If you already have a custody order, there will likely be a separation holiday schedule. The holiday schedule will trump the normal physical custody schedule. But what if you do not have a holiday schedule or a custody order? What is a typical holiday schedule? The answer is it depends because every family dynamic is […]
CUSTODY COUNSEL FEES
Custody – Can I get the other party to pay my Attorney fees? When a complaint for custody is filed, there is hope the parents can decide what is best for their children with guidance from conciliators, attorneys, or mediators. There are contentious cases with numerous filings, hearings, and extensive litigation which results in significant […]
PARENT COMMUNICATION – THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!
The words “I have it in writing” from a client before a custody trial is a dream come true. It eliminates the “he said, she said” issues. There it is, in black and white. As technology evolves, the way people communicate changes. Now the words “I have it in writing” are pictures of text messages. […]
SHARED LEGAL CUSTODY – COURTS CAN AWARD EACH PARENT FINAL DECISION MAKING ON LIMITED ISSUES
Disagreements between parties on legal custody issues are not uncommon. However, if the disagreement escalates to a level of high conflict that affects the child, one parent could lose the ability to make certain decisions in the future. Legal custody is the right to make decisions on behalf of a child. Shared legal custody requires […]
RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH VS BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently decided that an order restricting the manner of speech to protect the psychological well-being and privacy of a child in a custody dispute is Constitutional. S.B. v S.S. 39 WAP 2019. As with many separations, Mother and Father entered into a custody agreement. In this case the agreement quickly […]
CAN I CHANGE MY CHILD’S NAME?
Changing the name of a child usually requires court approval but there are exceptions to this rule. For example, a separate petition is not required in an adoption proceeding to change the child’s name. Where court approval is required, a Petition must be filed. The petitioner has the burden of proving that the proposed name […]
SHOULD I CONSIDER CO-PARENTING COUNSELING?
Co-parenting counseling is a therapeutic service that can help individuals communicate effectively in a separated family or divorce to benefit the children. This service is not a magical quick fix but rather a process whereby parents or caregivers work with a trained mental health professional to learn how to communicate in a way that focuses […]
DEALING WITH A LETTER FROM CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES
If you receive a letter from Children and Youth Services notifying you that you are suspected of child abuse, it is completely natural to panic. You will likely be petrified of what may happen as a result of receiving such a letter. The first thing that you should do when you receive such a letter […]
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR CUSTODY TRIAL
If parents are unable to reach an agreement on custody of their children, a judge will hear all relevant evidence in your case and make a decision as to what custody schedule is in the best interests of the child. In ordering any form of custody, the judge is required consider the following factors, while […]
CHILD’S ENTRANCE INTO FULL-DAY SCHOOL DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT ONE PARENT HAVE PRIMARY PHYSICAL CUSTODY
In R.S. v. T.T., 2015 Pa. Super. 72 (Pa. Super. 2015), the Superior Court considered whether the trial court properly awarded Mother primary physical custody of a child entering full-day school. The parents had previously shared physical custody of the child since he was very young. Additionally, the parents lived 14 miles apart. Mother primarily […]
WHAT IF I AM SEEKING A CHILD CUSTODY ORDER BUT I HAVE A HISTORY OF CRIMINAL OR ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR?
Pennsylvania law requires that ever person who files a child custody action complete and file a Criminal Record Abuse History Verification with the custody action. You will need to disclose certain criminal or abuse history concerning yourself and any other adult living in your household. A blank verification form must be attached to the Custody […]
SPECIFIC FACTORS MUST BE CONSIDERED IN CHILD CUSTODY RELOCATION CASES
The trial court must consider and apply the ten (10) factors set forth in the recently amended custody statute when a parent requests court permission to relocate a child in a child custody case. At a relocation hearing, the judge must consider 10 specific factors and give weighted consideration to those factors that affect the […]
CHILD CUSTODY LITIGATION SPECIFIC FACTORS MUST BE CONSIDERED BY THE TRIAL COURT
A recent Pennsylvania Superior Court decision has determined that a trial court judge in a child custody case must consider factors set forth in Pennsylvania’s newly enacted child custody statute in making an award of child custody. On November 23, 2010, the Pennsylvania legislature enacted the Child Custody Act, Act No. 112 of 2010. The […]
CHILD CUSTODY – WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?
An allegation of child sexual abuse, even a false one, will change your life. This is particularly true in a child custody case. Your character will be called into question and you will sense tension between you and your friends, family and co-workers. Your child will probably be negatively impacted. Your child may have to […]
CAN MENTAL HEALTH RECORDS BE REVEALED IN CHILD CUSTODY CASES?
If you are concerned about a party’s mental health history impacting how he or she interacts with your child, you may wonder whether a custody court can consider mental health records. This is a rather complex area of the law so this article will only summarize some basic points for consideration. Generally speaking, confidential communications […]
BEWARE OF THE IMPACT THAT SOCIAL MEDIA CAN HAVE IN YOUR DIVORCE AND CUSTODY CASE
If you are involved in a divorce or child custody case, you should be aware of how social media can impact your case. Use of social media evidence in divorce and custody cases is now very common. While it may seem harmless for one to post a picture or comment on social media, the information […]
5 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO BEFORE FILING A CHILD CUSTODY ACTION
If you are a parent, grandparent and other caregiver who is eager to fight in court about custody of children you should pause and consider what is involved in doing so. You may be angry about the other party’s behavior and consequently communication has broken down. Child custody battles are expensive, exhausting and often do […]
5 COMMON SENSE POINTERS FOR SUCCEEDING IN YOUR CHILD CUSTODY CASE
Child custody cases are some of the most stressful cases. Parents, children, and extended family members are all on edge during a child custody case and the stress can negatively impact families so much that litigants sometimes give up. Following these 5 common sense pointers can help you get through your child custody case with […]
EMERGENCY CUSTODY RELIEF IN PENNSYLVANIA, DOES IT EXIST?
Pennsylvania’s Child Custody Act permits a court to award a custody litigant emergency relief in certain limited circumstances. Pa. Rule of Civil Procedure 1915.13 provides that “[a]t any time after commencement of the action, the court may on application or its own motion grant appropriate interim or special relief. The relief may include, but is […]
CUSTODY: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Child Custody How is child custody determined? Pennsylvania’s Child Custody Act sets forth that the court’s must consider the child’s best interest in making a custody determination by considering all relevant factors, giving weighted consideration to those factors which affect the safety of the child: (1) Which party is more likely […]