Archive for the ‘Family Law’ Category

The Right to Divorce for Same-Sex Couples

The recent U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges declared unconstitutional any state law which prohibited same-sex marriage.   This ruling not only protects a same-sex couple’s right to marry, but also their right to divorce.  Divorce laws are governed by state and vary from state to state.  Prior to this ruling, a same-sex couple who was legally married in one state, but lived in a state that did not recognize their marriage, could not avail themselves to the protections of divorce, custody or support laws of that state.  This meant gay couples, especially those with children, looking to divorce were left with difficult decisions.  Couples either had to have the foresight to carefully draft domestic-partnership agreements, or litigate property issues under property or landlord tenant laws which do not afford the same protections as divorce laws.  Since this Supreme Court ruling, all married couples are now protected by divorce laws in each state. (more…)

Do Grandparents have Standing to Pursue Custody of a Grandchild?

Does Grandmother who has been involved in her Grandchild’s life since birth, who has been a babysitter and substantially aided in raising the child, including periods when the Mother and Child lived with her, but has not had custody of the child have standing to bring a claim for primary physical custody?  (more…)

Do Grandparents have Standing to Pursue Legal and Physical Custody of a Child?

The Superior Court recently issued an opinion concerning whether a grandmother had standing to pursue legal and physical custody against the biological mother. (more…)

Who Gets the Family Dog in a Divorce?

There is no custody court for pets of divorcing parties.  So, even though many people consider their pets to be another member of the family, a pet will be treated as property and dealt with through the equitable division of marital property.   (more…)

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…)