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Blog Posts in 2013

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Case Notes: "Caretaker Doctrine" abolished

The "Caretaker Doctrine" provided that the "primary caretaker" of the child would maintain custody - so long as both parents were otherwise equally fit to raise the child. The 1982 ...
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The End of Parenting Coordinators

Parenting Coordinators (PC's) are attorneys or mental health professionals (generally attorneys) who have received extensive training in mediation and experience in dealing with high-conflict ...
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Case Notes: Custody factors

In the case of C.B. v. J.B. and M.B. and T.B. , 65 A.3d 946 (Pa. Super 2013), the Pennsylvania Superior Court gave guidance to trial court judges in custody cases on applying the custody ...
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Case Notes: Post-Nuptial Agreement validity

In the case of Lugg v. Lugg, 64 A.3d 1109 (2013), the Pennsylvania Superior Court was faced with a husband and wife who signed a post-nuptial agreement. After implementing part of the agreement, Wife ...
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Case Notes: Child Support and Gifts of Money

In the case of Suzanne D. v. Stephen W., 65 A3d 965 (2013), the Pennsylvania Superior Court was faced with the issue of large cash gifts and their effect on child support obligations. The case began ...
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Case Notes: Fabricating Abuse in a Custody Case

In M.O. v. F.W. , 2012 PA Super 49 (2012), the Superior Court affirmed the decision of the trial court awarding sole legal and primary physical custody of the child to Mother due to Father's ...
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Case Notes: The future of Paternity by Estoppel

In my blog post of April 25th, 2013, I addressed a recent court case involving "Paternity by Estoppel". Paternity by Estoppel prevents a man who has acted as a father towards a child for a ...
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Case Notes: Frozen Embryos as Marital Property

In Reber v. Reiss, 42 A.3d 1131 (Pa. Super. 2012), the Pennsylvania Superior Court dealt with a question of first impression: what should happen to fertilized, frozen embryos at divorce? May Wife ...
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Case Notes: Personal Injury Claims as Marital Property?

When is a personal injury claim marital property subject to equitable distribution? Ordinarily, property acquired between the date of marriage and date of separation is marital. But what about a ...
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Custody Requirement: Affidavit of Household

Recently, Allegheny County has required that a new document called an "Affidavit of my Household" be filed with all custody complaints. This document is located here under Child Custody ...
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Case Notes: Custody relocation

On January 24th, 2011, Pennsylvania's stringent new relocation law went into effect. The relocation statute has "factors" that the court must consider when deciding whether to permit a ...
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Case Notes: Discovery of Mental Health Records

The ability to require the other side to provide documents or answer questions is known as "discovery". Discovery in court cases is often limited by various legal protections such as ...
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Case Notes: Purging Contempt

When someone does not pay court ordered support they may be found in "contempt of court". This can lead to a variety of sanctions, such as tax intercepts, increased support, loss of drivers ...
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Case Notes: The Entitlement Defense to Spousal Support

The obligation to financially support a spouse prior to a divorce decree is known as Alimony Pendente Lite ("APL") or Spousal support. Generally, support paid while divorce proceedings are ...
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Case Notes: Paternity by Estoppel

Establishing paternity can often be confusing. There are two major presumptions regarding paternity in Pennsylvania: If Mother is married, there is a presumption that the Husband is the father. This ...
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Case Notes: Does a polyamorous relationship take away custody?

In V.B. and C.B. v. J.E.B. and C.C., 2012 Pa. Super 20, the Superior Court dealt with the issue of whether the court should remove a parents primary custody due to a "polyamorous" ...
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Case Notes: Counsel Fees

We often get questions about counsel fees. Can I make the other side pay my fees? When does the court order counsel fees? What if the other side has racked up excessive counsel fees? In Morgans v. ...
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Legislative Update: Could Child Support Continue After Death?

As it stands now, support generally terminates upon the death of the payer. By definition, a dead payer is, no longer living or earning funds to support their children. However, in June of 2012, ...
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Case Notes: Custody Restriction and Effect on Support

What happens economically when the court severely restricts custodial rights? Does that lessen the amount of child support to be paid, since the payer is being denied time with the kids? The Superior ...
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Case Notes: Is private Facebook information subject to discovery?

Social media has permeated pretty much every aspect of our lives. Experienced attorneys use information posted on Facebook, twitter, tumblr, and other platforms as evidence in cases to paint a picture ...
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Case Notes: Shared Custody

In the case of S.B. v. B.P. , FD 04-002820, Allegheny CP (March 26, 2012), the local Allegheny County court dealt with a Mother who appealed from a Court Order providing shared custody between Mother ...
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Case Notes: Business interests and Equitable Distribution

Valuing assets can be extremely complicated. It takes a lot of experience to determine the type of evidence that is necessary to prove the value of an asset. The courts are often faced with the ...
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Know your Judge: Judge Cathleen Bubash (008)

Every Allegheny County Family Division case is assigned to a particular Judge. Each Judge has a "judicial suffix". This is a 3 number suffix attached to the end of your "FD" number ...
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Case Notes: VA benefits as marital property

Under Pennsylvania law, certain things are exempt from being considered "marital property," and are, therefore, not subject to distribution upon divorce. However, the increase in value of ...
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Allegheny County Clarifies Some Divorce Procedures

Court procedures are complicated even for those who practice law. Allegheny County has clarified a few procedural issues. 1. Filing an Inventory and Obtaining a Rule In order to move your divorce ...
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