WHICH HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS? Holiday Custody

With Thanksgiving arriving next week, and Christmas, Hanukkah and a host of other holidays just around the corner, I wanted to recirculate last year’s holiday custody post, updated slightly. Though another year may have passed, it rings just as true. On the Simpsons, Helen Lovejoy is often quoted as saying, “Will someone please think of the children?” I think this is a particularly appropriate sentiment during the holiday season. For families who have not been “intact” for some time or others who are going through transition, often the stress of the holiday season, coupled with the additional stress of new…

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GRANDPARENT CUSTODY – Grandparents Rights: Wrong?

Switching gears in what had been a few decades of continually expanding rights for grandparents in the state of Pennsylvania, on September 9, 2016, in the case of D.P. & B.P., his wife, v. J.P. & A.P., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion which would now serve to limit the times at which grandparents can seek partial custody of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania.In D.P., the Court framed the question before them as being whether or not “the parents’ fundamental rights are violated by the conferral of standing based solely on a parental separation lasting at least six (6) months.”…

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What the Heck is Generations – Part 2

So, if the parties end up in Court, and aren’t able to work out a custody schedule/parenting plan in their mediation session, there is still a long (and expensive ) road ahead of them: A Generation’s Conciliation where the parties come with their attorneys and meet with a generation’s conciliator: A judicial conciliation where the parties come with their attorneys and meet with the judge. There may be more than one of these if perhaps the judge wants the parties to go to the Impact program (drug and alcohol testing), psychological evaluations, or other treatment or testing. Typically, the judges…

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CHILD CUSTODY – What the Heck is Generations – Or, How a Custody Action Gets Started

As I have mentioned before, one of the very common issues that comes up as part of the uncoupling process is how to address custodial arrangements for any children born of the parties’ relationship.  To be honest, that statement doesn’t actually cover all of the possible custody actions in Pennsylvania.  Obviously, children don’t necessarily have to arise out of relationships that would come with other uncoupling issues.  Further, there can be custody actions brought by “non-parents” like step-parents, grandparents and anyone who stands “in loco parentis” (which basically means that they discharge the duties of a parent regardless of their…

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Vacation (custody) All I ever Wanted

I am sure that if you haven’t already, at some point this summer just about all of you have had a conversation with a friend or relative about their plans for their big summer vacation this year: where they are taking the kids, what they are doing, how much those ride-all-day passes cost at the amusement park, etc. What they probably didn’t share with you is whether or not their attorney had to go to court to make that happen. Seems kind of crazy, doesn’t it? That somewhere between airfare, hotel rooms, and tickets to Wally World, your friend or…

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But what if we can’t agree? Ways to resolve legal custody/co-parenting issues.

In light of the fact that the vast majority of parents share the right to make major decisions with regards to their children (as discussed in my last post), it is not uncommon for disputes to arise between them as to what is in the best interest of their child. There are several ways they can go about trying to resolve these issues: 1. Litigation: Right, wrong, or other, a traditional way to “resolve” these disputes has been to run to court. In Allegheny County, there is at least one judge hearing motions pretty much every day of the week—sometimes…

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Who’s the Boss? An Introduction to Legal Custody

When most people think about custody, they think about where their child is going to be, with whom and at what time. This first kind of custody that most often comes to mind is what we call physical custody.  It is the actual schedule that dictates with which parent (or grandparent or in loco parentis person) a child will be with at a particular period of time.  The physical custody components may include rules for vacations, holidays, when and where you meet, etc.  However, as most folks know, there is a whole lot more to raising a child than just…

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Should I Stay or Should I go Now Part 3

  So how do you show you’re separated, you ask? Well, what is separation can be very tricky. It is a fact specific determination that is not terribly well defined. The rule is that you “stop living in a husband and wife-like manner.” (The quote is old. This works the same way for same sex couples now that same sex marriages are recognized in PA.) Whether you “are living in a husband and wife-like manner” is very specific to an individual couple, as you look at how your lives have changed since the alleged separation date. The most important fact,…

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SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO NOW – Part 1

I mentioned in a blog post earlier this year that the beginning of the New Year tends to bring with it new divorce flings and cases. While the actual filings peak in March of the year, as I write this I am sure there are people who have been contemplating separating from their spouse or who plan on talking with a lawyer in the near future.  Whether or not you separate is a huge decision. When you separate can have huge ramifications in potential divorce litigation. When and how you separate, i.e., the day you “stop living in a husband…

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No Place Like Home for the Holidays

A few Thoughts on the Holidays First, let me start by apologizing for my delay in getting this blogpost out. It certainly would have been more applicable a few weeks ago prior to the Hanukkah holiday. Nonetheless, some of the takeaways from this post will be useful throughout the year. On the Simpsons, Helen Lovejoy is often quoted as saying, “Will someone please think of the children?” I think this is a particularly appropriate sentiment during the holiday season. For families who have not been “intact” for some time or others who are going through transition, oftentimes stress of the…

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A Few More Thoughts on the Holidays

A FEW MORE THOUGHTS ON THE HOLIDAYS While the focus of my last blog post was on people facing the holidays who have separated, I think it’s important to recognize the fact that there are many individuals, some of whom are reading this, who have decided to “stick it out” through the holiday season. A cursory review of statistics will show you that there is a significant spike in filing for divorce January through March. As a practitioner, I can assure you that a large portion of this is attributed to people deciding to “stick it out through the holidays”…

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Loco Means Crazy, Right? Maybe.

But not really. In this case, the “loco” is In Loco Parentis. (Yes, lawyers still love the occasion Latin phrase.) Basically, it’s just the legal term of art for acting like a parent or doing the things a parent would normally do for a child. It’s also the topic of this week’s post as very recently, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania may have changed the rules on this one. A lot of the folks reading this have had step-parents in their lives, either as a role that they are now fulfilling or have fulfilled in the past, or as someone…

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CHILD CUSTODY – YOURS MINE OUR – ALWAYS OURS

Rebecca A. Myers, Esquire February 1 at 3:38pm ·  Yours, Mine, Ours, ALWAYS Ours – Child Custody Custody litigation can be emotionally exhausting and financially devastating. I think that some of this happens because people do not fully understand: 1) how the court system operates; or2) what the court system typically does or thinks about you and your kids. The title of my post is important. As I discussed last week, property can be divided–you can each take half of the bank account, you can sell off the house, etc. THINGS are divisible. THINGS can break down into his and hers…

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