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?
Last week, we posted about the new change to the custody laws with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in D.P. v. G.J.P.. This opinion overturned the portion of the grandparent custody statute that allowed grandparents to have standing to seek partial custody of their grandchildren in cases when parents were separated for at least six months.
As Pittsburgh Custody Lawyers, it is part of our job to remain up-to-date to evolving laws that impact our client's custody rights. In Pennsylvania, many grandparents are afforded the right by law to file for partial or supervised physical custody of their grandchildren. Recently, the statute providing these rights, 23 Pa. C.S.A. Section 5325, was considered and evaluated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Anyone who knows anything about custody cases in Allegheny County and the rest of Pennsylvania knows that the standard is the best interest of the child. Especially when it comes to school choice cases, courts will often look favorably on schools with extensive lists of extracurricular opportunities and activities for the children to be involved in. This issue becomes even more important when children are very passionate or gifted in a specific sport, activity or art. Usually, the parent who is best able to support the child's involvement in an activity about which they are passionate may have the upper hand in a custody case.
It's that time of year again! With school picnics and yearbook distribution, children are being released from the daily drudgery of early mornings and homework. At or around Memorial Day each year, children celebrate the end of another school year and all the possibility of what summer brings with it. Summer gives children the opportunity to go on vacations, visit family, try new outside activities and go to summer camp. Summer tends to be a period of transition and change for most children, and this can be complicated even more so for children with separated parents. Often children who are part of a custody dispute experience double the demands on their time as other children, which can be stressful even in the relaxing summer months. In these cases, it is important for parents to work together with their attorneys to craft an appropriate and workable custody schedule.
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.
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.
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.