Modification & Enforcement Cases in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
- Takosky v. Henning – PA Superior Court dismissed appeal of family court finding defendant in contempt of Protection from Abuse order when family court did not enter any sanctions or term of imprisonment against defendant.
- Costlow v. Costlow – Husband appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court was dismissed when he failed to file his appeal within 30 days of the final order.
- Getty v. Getty – Husband’s appeal of wife’s award of 65% of his pension was dismissed when husband filed and was granted a Motion for Reconsideration and husband failed to file his appeal within 30 days after reconsideration by the trial court was granted.
- Dalrymple v. Kilishek – The trial court properly awarded attorney fees against the husband for obdurate and vexatious behavior in failing to provide documents to wife’s counsel that were requested as part of equitable distribution of the marital assets.
- Robinson-Austin v. Robinson-Austin – The Pennsylvania Superior Court found father’s appeal to be without merit and remanded the case to the trial court for the trial court to impose attorney’s fees against father.
- Busse v. Busse – Wife was properly awarded counsel fees in conjunction with her claim for alimony pendente lite (APL) given the discrepancy of the parties’ incomes and husband’s bad faith in the litigation. Matters of credibility are determined by the trial court and will not be disturbed on appeal unless no facts appear to justify the court’s finding. The trial court properly used the date of separation for valuing the parties’ business where there were allegations that husband had dissipated the value of the business asset after the parties’ separation.
- Prol v. Prol – Wife appeals the order which granted the petition for special relief of Husband and ordered the forfeiture of Wife’s interest in Husband’s Kimberly-Clark pension for Wife’s counsel’s failure to prepare the qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) dividing the pension. The Superior Court held that Wife substantially complied with the court’s directive and forfeiture of Wife’s interest would not be equitable or fair.
- Godfrey v. Godfrey – A defendant who has been found to be in willful noncompliance of a support obligation and found in civil contempt may be sentenced to jail for up to 6 months, given a fine of up to $1,000, or up to 1 year probation; however, court must set a purge condition allowing defendant to be released from jail. Trial court must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant has the present ability to comply with purge condition. Both parties must supply court with any changes in address within 7 days or else notice of hearings sent to prior address will not excuse failure to appear at hearing.
- Chen v. Chen – PA Supreme Court ruled that a child can not seek to intervene in the parents’ legal matters to attempt to enforce the terms of the parents’ agreement regarding support as set forth in their marriage or property settlement agreement.
- Sirio v. Sirio – The PA Superior Court reviewed case involving high-income Melzer analysis for child support. PA Superior Court held that the Hearing Officer should have considered the mother’s counsel fee request 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 4351 which allows awarded of counsel fees to the plaintiff in a support action. The award of counsel fees because of Father’s obdurate, vexatious or dilatory behavior pursuant to section 2503 does not prevent an award of additional counsel fees under section 4351.
- Krebs v. Krebs – The Superior Court held that mother was entitled to retroactive modification of the child support order beyond the period that she had a petition for modification filed because father failed in his affirmative duty to report to the court his increase in earnings. The Court also explained that an award of attorney’s fees to a plaintiff in a support action may be appropriate in certain circumstances and that the court should consider (1) whether the obligor’s unreasonable or obstreperous conduct impeded the determination of an appropriate support order; (2) whether the obligor mounted a fair and reasonable defense in a child support order; (3) whether the obligor’s failure to fulfill his moral and financial obligation to support his children required legal action to force him to accept his responsibilities; and (4) whether the financial positions and financial needs of the parties are disparate.
- Faust v. Walker – The PA Superior Court held that the domestic relations section is granted the power to issue orders to secure assets to satisfy support obligations and arrearages by intercepting or seizing judgments or settlements.
- Annechino v. Joire – Wife claimed that since the parties’ marriage settlement agreement was not incorporated into the parties’ Divorce Decree and the pleadings did not include a count for equitable distribution, the trial court did not have the authority to enforce the Property Settlement Agreement and the husband’s only remedy is a separate civil action in equity. The Superior Court held that section 3105(a) of the Divorce Code controls which permits any agreement entered related to the divorce action to be enforced by the family courts.
- Hopkins v. Byes – The PA Superior Court held that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion by imposing $500 attorney’s fees as a sanction for the mother’s failure to abide by a custody order, without first ascertaining mother’s ability to pay the sanction.
NOTE: The cases listed are for informational purposes only and may have been amended or overturned by subsequently decided court cases.
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