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

March 2016 Archives

Changes to the Presumption of Paternity in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, when a child is born during an intact marriage, there is a presumption that the husband is the father of the child unless there is evidence that he didn't have access or was incapable of procreation. Where paternity is presumed, an outside party who is the biological father of the child does not have standing to claim custody rights of that child.

How Will the Indian Child Welfare Act Impact My Custody Case in Pennsylvania?

Should the Grounds for Obtaining a PFA in Pennsylvania be Modified to Include Emotional and Psychological Abuse?

One of the uglier issues that we face as family lawyers is domestic violence. While the situations our clients are faced with often result in heated disagreements, sometimes that line is crossed and parties, both male and female must seek Protection from Abuse through the Court. Recently, Allegheny County outpaced the state average for parties seeking temporary PFAs.

Modifying recent custody orders

Invariably, when a custody matter has to be heard by the court, at least one party is going to be unhappy with the outcome. Generally speaking, if one disagrees with a court order, the method by which to redress the complaints is to ask the court to reconsider the order, or to take an appeal of the order. If one fails to do either of these within a specified period of time after the order is entered, then one loses the ability to raise his or her complaints with the order.

Shared Custody: Iowa Bill Requires Equal Custody Time to Parents in Pending Divorce Actions

A proposed bill that has been passed in the Iowa House of Representatives will require judges to grant shared custody to parents going through divorce proceedings unless the court finds it is in the best interest of the child. The bill's proponents argues that the bill is a much needed update to out-of-date laws that don't place mothers and fathers on equal footing in divorce and custody proceedings. If passed, the new law would represent a substantial modification to initial custody cases.

Bristol Palin's Custody Case and the Presumption for Shared Physical Custody in the United States

Alaska courts issued their second custody order regarding Bristol Palin's children today. Ms. Palin, the daughter of former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, was ordered to exercise shared custody of her daughter, Sailor Grace with her Medal of Honor recipient former fiancé, Dakota Meyer. Earlier this year, a similar order was issued regarding Palin's older son Tripp, which granted the child's father, Levi Johnson, shared custody of the child. Although some people exalt this decision as a "loss" for Palin, who had previously exercised full or primary legal and physical custody of her children, this decision is all too common across the county as states increasingly favor shared physical custody.

Alimony Equality? How Does Florida's Proposed Law Compare to Pennsylvania?

A bill has been sent to Florida Governor Rick Snyder that provides a detailed formula for determining an alimony award. A specific formula for determining an alimony award is a significant departure from how Florida previously determined alimony, and significantly different than how Pennsylvania determines it. Alimony is payments for the support of the dependent spouse (the spouse who earned less money during the marriage) after a divorce has been finalized. In Pennsylvania, alimony is determined on a case-by-case basis based on 17 factors provided by statute. Some notable factors in Pennsylvania are: the relative earning capacities of the parties; the length of the marriage; the contributions of one party to the education, training, or increased earning capacity of the other party; the standard of living the parties established during the marriage; the relative needs of the parties; the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.

Charlie Sheen Files for Support Modification

Charlie Sheen has petitioned the Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking a reduction in his monthly child support payments to Brooke Mueller paid in support of the former couple's twins, Bob and Max. Sheen currently pays $55,000 per month and has stated in his petition that a modification of that amount his appropriate due to a dramatic decrease in monthly income from the time the agreement was reached.

What does Sherri Shephard's Loss in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Mean for Pennsylvania Surrogacy Law?

Late last year, former The View co-host, Sherri Shepard, lost her appeal before the Pennsylvania Superior Court requesting that the Court hold that she be free from any and obligations as the mother of a child conceived with her ex-husband through a surrogate. Ms. Shepard filed a Petition for Allocatur requesting that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania hear her case. The highest court of Pennsylvania declined to entertain her appeal this week.

Supreme Court to hear first oral arguments concerning an abortion statute in nearly a decade. How does the Pennsylvania Law Stack Up to the Texas Law?

Today, the Supreme Court of the Unites States will hear oral argument in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. The Supreme Court will consider whether Texas' H.B. 2 law, a law passed by the Texas legislature in 2013, adopting new regulations restricting access to abortion clinics with the goal of increasing the health and safety of woman.