Without a will, laws of intestacy (state laws) determine the distribution of an estate’s assets, which can lead to family conflict and a long, drawn out process.  Unfortunately, if you are not well-versed in how probate works if you write your own will you may end up making the process more challenging for your loved ones. Probate and estate lawyers know the ins and outs of this court-supervised process, and can assist you with not only creating a proper will, but also help your family when the time comes to distribute your estate.

Some issues that can arise if you choose to forego estate planning and prepare your will without the assistance of a qualified attorney include:

If you become incapacitated, your loved ones may not be aware of your wishes. Powers of attorney, living wills, and advance directives are vital legal documents that ensure your finances, health care and end-of-life decisions will be handled according to your desires. An experienced estate planning attorney will take into account all of your wishes and put them on paper, so there is no ambiguity if you need someone else to make these decisions for you. Having these important documents in place will also make a difficult time easier for your loved ones.
You may not be aware that certain types of trusts can keep some of your assets from having to go through probate, cut court costs, save time and help your family avoid paying some types of inheritance taxes. This is just one reason why seeking the services of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney is so important.
If you want to include a testamentary trust in your will, you may create the trust incorrectly and end up causing more headaches for your loved ones down the road. Having an independent third party who understands the complexities of estate planning review your financial and family circumstances will ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected and that your estate is distributed in as efficient a manner as possible.
The experienced attorneys at Carosella and Associates take your entire estate and family situation into account, and can help you create an effective will and personalized estate plan that fits your needs. For top-notch estate planning services in West Chester, PA contact us today.

This blog was originally posted

Sunday, May 20, 2018


How to choose a business entity
Before starting a business, it is vital to carefully choose which form of business entity you want to establish. There are many factors to take into consideration, including the type of business, what your day-to-day operations will involve, the level of personal risk and tax liability, to name a few. Seeking the counsel of an experienced corporate business attorney to advise you on the options that are available to you, help you choose wisely and assist you in setting up your business entity can make the process much easier and ensure that you strike the right balance between the benefits and legal protections different entities offer.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Business Entity

Considering federal, state and local legal and tax considerations when you form a business entity is essential. The type of entity you choose affects –
  • your personal liability,
  • your capacity to raise capital for your company,
  • the amount you will pay in taxes, and
  • the type of paperwork you must file to create and maintain your business entity.
You should decide on a business entity before you register your business with the state. A small business legal advisor who is well-versed in the laws and regulations surrounding the formation of business entities in Pennsylvania can provide invaluable guidance that will protect your rights and ensure you choose an entity that meets your unique needs. Once you have chosen a business entity, he or she can help you obtain a federal tax ID number, assist you with registering a business in PA, and file all other required paperwork. Failing to properly register your business can result in serious tax consequences, unintended dissolution and other problems down the road.

There many different factors that should be taken into account before you choose your business entity:

  1. The degree of control-How much control do you want to have when it comes to investing, day-to-day operations and other business-related issues? The size, financing needs, complexity of the business and other issues should be taken into account when thinking about the degree of control you want to have over your business.
  2. The cost of a business entity-How much will your chosen business entity cost to establish? It’s important to be aware of government fees, regulatory costs and other fiduciary concerns.
  3. Your ability to raise capital-How will you raise money for your business? The ways you can raise cash for your business vary depending on the type of entity you choose.
  4. Personal liability– Which entity will best help you avoid personal liability? Some forms of ownership provide protection from personal liability for business owners.
  5. Federal, state and local taxation-What are the tax advantages and disadvantages of each business entity? The size and type of the business play an important role in this decision. It’s also important to keep business succession plans in mind.
  6. Profit division– How will you divide the profits generated by your business? There are several different ways to divide profits that can also have an effect on your ability to raise capital.
  7. Business succession planning-How do you plan to continue or pass on your business when you retire or if a sudden illness, injury or death should occur? Do you want to transfer business ownership to a family member or someone else? The type of business entity you choose can have a significant impact on these intentions being carried out according to plan.

