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Superior Court Rules Child Support May Survive Payor's Death

By Michael Bertin The Legal Intelligencer  June 9, 2009 It is understood by family law practitioners that child support generally terminates upon the emancipation of the child or the death of the payor. Pursuant to Pennsylvania caselaw, parents do not have a duty to provide for minor children in their estate. However, pursuant to the recent...

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Pennsylvania Child Custody Jurisdiction Lost Despite Parent Remaining in Pennsylvania

In 2004, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA. The UCCJEA replaced the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, or UCCJA. It was believed that the UCCJEA would solve many of the problems that occurred under the UCCJA regarding child custody jurisdictional disputes. Under the U...

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Incarceration Terminates Child Support, Remits Arrears in Plunkard

As most family law practitioners are aware, the 2007 Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Nash v. Herbster was a case of first impression applying the then fairly new Rule 1910.19(f) to incarceration as being a substantial change in circumstances for purposes modifying or terminating child support, after considering the official comment to said rule...

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Court Orders Attorney Fees in Child Custody Contempt Case

The recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Hopkins v. Byes reiterates that it may be appropriate for a trial court to order attorney fees against a party found in contempt for failing to follow a child custody order. Hopkins v. Byes is a custody case that arose in Erie County, Pa. The relevant facts of the case are as follows: Sonya Byes and Jo...

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Court Enforces Rules for In Camera Interviews with Children

The recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Hopkins v. Byes reiterates that it may be appropriate for a trial court to order attorney fees against a party found in contempt for failing to follow a child custody order. Hopkins v. Byes is a custody case that arose in Erie County, Pa. The relevant facts of the case are as follows: Sonya Byes and Jo...

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Unincorporated Divorce Property Settlement Agreement Enforceable

The Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Annechino v. Joire provided a reminder and clarification to family law practitioners regarding the enforceability of property settlement agreements. Donna Annechino and Kenneth Joire entered into a property settlement agreement May 15, 2001. On Aug. 2, 2001, a divorce decree was entered, divorcing the partie...

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Statute Requires Collection of Child Support Arrears From Injury Settlement

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently addressed the application of the relatively new Domestic Relations Statute 23 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4308.1 pertaining to "Collection of Overdue Support for Monetary Awards," in the case of Faust v. Walker. Interestingly, the appellant in this case was the domestic relations office of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.

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Child Support Modification Retroactive to Date of Misrepresentation

In Pennsylvania, a modification to a child support/spousal support/alimony pendente lite order will generally be retroactive to the date that the petition for modification is filed. However, pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4352(e), "modification may be applied to an earlier period if the petitioner was precluded from filing a petition for modifica...

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Incarceration Now a Change in Circumstances to Modify Child Support

The recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Nash v. Herbster is a case of first impression with regard to the effect of the new Subsection (f) to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1910.19 regarding support modification. In this case, the Superior Court held that incarceration may be considered a change in circumstances warranting a modificati...

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Sexual Assault Alone Does Not Establish Standing in Protection from Abuse Cases

In the recent case of Scott v. Shay, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that a victim of a sexual assault who is not a family or household member as defined under the Protection From Abuse Act does not attain standing under the act by virtue of the sexual assault itself. The pertinent facts in Scott are as follows: "At some point in the 1980s, wh...

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