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.
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.
Often the family law industry finds itself at offs with the Catholic Church, which has historically required a several step process and steep fees to have the dissolution of a marriage spiritually recognized by an annulment. Under Catholic doctrine, a marriage will not be formally recognized by the church as ended unless the parties seek an annulment. This would prevent either husband or wife from remarrying in the Church among other things and placed a large barrier in the way of the nearly 28,000 American couples who sought divorce last year. Though the Catholic Church still does not formally recognize divorce without a formal Catholic annulment, Pope Francis announced this week that he hopes to simplify and streamline the process allowing the more than 28% of Catholics whose marriages end in divorce to breathe a bit easier and putting a bit less strain on their pocketbooks as well.
Having an initial consultation with an attorney is an important first step in any Allegheny County family law case. This is a time to explain your whole story to your attorney, and to let them know exactly what your goals are for your case. It is also a good time to find out what the attorney can do to help you reach your goals in Pennsylvania Family Court. Since most consultations in family law are paid consultations, we have put together a list of tips to help you get the most out of the consultation.