Types of Business Entities in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, there are a few types of business entities to choose from, including:
  • Sole Proprietorships
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
Sole Proprietorships
A sole proprietorship is owned by one individual and gives that person total control of his or her business. A sole proprietor is also entitled to all profits from the business. While it does present a few advantages, sole proprietorship is typically unsuitable for a business that needs outside sources of capital for rapid growth.
Complete control of your business and profits can come with a cost. As a sole proprietor, you will be personally liable for all facets of the business, including creditor claims, damages from lawsuits and paying all taxes owed by the business.  If you have substantial personal assets, sole proprietorship is most likely not the best option for your business entity.
Federal taxes due are paid through the owner’s personal income tax return, and are subject to federal self-employment tax, which varies depending on your income.  In Pennsylvania, sole proprietors must pay state income tax and local wage taxes on income from the business as well.
If a sole proprietor wants to sell a business, potential buyers may not want to pay as much as they would for a business entity such as a corporation, particularly when a business has built a good name for itself over time. Having an effective business exit strategy in place at the very beginning can help you decide how you would want to sell your business when it’s time. Family business transition planning can also help you decide how you will handle passing your business assets on to your loved ones in the event of your death.
In Pennsylvania, the profit and losses from a partnership pass directly into the partners’ personal incomes. Depending on the type of partnership, you may be fully personally liable for your business’s debts. Some partnerships offer limited liability, which can protect your assets from certain kinds of debt.
General Partnership (GP)
General partnerships are a fairly simple business entity, but do not offer liability protection. All earnings, losses, and various business expenses are included in a GP partner’s personal income.
Limited Partnership (LP)
Limited partnerships work well for companies that need capital without added executive complications. LPs include limited partners, who invest in the company but do not have any managerial involvement. They are not liable for the company’s debts beyond their capital investment. Just like with general partnerships, they pay taxes on their income on personal returns.
Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP)
Business owners who want to limit their personal liability, raise capital, and retain direct control over their business may create limited liability limited partnerships. LLLPs offer liability protection to limited partners for any business debts outside their investment. General partners enjoy protection from certain types of business debts.
business contract attorney can help you choose which type of partnership is best for you and create an effective small business partnership agreement to ensure that all of your legal bases are covered.
There are a few different types of corporations, but they are all business entities that are separate from their owners. Corporations can make a profit, be taxed, and can be held legally liable. Regular C corporations are typically a good choice for medium- or higher-risk businesses, those that need to raise money, and businesses that plan to “go public” or eventually be sold. Corporations have an advantage when it comes to raising capital because they can raise funds through the sale of stock, which can also be a benefit in attracting employees. When forming a corporation, your business attorney can help you come up with business succession planning strategies that address issues surrounding the sale or transfer of your business.
Corporations pay income tax on their profits. In some cases, profits are taxed twice — first, when the company turns a profit, and again when shareholders claim dividends on their personal tax returns. Corporations offer the strongest protection from personal liability, but the cost to form a corporation is higher than other business entities.
S corporations are designed to avoid this type of double taxation. S corporations allow profit, and some losses, to be passed directly to the owners’ personal income without being subject to corporate tax rates. They must file with the IRS to get S corporation status, which is a different process from registering with the state. Special limits are placed on S corporations and strict filing and operational processes must be followed.
Often called 501(c)(3)s, nonprofit corporations are formed to serve charitable, educational or religious purposes. Because their work benefits the public, nonprofits may receive tax-exempt status. Nonprofits must file with the IRS to get tax exemption and follow stringent rules about what they do with any profits they earn.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC lets you take advantage of the benefits of both the corporation and partnership, and protects you from personal liability in most cases.
An LLC allows you to avoid paying corporate taxes, and profits and losses can be passed through your personal income. However, owners of an LLC must pay self-employment tax contributions toward Medicare and Social Security. Medium- or higher-risk businesses, owners with significant personal assets, and those who wish to avoid paying corporate taxes can benefit from choosing an LLC.
The experienced business and contracts attorneys at Carosella & Associates provide legal help for small businesses in Chester County. We offer the exceptional legal counsel and support you need throughout the process of forming a business entity so you can focus on creating a successful, thriving business.

This blog was originally posted at

Monday, April 30, 2018


From doing time in prison, to time paying costly fines, a felony conviction can have damaging consequences. Having an experienced local criminal lawyers  in your corner is essential to protecting your rights and helping you work toward the best possible outcome in your case.


Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to criminal charges that have serious repercussions for you and your family. Depending on the type of charges you are facing, you may incur thousands of dollars in fees, a felony conviction and prison time. The Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles may also take administrative action against you, which can include license suspension or revocation, costly fees, and mandatory drug & alcohol treatment and education.
Pennsylvania DUI laws are complex, and hiring criminal lawyers who specialize in DUI/DWI defense is essential to make sure you get the most effective legal representation for your case. Carosella Attorneys are well-versed in issues of enforcement and judicial procedures, sobriety tests and other factors that may affect your charges. Can mean the difference between doing jail time and having charges reduced or dismissed.

Traffic Tickets

Many people think that getting a traffic ticket comes with minimal consequences, but driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, and offenses such as failing to stop for a school bus with red flashing lights can have more serious repercussions than you may think.  When you pay a traffic ticket you are admitting to violating a traffic offense and any related penalties. Our knowledgeable traffic ticket attorney can advise you on how to take steps to contest a traffic ticket and help you avoid hefty fines, points on your driver’s license, revocation of your license and additional penalties.

Domestic Abuse

Unfortunately, domestic violence is a common problem that includes a wide variety of different charges such as threats of violence, assault, battery, child abuse, elder abuse, and stalking. The penalties for domestic abuse can vary widely depending on the physical and emotional harm inflicted criminal history of the accused, age of the victim and other factors.
Whether you are a victim and need to file a Protection from Abuse petition or have been charged with domestic abuse, we are familiar with the local criminal courts and can provide the representation you need to ensure your rights are protected. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides help for victims of domestic violence at 1-800-799-7233.

