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

June 2016 Archives

Trans* marriage in Pennsylvania

Since the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, the designations of "husband/man" and "wife/woman" have largely become irrelevant in Pennsylvania marriage laws. In a number of other countries, however, and, in fact, in some states prior to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, the distinction between "man" and "woman" remains a factor in determining who may marry.

Social Media in Pennsylvania Family Law Part II: Can I Read My Spouse's Private Inbox Messages?

People often think that what goes in in their private Inbox messages is for their eyes alone. However, that is not always the case. Although the Inbox can allow people to communicate directly with each other outside of the prying eyes of all of their friends and followers on social media. It is not nearly as private as one might think.

New Supreme Court Decision on Native American Domestic Violence Law May Impact PFA Process in Pennsylvania

As we have noted in our previous posts about the Indian Child Welfare Act, the practice of family law is often complicated in Pennsylvania by an attempt to balance the Pennsylvania court's authority with that of the various Native American tribes that call this state home. This week, the United States Supreme Court decided a new case that will likely impact the practice of Pennsylvania family law. In United States v. Bryant, the Court affirmed the sovereignty of the Native American tribal courts and addressed domestic violence in the Native American community for the first time. The Court unanimously upheld a federal conviction against a native domestic violence offender.

Social Media in Pennsylvania Family Law Part I: Can My Ex Use My Social Media Information Against Me in a Pennsylvania Divorce?

We have all heard the stories of people getting fired or reprimanded at work for what they post on social media. However, it's often still surprising to the general public how what you post on social media can be used against you. Even though some people seem to forget about the social part of social media. Many forget that everything or almost everything you post on social media websites is public or semi public and can be used against you in court.

Claiming your rights in divorce

There are a number of stages in the formal divorce process in Pennsylvania. First is the filing of the divorce complaint, then there is a mandatory waiting period of at least 90 days during which a divorce may not be finalized, and at some time after that, a divorce will be finalized with the entry of a divorce decree. A divorce decree, generally speaking, extinguishes all of the rights that you had because of the marriage. Of the rights that a decree extinguishes is the right to make a request for alimony and division of the marital assets.

Can I Read my Spouse's Text Messages?

Many people who are going through a Pennsylvania Divorce or considering a divorce want to obtain information from their spouse's cell phones and emails. Text messages and emails are often important written evidence that can be used in a family court proceeding. There are several ways to obtain this information, however, if done illegally, the evidence obtained will be inadmissible in court.

Involuntary termination of parental rights

In Pennsylvania, any number of circumstances can result in the involuntary termination of parental rights. Terminating a parent's rights to their children requires that the person/agency seeking to do so meet a heavy burden before a court, but this does not mean that the burden is insurmountable. A couple of common involuntary termination of parental rights cases are those initiated by an agency, such as Children, Youth, and Families (CYF), or by a custodian of a child for an adoption.

Divorcing Couples in Pennsylvania Battle Over Embryos

With the advent of reproductive technology, divorcing couples in Pennsylvania and around the country are not only compelled to grapple with the question of who should have custody of their living children, but also what to do with their prospective children. The Missouri court of appeals is grappling with just that question as they hear arguments between a husband and wife over the fate of two frozen embryos created via In Vitro Fertilization. This dispute is between a former husband and wife over whether the woman should be permitted to have these embryos implanted and carry them to term.