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

November 2016 Archives

Could I be Divorced In Pennsylvania and Not Know It?

Once a year or so, the article about the man who got an ex parte (without the other party) divorce in the Dominican Republic and did not tell his wife for twenty some years makes the social media rounds. Although this horror story acts as a cautionary tale, many people who read the article are left to question: Could this happen to me? The answer to that is yes...and no. Technically, there is nothing stopping a spouse from doing what this man did and filing for a quick divorce in another county as long as he follows the procedures that are required there. However, in such cases, it would likely be hard for him to enforce any kind of property settlement order or support or custody order. Although each county around the world has different rules of civil procedure, most westernized countries have similar ideas of due process to that of the United States. That means that if your spouse simply wanted to end your marriage, he or she may be able to do that in another country without providing you notice, but is unlikely that they will be able to get an order dividing your property or deciding where you children will live without you being notified and having the opportunity to represent yourself.

Resolving Issues of Holiday Custody Between Newly Separated Parents

It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. However, as we all know, often even in the most functional families, the holiday season causes tension. In the case of newly separated parents in Pennsylvania and around the country, the holidays can lead to increased conflict and hurt feelings. Parents will often selfishly attempt to withhold custody from the other parent during the holidays to get back at the other parent without thinking about the fact that their focus should be on what is best for their children, especially during the holidays. Although most final court orders will cover how the holidays are divided between the parties, many interim court orders do not. You might be surprised how many emergency motions are presented before judges in Allegheny County and across the state seeking some kind of custody for the holidays. This is why at our office, we encourage our clients to think about holiday custody in advance and even to make their own arrangements regarding custody. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when considering holiday custody arrangements:

Who Keeps the Engagement Ring?

This week the story of Bradley Moss and Amy Bzura and their engagement ring has received plenty of attention due to the price of the ring and the confusing question: who keeps an engagement ring if the engagement is called off? Moss and Bzura were a couple who called off their wedding for unknown reasons, and Mr. Moss has since initiated legal action looking to recover the $125,000 ring or its value.

Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania Police Officer Killed While Responding to Domestic Violence Call

Our office sends our condolences to the family and friends of Officer Scott Bashioum of the Cannonsburg police who was killed early this morning while responding to a domestic violence call in Cannonsburg, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Bashioum and his partner were shot at by Michael Cwiklinski, who later took his own life and that of a woman who had an active Protection from Abuse Order against him. Neighbors were evacuated by a SWAT team, and the Allegheny County Bomb Squad was called in to search for hidden explosives as gas cans were found in the house and the suspect's car.

Will a Prior Drug Addiction Prevent Me From Having Custody in Pennsylvania?

We have all heard the headlines, the heroin epidemic in Western Pennsylvania is getting more and more severe. Most people are in agreement that a parent who is in the active stages of addiction should not be allowed to exercise unsupervised custody. However, many people are lucky enough to recover from their addiction through the help of rehabilitation and therapy. These circumstances lead to many significant questions. If someone's custody was suspended during their addiction or rehabilitation, when or how should it be reinstated? How do you plan in advance for a possible relapse? How supportive should you be of someone's recovery while still being aware that relapse is possible? How do you discuss these issues with the children?