Felony Charges

If you have been charged with a felony, it is essential to engage the counsel of a skilled criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in representing and advocating for clients in the criminal court. Depending on the charges, the complex jury trial process can take several months to more than a year. Having an experienced attorney in your corner who will create a well-developed defense can help you work toward the best possible outcome in your case.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, our experienced Chester County criminal defense lawyer at Carosella & Associates can help you understand your rights and ensure that your interests are protected.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


How to Back out of a Real Estate Contract the Right WayWhether you are buying or selling property, sometimes real estate deals just don’t work out. Although most real estate purchase and sale agreements drafted by real estate attorneys contain provisions that legally allow you to terminate a deal based on certain contingencies, breaking a contract must often be done delicately. These tips for terminating a real estate contract the right way can help you avoid hard feelings between buyer and seller and make the process much less stressful.
1. Hire a real estate lawyer. Before you even begin the process of buying or selling property, seeking the counsel of an experienced real estate lawyer in PA is vital. Having an attorney in your corner who will properly draft contracts and advise you on the best course of action regarding your real estate transaction is an invaluable resource and will ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
2. If you’re a buyer, know your options regarding termination of the contract. Real estate purchase and sale agreements include contingencies for procuring financing; clean home inspections, and disclosure of any existing problems with the property. If a buyer fails to get a mortgage secured by the date specified in the agreement; the home inspection shows that serious repairs are needed, or if it is revealed that the seller didn’t disclose major issues with the property, a prospective buyer can usually terminate the purchase agreement without a problem. If all contingencies have been met and the buyer terminates the purchase agreement, the seller may be able to keep the buyer’s earnest money deposit.
3. Include a “kick-out” clause.  Adding this type of clause to a real estate purchase and sale agreement protects both the buyer and seller. If buyers need to sell their current home before purchasing another, the “kick-out” clause allows the seller to keep showing his or her home while the buyer’s home is for sale. If the seller receives another offer, the sale and purchase agreement can be terminated. Conversely, if a seller needs to find a new home and is unable to do so in a specified amount of time, the contract can be terminated. Contact a skilled contracts lawyer near you who understands the ins and outs of drafting a solid sales agreement.
4. Understand grounds for termination as the seller. The importance of having an experienced real estate attorney include stipulations that provide outs for the seller cannot be understated. Ideally, in a real estate sale and purchase agreement a seller has agreed to the price that has been offered and has accepted the terms and contingencies specified by the buyer; so it can often be more difficult for a seller to terminate a purchase and sale agreement gracefully and without repercussions.
5. If you need to back out, do so promptly. If you need to terminate a real estate deal, let the other party know as soon as possible. Backing out too late in the game can be considered breach of contract and lead to costly litigation and other problems.
Our West Chester real estate lawyers at Carosella & Associates can provide the experienced counsel you need to effectively bow out of a real estate contract.

This blog was originally posted at

Monday, April 9, 2018


Non Compete Agreements - Things You Should Watch Out For | CarosellaIn today’s ever-changing business landscape, there is growing pressure on employees to sign non-compete agreements. More and more businesses are enforcing these types of agreements, even for non-corporate jobs such as dog trainers or yoga instructors. If you are looking for a new job or your current employer is requiring you to sign a non-compete agreement, seeking the counsel of experienced contracts lawyers can ensure that your interests are protected.

What is a non-compete agreement?

Sometimes called a covenant not to compete, a non-compete agreement is a contract in which an employee agrees not to open a competing business or work for a competitor for a specific period of time in a defined area after his or her employment ends. There are different scenarios in which you may be asked to sign a non-compete agreement, including: before you start a new job, when you are offered a raise or promotion, and before getting severance pay if you quit or are fired.
There are a few important things to keep in mind before signing any non-compete agreement, and a skilled non-compete lawyer can help you determine whether or not the terms of the contract are in your best interest.
Non-Compete Terminology
General non-compete agreements or covenants not to compete typically cover the following three aspects in the contract:
Standard non-compete agreements prohibit employees from working for competing businesses within a specific period of time in a demarcated geographical area.
Non-solicitation agreements prohibit employees from poaching customers, coworkers and/or vendors of the former employer.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) forbid employees from using or sharing information that the former employer wants to keep confidential, and may include product design, advertising strategies, mailing lists and other proprietary information.

Is your non-compete agreement reasonable?

Although employers have a right to protect their businesses, non-compete agreements can go too far and impede your ability to make a living if you decide to leave the company. Courts will not honor provisions that they deem “unreasonable; and when it comes to negotiating a non-compete agreement, there are a few specifics that should be closely examined before you sign.
The Specified time period. Depending on the type of work you do, the time period in which you’re bound to honor the agreement can vary. Courts may consider six months for a dog trainer reasonable, but five years could be considered appropriate for a CEO.
The non-compete area. A 20-mile radius might be reasonable for a hairstylist, but if you’re a sales manager, the prohibited geographical area could cover a few states.
The impact on your livelihood. Make sure to consider whether or not the agreement will force you to relocate or impede your ability to make a living. Some courts weigh in on this, but there is no guarantee that a judge will rule in your favor.
It may be tempting to sign a non-compete agreement on the spot, but jumping the gun can have grave consequences down the road. Take the contract to experienced business lawyers for review. Our West Chester business attorneys at Carosella & Associates will make sure everything is in order and help to ensure that your interests are protected.

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