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Blog Posts in 2011

Case Notes: Proper "venue" for a divorce complaint

A recent Pennsylvania court opinion decided the proper county for completing a divorce. In the Kropf case, Wife filed for divorce in her new county only one month after leaving the marital county. ...
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Case Notes: Valuing assets in equitable distribution

The recent case of Balicki v. Balicki, 4 A.3d 654 (Pa. Super. 2010), has the potential to be a disaster for both divorcing parties and attorneys. The case originated in Allegheny County, having first ...
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PA Supreme Court decision

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently upheld our Superior Couirt victory in the case of Kent v. Kent (March 18, 2011). Appeals to the Pennsyvlania Supreme Court are not a matter of right, unlike ...
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Case Notes: Who falls under a PFA?

Protection from Abuse (PFA) cases only apply between "family or household members" or "sexual or intimate partners". 23 Pa.CSA 6102 (a). Violence between strangers or acquaintances ...
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Our Newest Published Case

Our most recent Superior Court opinon is from the 2011 case of Kent v. Kent.. In that case, we argued that the trial court was right to accept our argument that wife's home schooling should not ...
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New judge coming for Washington County Family Court

Washington County presently has two judges that regularly hear family law cases: Judge John DiSalle and Judge Phillippe Melograne. Judge Melograne was appointed as an "interim" judge to fill ...
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Case Notes: Incarceration and termination of parental rights

Under Pennsylvania law, a parent's rights may be terminated if the parent has "abandoned" the child and not sought contact for at least 6 months. In a recent case, the Pennsylvania ...
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Custody software: Our Family Wizard

Our Family Wizard (www.ourfamilywizard.com) is the most popular software program in the new field of custody software for families. With the explosion of online bill paying and social networking, many ...
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Case Notes: Voluntary Retirement and Child Support

The Pennsylvania Superior court recently dealt with the question of whether a police office voluntarily, retiring at 52, is entitled to lower his income (for child support purposes) to his pension ...
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Case Notes: Petition for Modification of Support Works Both Ways

In the recent case of Brickus v. Dent, 5 A3d 1281 (Pa. Super 2010), the Superior Court dealt with a father who had asked the court to lower his child support. The question was whether the mother could ...
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A brief history of "best interests".

The most important concept in custody is "best interests". Advancing the best interests of the child is always supposed to be the goal of the court. So, it is important to understand the ...
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Local Case Notes: March 2011 Pittsburgh PFA decision

A judge of the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas has issued an interesting and potentially problematic decision concerning a recent Protection from Abuse case. On May 13, 2010, the Defendant (Mr. ...
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Summary of the New Pennsylvania Custody Law

Previous blog posts have analyzed each Section of the new Pennsylvania custody law. This post is a summary of the new law. The new Pennsylvania custody law applies to all custody cases that began on ...
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Act 112: Section 5340 - Filing charges against court appointed evaluators. Conclusion of Act 112.

Section 5340 is an interesting new provision. Custody actions often involve "psychological evaluations" of the parties parenting relationships and abilities. These evaluations are typically ...
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Act 112: Sections 5338-5339 - Best interest & Counsel Fees

Section 5338 merely restates the basic premise of custody law: the "best interests" of a child are always paramount. Under Section 5338, a custody order may be modified to serve "the ...
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Act 112: Section 5337 - Relocation (part 2)

Section 5337. Relocation continued; Part 2. Standards Once the procedures of 5337 have been followed (see Part 1) and a timely objection has been filed, the court will hold an "expedited" ...
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Act 112: Section 5337 - Relocation (part 1)

Section 5337 of Act 112 details the procedures, rules and standards involved when a party wishes to "relocate" with a child. Section 5337 represents the single biggest change in custody law ...
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Act 112: Section 5336 - Access to records

Section 5336 of Act 112 provides that a party with shared (or sole) legal custody of a child has the right to receive the childs' medical, religious and school records and also the address of the ...
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Act 112: Sections 5334-5335 - Guardian ad litem/counsel for the child

Section 5334 of Act 112 deals with the appointment and duties of a guardian ad litem. Section 5335 deals with the appointment and duties of a child counsel. In a custody dispute, a guardian ad litem ...
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Act 112: Section 5333 - Informational programs

Section 5332 simply provides that the court may require the parties to attend parenting programs and to pay for the programs. Section 5332 does not require courts to set up such programs. As a ...
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Brewing Support Rules Changes to Be Minor

In Pennsylvania, child support is largely governed by "Rules of Civil Procedure" rather than laws. Laws are passed by the legislature and governor, but civil procedure rules in PA are ...
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Act 112: Section 5331 - Parenting Plan

Section 5331 of Act 112 covers parenting plans for custody. A parenting plan is a proposed custody arrangement. Section 5331 does not require the use of parenting plans. But if the court orders a ...
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Act 112: Section 5330 - Pending criminal charges

Section 5330 of Act 112 covers pending criminal charges and custody. Section 5330 permits a parent who learns of certain criminal charges against the other party (or a member of their household) to ...
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Act 112: Section 5329 - Criminal Convictions.

Section 5329 covers the use of criminal convictions in Pennsylvania custody cases. Section 5329 lists those criminal convictions (and "no contests") that must be considered by the court in a ...
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Act 112: Section 5328 - Factors in awarding custody.

Section 5328 sets forth the new factors in awarding custody. The basis of every custody decision remains the "best interests" of the child. But there a number of new factors that are ...
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