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Highlighting the Revisions to the Child Custody Rules

In January 2011, the new custody act became effective and changed the landscape of child custody in Pennsylvania. However, the Rules of Civil Procedure pertaining to child custody tracked the custody statutes previously in effect and created inconsistency. The much anticipated revised custody rules were promulgated and became effective September 3....

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Child Relocation Decisions to Be Explained Near Time of Ruling

The evolution of the courts’ application of the new child custody statute continues at a consistent pace. A recurring issue that has been addressed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court pertains to the requirement of the trial court to provide the reasons for its decisions in custody cases on the record in open court or in a written opinion or o...

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New Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines To Go Into Effect

Beginning August 9, 2013, new statewide Child Support Guidelines will go into effect. For families whose combined net monthly income is $30,000 per month or less, the change in the amount of monthly support for minor children is negligible. In most cases, the monthly amount of support will increase $20.00 per month and in some cases, the amount of ...

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Error to Modify Custody at Contempt Hearing Without Petition Pending

Recently, the case of P.H.D. v. R.R.D., __ A.3d __, 2012 PA Super 246 (Nov. 13, 2012), was decided by the Pennsylvania Superior Court. The P.H.D. case raises an issue that is discussed often among family law practitioners and has been reported in a number of appellate cases since the 1990s. The issue is whether a custody order may be modified at a contempt proceeding if a petition to modify is not pending before the court. A number of cases have been decided by the Superior Court that indicate a custody order may not be modified by a trial court at a contempt proceeding if a petition to modify has not been filed and served and properly before the court at the time of the contempt hearing. The reason for the prohibition of such action is that it would deprive the parties of their due process rights.

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Accrual Date Decides If Settlement, Award Are Marital Property

The recent state Supreme Court case Focht v. Focht was welcomed by most family law practitioners with open arms, as it resolves conflicting case law on the issue of whether an award or settlement proceeds from a personal injury claim, lottery winnings or workers' compensation that arose during marriage but received after separation should be consid...

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Superior Court Analyzes Relocation Under New Custody Act

The recent case of E.D. v. M.P. , filed on Nov. 9, is very important for family law attorneys as it is the first reported appellate case pertaining to child custody relocation under the new Child Custody Act. The new Child Custody Act went into effect on Jan. 24. The act revamped child custody law in Pennsylvania by codifying existing case law as ...

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Money Received From Will Contest Not Considered Marital Property

In the recent case of Strauss v. Strauss , an interesting issue arose regarding whether monies received by Brian Strauss as part of a will contest were to be considered marital property subject to equitable distribution in the parties' divorce action or Brian Strauss' separate estate not subject to equitable distribution. According to a 2011 Super...

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Access Denied: What Are Your Rights as a Grandparent?

Shari B. Veisblatt, a member of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP’s Family Law Group authored the article, "ACCESS DENIED:  What are Your Rights as a Grandparent? published online at girlfriendz.com (August/September 2011; Vol.4, Issue 4).Reprinted with permission Girlfriendz® The Thinking Woman's Magazine; August/September ...

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Are Disability Payments Marital Property?

Around the nation, trial and appellate courts have had to decide whether or not disability pensions should be considered as marital property. Under what is called the "analytic" approach, the disability pension is divided into the "regular pension" component and the pure disability component (which is in lieu of future earnings), and only the regul...

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Standing Found in Abuse Case Where Parties Dated Twice

Under the Protection from Abuse Act (PFA Act), "abuse" is defined as follows: "The occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood: (1) Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury...

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