In a child custody case, do the parents have the right to talk to the media? In this case, the mother’s attorney held a press conference in which he disclosed the identity of the mother and restated the child’s in-court testimony, which included allegations of sexual abuse by the father. Additional sectors of the media picked up on the story. Father then filed a motion for sanctions against the mother and her attorneys.Read More
FAMILY LAW BLOG
We provide helpful tips and information regarding family law matters in the state of Pennsylvania. The information on this blog does not constitute legal advice. You may contact us for a consultation. To receive regular updates from this blog, please subscribe below.
Can the court use an outdated custody factor analysis from a previous order or should it reconsider all of the factors?In a recent case, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania Ordered that the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County erred in its child custody order. The trial court incorporated by reference its consideration of some §5328(a) factors from a prior order. The Superior Court indicated that the incorporation by reference of an outdated analysis of factors was not appropriateRead More
In a relocation case, the party wishing to relocate has the burden of proving that the relocation is in the best interest of the child. In addition, “each party has the burden of establishing the integrity of that party’s motives in either seeking the relocation or seeking to prevent the relocation.” In Song v. Valederamma, the court provides its rationale for granting Mother’s relocation from Pennsylvania to Florida.Read More
When one parent remarries or is cohabitating with a new partner, the court may look at several aspects when determining the best interest of the children. Among these may be:
The marrying parent’s relationship history. Have they had a series of serious relationships/marriages that have ended quickly or badly?
Disparagement. This is something that unfortunately takes place in many custody cases. Talking poorly about your child's other parent in front of them or to them can be harmful to the child and detrimental to their relationship with that other parent. It can also lead to parental alienation and the court does not take it lightly. If you are on the other side it can frustrating, depressing, and infuriating. Read on for things you can do to deal with this.Read More
If a party has pending criminal charges, the court must consider whether that party poses a risk of physical, emotional, or psychological harm to the child. There are certain crimes, often referred to as “enumerated offenses” because they are specifically enumerated in the statute, that the court will review to determine whether a party poses such a risk.Read More
When do child support payments end? Do I have to do anything once my child turns 18 to stop the payments?
Technically support orders do not terminate automatically and a person paying child support was required to file a petition to terminate a child support order once the child is emancipated. Subdivision (e) of Rule 1910.19 was implemented to prevent overpayments and to give parties notice. Now, within the six months before the child turns 18, the court will issue an emancipation inquiry and notice to the obligee and a copy to the obligor asking certain questions to see whether the order shall remain in effect after the child turns 18 or graduates from high school (whichever is later). If there is no response after 30 days, the domestic relations section can administratively modify or terminate an order.
If you are receiving child support, you should complete and return the inquiry especially if there is a reason that the child should continue to receive support beyond age 18 or graduating high school. If you do not return the notice, the domestic relations section may modify or terminate the order without further proceedings. If there are other children on the court order, there may be a conference.
Three reasons why child support may continue even after the child reaches 18:
- The child has special needs.
- There is an agreement between the parties that requires support beyond age 18 or after the child has graduated from high school.
- There are arrears.
Arrears. If the person paying child support owes arrears, the arrears continue to accrue through the date of the termination. The domestic relations section may continue to have child support deducted in the amount of the original order to cover the arrears. In this situation, the arrears will be paid off faster.
If you object to paying support for your child beyond age 18 or their graduation from high school, you may request a hearing.
A custody agreement will create the need for transportation. At times, the transportation may become significant in terms of time and money. While there are no set rules for determining who bears the burden of the cost of transportation, a court may find that the parent moving away and creating the need for travel costs may be responsible for costs. The courts will consider the financial ability of each party to incur the costs. Please also be aware of that Pennsylvania courts have found that where one parent is responsible for transportation costs in order to exercise their partial custody, they may be entitled to a reduction in child support to cover the cost of transportation.
In addition to costs, parents also want to know whose responsibility it is to transport between the parents. This designation is not always considered, but can cause unnecessary headaches if not defined clearly. Even if the parties are amicable, it is a good idea to establish who transports where and when, especially if there is considerable distance between the parents.
In determining which parent will get custody, will the courts give greater weight to keeping siblings together? What about half-siblings?
The main focus of the court is to determine the best interest of the child. Whether the best of interest of the child is to be with their siblings primarily is to be determined. In all cases, the courts use the 16 factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child or children. The courts understand that the relationship a child shares with their siblings is an important one that can play a large role in their development. As such, one of the factors the courts consider is which party is likely to keep siblings together. The courts will also consider the requests of the child, depending on their age and reasoning. This is includes if the child is requesting to live apart from their siblings.
In Philadelphia, the courts have looked at a compelling reason standard. This means that the courts will usually look toward keeping the child with their siblings unless there is a compelling reason not to do so. However, if there is a substantial custody arrangement that can still satisfy the goal of significant relationship between the children, the courts will allow the separation of the siblings. These principals can also be applied to half siblings.
The only person allowed to sue for custody is someone that has “standing” under the law. In order to sue for custody you must prove that you have legal standing to do so. The following individuals may file for physical or legal custody under PA law:Read More
Custody falls into two categories in Pennsylvania: physical and legal. Physical custody is the actual possession and control of a child. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including, but not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions. Pennsylvania family courts may award one or more of the following types of custody.Read More