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.
1. Work Together- You and your ex may not always agree, but it's important to present a united when it comes to planning major events. Even if you're used to being a single parent most of the time, holidays including Halloween often require you to work together to make sure things run smoothly. Whether is picking out and purchasing a costume, providing transportation or limiting sugar high and tummy aches in kids who are overexcited about king sized candy bars, remember two is better than one. Work together to establish rules and plan for the night.
"Try not to be that high up to be friends, I want everything to be low, OK? Just try your best...I want you and my dad to be in a place that's settled and be friends." This very mature sounding quotes comes from the mouth of a young six-year old girl wearing a pink fuzzy bunny t-shirt in a recent viral video. This video was captured by Tiana's mother, who is currently engaged in a tumultuous family law proceeding with the child's Father. Cherish Sherry, Tiana's mother, said that this speech from her daughter brought her to tears and reminded her what was most important in all of this, her daughter. Though this video has now gotten tens of thousands of views on Youtube and other websites across the internet, for the family law practitioners amount us, it reminds us that despite how volatile divorce and custody cases can be, the kids are the most important part, and Pennsylvania law backs this up.
These days, most people communicate through some form of written communications. Whether is a text, and email, or a Facebook post, these communications can spell trouble for anyone in family court. Many people are under the impression that these types of communications can never be brought to court. This is not necessarily true. Some of these communications do in fact make their way to a judge, and this could really make or break a PA Family Court case.
Gestational Surrogacy is becoming more common in Pennsylvania. Recently, there have been more numerous discussions and even depictions of struggles with infertility and conception depicted in pop culture. For example, Giuliana and Bill Rancic, of E! Network fame, have publicly documented their struggles with having children on their hit reality show. They currently have one son, Duke, who was delivered via gestational carrier. Unfortunately, their most recent attempt at having another baby was unsuccessful. The Rancics have always been open to sharing their struggles so they can help people start proactive conversations about fertility. The Rancics are lucky to have found a compatible surrogate who is willing to work with them throughout their attempts at expanding their family. Although gestational surrogates do not have standing to sue for custody of a child in Pennsylvania, it is still a good idea to have a written contract between the parents and the surrogate.
In order to file an action for custody in Pennsylvania, a person must first have "standing" to do so. Standing is just another way of saying that a person is allowed, as a matter of law, to file for what they are asking the court to do. For custody cases, there a several different ways a person can have standing.
When it comes to child custody in Pennsylvania, parents often worry about deciding on a custody schedule. Once a schedule is set many parents feel like they are done as far custody is concerned. They mark the dates they have physical custody of the child on a calendar and move on. However, parents may want to consider adding an extra step to finalizing a custody agreement: putting the agreement in writing.
Communication between co-parents can often be difficult and stressful. Depending on email and text message for communication can be especially complicated due to message failures, lost messages, and misreading. When sharing custody of your children, there are tools that alleviate and simplify scheduling and communicating with the other co-parent. Courts in Allegheny County often order or recommend the use of The Our Family Wizard.