October 24, 2012

Eminent Domain of Private Property in Pennsylvania, Courts define ‘taking’ of private property

The US Constitution, Fifth Amendment states: “No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”   The law talks about the power of “eminent domain.” This is taking of private property exercised by government authorities for a public purpose and […]

October 23, 2012

Who has custody right over frozen pre-embryos, the wife or the husband?

This is the case of Reber v. Reiss, No. 1351 EDA 2011 (April 11, 2012), the legal battle for the custody right of frozen pre-embryos by the wife.  Andrea Lynn Reiss was fighting for custody of thirteen frozen pre-embryos which were created out from her eggs and the husband’s sperm. The embryos were born through Assisted […]

Pennsylvania new law will help sexual abuse victims

Pennsylvania joins 49 other US states to fast track litigation of sexual abuse cases. The new law, 42 Pa. C.S. § 5920 (Expert Testimony in Certain Criminal Proceedings s) was passed on Jun. 29, 2012 or HB 1264 and took effect on August 29, 2012. The law is intended to help victims of sexual abuse […]

Sandusky’s conviction has resulted in collateral damage, a lesson to learn…

Sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment last Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, the former Assistant football coach of   Penn State University, Jerry Sandusky, now 68 was moved to State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill to serve his sentence for the rest of his life. The lawyer of one of the victims said, he may have […]

The “best interest of the child” in filing Child Custody action

When a relationship ends, it is not the end of everything. It is just the beginning of a long legal battle for child custody. There are so many things to consider in enforcing one’s ones right over the child and sometimes … you will have to make a difficult decision. Pennsylvania has extensive laws about […]

September 12, 2012

Does Marital Misconduct or Cheating Determine the amount of Alimony?

Marital misconduct cannot be factored in when dividing up assets or property in Pennsylvania, it can be used as a basis for an alimony decision. Marital misconduct is rarely factored in during decisions about child support. Alimony is authorized in Pennsylvania pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3701(a), which states that “where a divorce decree has been entered, […]

August 31, 2012

Common Law Marriage Invalidated Declaratory Judgment / Collateral Estoppel

Common Law Marriage Invalidated   Declaratory Judgment / Collateral Estoppel Nancy appealed from the trial court order that granted Cort’s petition for declaratory judgment pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3306. Nancy and Cort began living together in September 1990. Three children were born of this relationship. In November 2006, Nancy filed a complaint for child and spousal support […]

August 14, 2012

N.R.H. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights of J.L.H.

544 BUCKS COUNTY LAW REPORTER 2012 BCBA N.R.H. Invol. Term. of Parental Rights [  85 Bucks Co. L. Rep. N.R.H. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights Mother appeals decree granting Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Agency’s request to terminate her parental rights. Parent and child –  Involuntary termination of parental rights – Grounds for […]

August 9, 2012

Procedure Modification

PROCEDURE 11-10 MODIFICATION / TERMINATION The mother appealed from an order that modified the parties’ child support. She claimed that her procedural due process rights were infringed upon by the trial court. The father had filed a petition for modification of a prior support order. The petition failed to specifically aver any facts or request […]

Revised Child Custody

CUSTODY 13-1A REVISED CHILD CUSTODY ACT STATUTORY FACTORS REVIEW The mother appealed from the trial court order that granted permission for the father to move from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, to Barton, New York, with the parties’ male child. The appeal required consideration of the procedures and legal standards set forth in the newly enacted Child […]

Amount of Support

SUPPORT 11-1 AMOUNT OF SUPPORT 11-1.28 Guidelines/Deviation The wife is a German citizen whose relationship with the husband bore a single child during 2003. The wife married the husband on October 29, 2005. In order to facilitate the wife’s lawful immigration status and permit her to become a permanent resident of the United States, the […]

Partial Custody

CUSTODY 13-4 PARTIAL CUSTODY 13-4.1A Restrictions The record reflects that the trial court imposed restrictions on the father’s periods of partial custody. The trial court ordered that the mother or any other single caregiver was to be present in the area where the father was visiting with the child. Although the fact that the mother […]

Modifying Custody | Best interests of the child

What does the law mean by best interests of the child? Section 5338 of the Child Custody Act, 23 Pa.C.S. § 5321 et seq., implements changes to requests to modify existing custody orders. That section provides that, upon petition, a trial court may modify a custody order if it serves the best interests of the […]

August 6, 2012

Termination of Parental Rights Statutory Provisions

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS 15-7 STATUTORY REQUISITES/PROVISIONS The father sought review of the trial court order that terminated his parental rights to his son pursuant to the Adoption Act, 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511(a)(8) and (b). The trial court found that the child had been removed from his father for a two-year period, far beyond the […]

Custody Relocation Best Interests

CUSTODY RELOCATION 13-8.7 Best Interests The mother appealed from the trial court order that denied her petition for relocation and a related request to modify the terms of custody for the parties’ six-year-old son. The recently enacted new Child Custody Act became effective on January 24, 2011. 23 Pa.C.S. §§ 5321–5340. The new act applies […]

August 3, 2012

Procedure Miscellaneous

PROCEDURE 11-8.17 Miscellaneous The mother claimed that the trial court erred when it accepted the father’s physician’s information request form into the record and used its contents to find the father disabled; further, the trial court did not grant her, or her attorney, the opportunity to review the document prior to the trial. In order […]

August 2, 2012

Chase v. Chase

BUCKSCOUNTYLAW REPORTER 527  Chase v. Chase 2012 After the entry of an order modifying an award of alimony and child support, Mother appeals this Court’s Order alleging that Father misrepresented his income and failed to report a change in income, and that a change in the amount of alimony and child support should have been […]

July 31, 2012

Lawsuit Settlement Funds and Equitable Distribution in PA

MARITAL PROPERTY – Tort Claims Focht v. Focht, 32 A.3d 668 (Pa. 2011). The wife sought review of an order from the Superior Court that vacated a trial court’s equitable distribution award in the parties’ divorce action. The trial court had affirmed a special master’s equitable distribution award, based on a determination that proceeds from an accident […]

July 8, 2012

Survivor benefits under a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

2012 BCBA Leonhardt v. Leonhardt [ 85 Bucks Co. L. Rep. ] 580 BUCKS COUNTY LAW REPORTER Husband appeals this Court’s Order holding that the terms of a Marital Settlement Agreement did incorporate the payment of survivor benefits under a Qualified Domestic Relations Order from Husband’s pension in the event that Husband were to predecease Wife. Domestic relations […]

Philadelphia Tax Assessment Appeal 2012-2013

Tax Assessment Appeal – Philadelphia Common Level Ratio revised to 25.2% for 2012 – 2013 STEB, known as the State Tax Equalization Board has revised the 2012 common level tax rate for property in Philadelphia from 18.1% to 25.2% for tax assessment appeal purposes.  This function of the Board is to establish a common level ratio of assessed […]