Archive for the ‘Family Law’ Category

Court Enforces Intent of Marriage Settlement Agreement

A recent case decided by the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas demonstrates the ingenuity, even if ineffective, with which some litigants attempt to discharge their duties under Marriage Settlement Agreements (MSA). (more…)

Do Fathers Have Child Custody Rights Before the Birth of the Child?

A New Jersey Court recently tackled an issue which arises sometimes early on in custody cases.  A presumed father wanted to be present for the birth of his child.  The mother said no, and the court ruled in her favor in the first case of its kind to be litigated in the United States. The court focused on the privacy rights of women which have been recognized in Supreme Court cases involving a woman’s right to choose. (more…)

Relocation and its Impact on Existing Custody Orders

The Court’s procedure in relocation of a parent with some custody of a minor child has been codified at 23 Pa.C.S.A. 5337(h): (more…)

What Factors must a Court Address in Determining the Modification of a Custody Arrangement?

The Pennsylvania Legislature has adopted an enumerated list of sixteen factors to decide issues of custody in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  23 Pa.C.S.A. 5328.  (more…)

How Can a Party Protect Him or Herself in a Relationship not Recognized by the State

A question as to how parties who are not married in the eyes of the state but who have a committed relationship to each other can protect their status has been much discussed because of the focus on the rights of same sex marriage. (more…)

When Must One Spouse Support the Other Spouse in a Divorce in Pennsylvania?

Alimony, spousal support and alimony pendente lite are three separate though similar and sometimes confused concepts which can result in one spouse in Pennsylvania having to pay support to the other spouse.  (more…)

In Pennsylvania what are the Grounds for Divorce?

Pennsylvania has both “fault” grounds for divorce and “no fault” grounds for divorce.  In either case, the spouse initiating the divorce must file a complaint, suing the other spouse, to commence the action.  In a “no fault” divorce, the law does not require blame or alleged misconduct on either party, but does require that the marriage be “irretrievably broken”. (more…)

When can a Man who has not Fathered or Adopted a Child be Required to Support the Child?

It might not seem fair to some, but Pennsylvania has long recognized that a man who holds himself out as the father of a minor child for a substantial period of time may be estopped or foreclosed from denying paternity, even where forensic or scientific evidence proves beyond any doubt that the man is not, in fact, the biological father.  It might seem that the mother or other guardian or custodian of the child in being allowed to extract revenue from someone not the father and, particularly, if it is an unfaithful wife, this may seem wrong.  But the right to support does not belong to the mother, guardian or custodians; it belongs to the innocent minor child. (more…)

Do I have to Change Beneficiaries After a Divorce Decree or Marriage Settlement Agreement that Decides on Ownership of Accounts, Insurance Proceeds, Etc.

When a marriage is being dissolved, the myriad of questions which must be determined include ownership or beneficiary status on things like retirement accounts, pensions, 401(k) accounts, life insurance, as well as stock and bond ownership, real estate title, ownership of other financial assets, etc.  So long as the assets are presented to a Master in a contested divorce, the Master should include distribution or the requirements for distribution in the order recommended to the Court to resolve the matter.  (more…)

Pennsylvania Changes Child Custody Laws

On September 3, 2013, Pennsylvania instituted new rules of procedure which will affect not only new custody cases, but pending custody cases as well. Below we detail the most drastic changes to the custody law, however the full amendment can be seen at 1915.1, et.seq. Pa.R.C.P. (more…)