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.
It is common knowledge that filing for bankruptcy discharges debt; what is lesser known is that not all debt is dischargeable. This blog will discuss which family law related debts are not dischargeable and how specific chapters of bankruptcy affects discharge as well.
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.
There's no right or wrong way to build a family and for many couples in Pennsylvania choosing surrogacy provides the chance to grow your family. However, before you choose to proceed with having a surrogate carry your child there are some things you should know about surrogacy and the law in Pennsylvania.
Over the recent weeks, we have discussed the concept of paternity in Pennsylvania courts. However, we have yet to answer the question. How does one obtain a court ordered paternity test in as Western Pennsylvania court? As you may be aware, there are over the counter drug store paternity tests that can prove with reasonable certainty whether someone is or is not the father of a child. However, these paternity tests much like other out of court resources do not usually stand up in court. Often the court will discredit these tests as hearsay or question their validity as a result of problems with the chain of custody. Sometimes parties will agree to obtain a paternity test through a respected lab and stipulate that the results are correct.
On October 4, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that potentially affects pending Divorce cases all over Pennsylvania. Previously in cases of divorce where one person wants the divorce and the other party does not, the party who wants the divorce cannot obtain one until two years after the date of separation. The mandatory two-year waiting period has created a lot of problems for people wishing to get divorced, including legal fees for attempting to move the process along quicker. The initial goal for the two year waiting period was to allow people the chance to reconcile. On the contrary, the requisite waiting period has arguably in many cases, only served to cause more resentment towards the party who will not consent.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled this week to amend the rules regarding child support in cases where parties either divide custody or have split custody scheduled. Divided Custody is defined as cases when parents have multiple children and one parent has primary custody of one or more children and the other parent has primary custody of one or more children. The rule was amended to state the following: "When calculating a child support obligation, and one or more of the children reside primarily with each party, the court shall offset the parties' respective child support obligations and award the net difference to the obligee as child support." The rules provide the following explanation, "For example, if the parties have three children, one of whom resides with Father and two of whom reside with Mother, and their net monthly incomes are $2,500 and $1,250 respectively, Father's child support obligation is calculated as follows. Using the schedule in Rule 1910.16-3 for two children at the parties' combined net monthly income of $3,750, the amount of basic child support to be apportioned between the parties is $1,200. As Father's income is 67% of the parties' combined net monthly income, Father's support obligation for the two children living with Mother is $804. Using the schedule in Rule 1910.16-3 for one child, Mother's support obligation for the child living with Father is $276. Subtracting $276 from $804 produces a net basic support amount of $528 payable to Mother as child support."
A few months ago, we posted about the proposed change to the waiting period for no-fault divorces in Pennsylvania. Specifically, the state legislature was debating whether to shorten the waiting period for contested no-fault divorces in Pennsylvania from two years to one year. Recently, a bill reflecting this change in the law passed the Pennsylvania State House. This law was passed as House Bill 380 and signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on October 4, 2016. This law will go into effect in sixty days (December 4, 2016).
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.
Our Pittsburgh Family Lawyers are often asked "what happens to an engagement ring if a wedding is called off?" The answer varies depending on what state you live in. It is a question of whether the court applies an analysis of who is at fault for the cancellation of the engagement