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Philadelphia Family Law Blog

Can I keep my child's parent from being around another person?

There are moms and dads in the Philadelphia area who are living separately, yet still trying their best to raise their children together. This arrangement usually means that they follow a child custody order or agreement, and this agreement ordinarily ensures both parents to get adequate time with their children.

The custody order will provide when and under what circumstances the non-custodial parent gets to see the child. There may still be outstanding questions about who else the child may see when the child is with either parent.

Overview of how to get a Protection from Abuse Order

Pennsylvanians who are domestic violence victims have probably heard about Restraining Orders, which called Protection from Abuse Orders in this state. But, victims may still have no idea how to get one. Situations involving domestic violence are, of course, very serious. As such, it's important to understand how to seek the protection an individual needs and deserves.

First, a victim should call the police. But, not all reports of domestic violence get prosecuted, and this not normally the fault of the victim. Moreover, there is only so much the criminal justice system can do. Eventually, an abuser is going to be released from jail. A Protection from Abuse Order can be invaluable in these situations.

What a lawyer can do to help Philadelphia grandparents

Many grandparents have close relationships with their grandchildren. In many situations, grandparents babysit their grandchildren regularly or at least see them frequently. And, in some cases, a grandparent may even step in and take over for the parent as the child's caregiver.

For these sorts of Pennsylvanians, who often do what they do out of love for their grandchildren and for no other hidden motive, it can be a real shock should they suddenly be told "no" when the try to maintain their relationship with the grandkids. Although, in some cases, it is because of something the grandparent did or failed to do, in many, if not most cases, it is because for whatever reason, the grandparents are now dealing with an unsympathetic son-in-law or daughter-in-law.

"Imputed income" in child support situations

This Pennsylvania blog's ongoing discussion of how income is calculated for child support purposes continues today. One special situation that frequently comes up in child support cases is when one parent believes that the other parent is not earning as much income as he or she reasonably could, as this may be an effort to avoid paying child support.

Under Pennsylvania law, each parent is presumed to be earning what or he or she is actually capable of earning. And, as the assumption is parents would want to do what is best for their children. In this case, this means providing financial security. However, the law also recognizes that parents do from time to time earn less than what they could for good reasons.

More on what counts as income for child support purposes

A previous post discussed how a parent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who is subject to a child support order can expect to have just about any money they make counted as "income" for child support purposes, even if that income would not have to be reported on a person's tax returns.

This principle holds true even for items that are not really "income" in the traditional sense but are one-time payments to one of the two parents. Although any number of arrangements can lead to a parent's receiving a large lump sum payment, common sources of a lump sum payment include payments from insurance settlements, legal settlements and judgments and large payments like tax refunds or a lump sum payment from the Social Security Administration.

What counts as income under child support formula?

In Pennsylvania, the amount of child support a person owes depends on how much income both parents make at the time the order is entered. Although in some cases this calculation is as simple as looking at each parent's recent paychecks, in other situations, what is or is not considered income for child support purposes can be the source of a lot of contention.

Under Pennsylvania child support laws, "income" has a very broad definition and may even include items that a person does not have to report on his or her tax returns. For instance, it includes payments from the Social Security Administration, unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits, as well as income from retirement plans, even if the plan itself is exempt from taxation.

Pa. lawmakers mulling bill to protect domestic violence victims

It's not uncommon in Pennsylvania for people to have firearms in their residence. Whether it's for hunting, target practice or self-defense, many people keep guns at home. This could potentially become problematic if a gun owner is accused of domestic violence. Many people say that there is currently a loophole that does not adequately control the possession of firearms by domestic abusers. State lawmakers are considering changing the law to close this loophole.

Currently, when a person is served a Protection from Abuse order in Pennsylvania, that person is supposed to surrender their firearms. They must hand the guns over to law enforcement or to a relative or friend within 24 hours of the PFA's being issued. They must then sign an affidavit saying that they have no weapons.

Get experienced legal representation for divorce issues

Most people in Philadelphia have heard the oft-cited statistic that about half of all marriages end in divorce. Divorce is something that can happen in the first years of a marriage or it can happen after many years. Whether it's infidelity, simply growing apart or something else, many people choose to end their marriages.

Recently, we discussed the higher rates of divorce among older people in recent years. The term "gray divorce" has been applied to this phenomenon, and research indicates that many members of the Baby Boomer generation have chosen to dissolve their marriages. As they say in the Army, if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Many people of all ages are applying this philosophy to their personal lives and are getting out of marriages that aren't working out.

Constitutional considerations could affect grandparents' rights

Not too long ago, we described the criteria that Pennsylvania courts use to determine grandparents' rights to custody of their grandchildren. Philadelphia County grandparents may wonder if there are other legal considerations that could impact their rights with respect to their grandchildren. There is a U.S. Supreme Court case that dealt with the relationship between grandparents' rights and parents' rights. This blog post will give a 10,000 foot view of this Supreme Court decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court usually does not wade into issues of state family law. It may do so, however, if there appear to be important constitutional rights at stake. This was the case back in 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court heard a grandparents' rights case from Washington state. In past decisions, the Supreme Court has ruled that parents have a fundamental right to make certain decisions regarding the care, custody and control of their children.

What are the two types of divorce in Pennsylvania?

When a Pennsylvania couple decides to divorce, they are frequently unaware of the options available to end their marriage. In this state, there are two types of divorce: a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce. In general, people who are seeking to end the marriage as quickly and as free of legal issues as possible will use a no-fault divorce. However, there are times when a fault divorce is the strategy to take.

A no-fault divorce can be used if both parties agree to the divorce. When one party files for divorce and 90 days have gone by after the other spouse has been served, the parties can file what is known as an Affidavit of Consent. It is also possible for the parties to settle any property issues with a Property Settlement Agreement. With a no-fault divorce, the case can be concluded relatively quickly, but the parties are required to settle certain matters together without any disagreements coming to the forefront.