Family Law Practice Archives

Competency in Pennsylvania Family Law Cases

When you hear the word "incompetent," you might associate it with a criminal law defendant; the issue of competency, however, is just as relevant in a Pennsylvania family law case. Parties often testify on their own behalf in family law cases, and no matter what field of law, one may not testify if they are deemed incompetent.

I Live in Pennsylvania and My ex never paid as promised...can I sue? Part II

As discussed in Part I of this blog series, in PA the statute of limitations generally precludes an aggrieved party from filing suit for enforcement of a Marriage Settlement Agreement (MSA) if not commenced within the statutes 4-year limitation period. An exception exists, however, when the contract is a "continuing contract." A contract is "continuing" when 1.) There are no deadlines by which payments have to be made; 2.) No specific start date and/or end date when payments are to stop; and 3.) No specific amount owed is identified.

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.

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.

Pennsylvania Family Law: Superior Court Round Up

December was a busy month for the Superior Court, which issued over a dozen Pennsylvania family law related rulings last month. However, as often happens with family court matters, only two of these opinions were precedential, one involved child custody and the other involved paternity testing.

October/ November Superior Court Round Up

One of the most important things to the day to day practice of the law is keeping up on the ever changing cases and statutes that govern the lives of attorneys and clients. Whether it's making sure you have an up to date copy of the state Rules of Civil Procedure establishing a deadline for filing your inventory and appraisement in an equitable distribution hearing or new decisions from the state appellate courts, as lawyers if we don't keep abreast of changes in the law, we will be left in the dust by our opposing counsel. It's also important that the clients stay updated as well so that they have the best impression of the merit of their case. Because of this, we are excited to announce a new monthly feature to our blog. On the last Monday of each month, we will be providing a list of the most recent Pennsylvania Superior Court decisions related to family law and brief summaries of these cases. This feature will be supplemented in-depth reports on some of the most important cases and how they will impact you.

Election Season Brings New Faces to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

The crisp November air has blown in another election day, and with it a new cast of faces to the local Court of Common Pleas. In Allegheny County particularly, most newly elected judges are assigned to the Family Division. Family law is unique in that more often than not litigants find their way before judges very soon after filing a complaint in custody or divorce. In Western Pennsylvania, family law judges often see the same families year after year and get to know their cases in a way that judges in other divisions rarely do. With Allegheny County's "one judge one family" policy, judges tend to know and understand cases that are assigned to them as well as the lawyers who represent the parties. This policy also ensures that the judge assigned to the case will address all of the issues in the case, and that any case involving same parents or parent will be assigned to the same judge. This practice ensures that the judge making the real time decision on the case is aware of all of the moving parts. Our firm and our clients appreciate the hard work and discipline these newly elected judges will without a doubt bring to their tenures.

Legal Custody Rights for Transgender Children

With the whirlwind of publicity surrounding Caitlyn (formerly "Bruce") Jenner's coming out as transgender, the often overlooked issue of transgendered individuals and transgender children in particular has become hot topic. Of specific importance in the family law community are issues including transgender children's access to resources, support and facilities they need. This can become especially trying for families going through divorce and custody litigation in addition to struggling to adjust to life with a transgender child.

Pope Francis Relaxes Catholic Church Rules for Annulments

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.

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