Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Pittsburgh Family Law Blog

Step Parent Adoption in Pennsylvania

These days, families come in all shapes and sizes. Blended families are more prevalent than ever and in turn the number of step-parent adoptions has soared.

MEGHAN MARKLE AND PRINCE HARRY: TIPS WHEN CONSIDERING A PRENUP IN PENNSYLVANIA

By now you may have heard that actress Meghan Markle and England's Prince Harry are expected to announce their engagement sometime before Christmas this year. Well, what would happen if the Prince and his soon to be Princess were to be married in Pennsylvania? Would they enter into a prenuptial agreement?

What You Need To Know About Surrogacy Contracts in Pennsylvania

There's no right or wrong way to build a family and for many couples in Pennsylvania choosing surrogacy provides the chance to grow your family. However, before you choose to proceed with having a surrogate carry your child there are some things you should know about surrogacy and the law in Pennsylvania.

"Don't Touch It! Dissipation and Dividing the Marital Property in Pennsylvania."

With the filing of a divorce in Pennsylvania comes the dividing up of all the marital property. Splitting up all the items that were bought during the marriage and deciding who gets what is easily one of the most complicated and lengthy ordeals in all of family law. This is true even if you're not a millionaire with multiple houses, cars and yachts. This process of deciding who gets what is known as equitable distribution here in Pennsylvania and it's not as simple as, 'I owned that before we got married", or "that's mine, I paid for it".

How do I Obtain a Paternity Test in Pennsylvania

Over the recent weeks, we have discussed the concept of paternity in Pennsylvania courts. However, we have yet to answer the question. How does one obtain a court ordered paternity test in as Western Pennsylvania court? As you may be aware, there are over the counter drug store paternity tests that can prove with reasonable certainty whether someone is or is not the father of a child. However, these paternity tests much like other out of court resources do not usually stand up in court. Often the court will discredit these tests as hearsay or question their validity as a result of problems with the chain of custody. Sometimes parties will agree to obtain a paternity test through a respected lab and stipulate that the results are correct.

Paternity in Pennsylvania: The Myth of Paternity by Estoppel

Last week we addressed the issue of the presumption of paternity in married couples in Pennsylvania. This week, we will address the "myth" of paternity by estoppel in Pennsylvania child custody and support cases. Many people believe that paternity is based on the genetic code, and, in most cases, it is. However, Pennsylvania courts have developed the concept of paternity by estoppel in cases where it would be more detrimental for the child to learn their father was not their father than it would be to have someone who is not the biological father have standing to seek custody or to pay support.

Pennsylvania Court Rules that Civil Unions Should be Treated Like Marriages

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania ruled last month that Civil Unions should be treated like divorces in Pennsylvania. The court decided this after reviewing a Philadelphia court's decision in Neyman v. Buckley. In this case, the appellant appealed the decision of the court to dismiss her complaint for divorce seeking dissolution of her Vermont civil union. The Superior court held that "the Vermont civil union creates the functional equivalent of marriage for the purposes of dissolution and that Neyman had the right to proceed with her divorce in Pennsylvania.

Paternity in Pennsylvania: If I have a Child with a Married Woman, Do I have Custody Rights in Pennsylvania?

One of the common issues in Pennsylvania custody litigation relates to paternity. That is who is the father and who has rights to seek custody. Many first time litigants assume that this determination is made through a DNA test that proves that the child is or is not the biological child of one individual or the other. However, that is not always the case in Pennsylvania. We will be presenting a series of blogs about paternity issues in Pennsylvania. The first question we tackle is whether it is possible to gain custody rights of a child that is the produce of an affair.

Is Divorce your New Year's Resolution?

Were you holidays ruined because of a fight with your spouse or the lack of clarity in a custody schedule for your children? Did you pass on holiday parties to avoid having family and friends see the tension between you and your significant other? Are you ready to start fresh for 2017? Are you tired of fielding questions at the holiday dinner table about why you're never allowed to spend time with your family? Did you notice a present on the joint credit card statement that didn't end up under the tree this year? If any of this is true about you, it might be time to consider speaking to an attorney about a divorce or other family law proceeding. In a way, we suggest making it your New Year's resolution to give yourself a fresh start and a fresh outlook on life in 2017.

If I Work and My Ex Does Not, Are They Entitled to Primary Custody?

In our modern world, it is very rare that one parent works when the other does not. However, sometimes this issue occurs in a custody case. During the relationship or marriage, one parent stayed home to take care of the children or only worked part-time while other parent worked full time to provide for the family. Sometimes, the stay at home parent will assume that they are entitled to primary custody of the child or children because they are available more often to take care of the children. Although one of the considerations in a custody action is who is more likely to provide for the child's daily needs, and the court favors having parents provide care for children instead of third parties, the fact that one parent works, absent additional concerns will not bar them from sharing custody or even exercising primary custody of the child or children.