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First Impression: Bifurcation Under the Amended Divorce Code

The case of Bonawits v. Bonawits marks the first time the Superior Court of Pennsylvania has been faced with a bifurcation action under the amended Pennsylvania Divorce Code. A "bifurcation" or "bifurcated divorce" occurs when a trial court enters a decree of divorce or annulment prior to the final determination of property rights and interests bet...

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Superior Court Denies In-State Child-Relocation Request

The recent Superior Court case of Masser v. Miller is an interesting case because it covers a number of issues, such as the denial of an intrastate relocation petition, the weight to be given to custody evaluations and the court's power to modify a custody schedule sua sponte. In Pennsylvania, since the seminal case of Gruber v. Gruber, family law ...

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Superior Court Says No to Netherlands Child Relocation Request

The recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Fuehrer v. Fuehrer reminds the family law practitioner of the importance of an expert and a custody evaluation/assessment in relocation cases. In this case, the Superior Court vacated the trial court’s order granting mother’s petition to relocate from Westmoreland County, Pa., to the Nether...

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Best Interest of Child Paramount in Denial Of Relocation Petition

The recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Speck v. Spadafore reiterates that in a child-custody relocation case the best interest of the child is paramount. The Superior Court vacated the trial court's order granting the mother's petition to relocate from York County, near Harrisburg, to Butler County, near Pittsburgh. In Speck, the parties, C...

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Nonbiological Grandparents Granted Standing in Child Custody Case

The recent and important Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of Peters v. Costello has already sparked debates among Pennsylvania family law practitioners. The Peters case is the first of its kind. In the case, the Supreme Court held that nonbiological grandparents who stand in loco parentis to one of the parents of the child with respect to whom they ...

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Finding the Fit - The Controversy Over Custody Evaluations in Child Custody Cases

A hot topic that has often been debated among family law practitioners is the "custody evaluation." The never-ending question of whether a mental health evaluation is appropriate in a child custody case is a popular subject not only among family law practitioners but also among psychologists. It is also an interesting topic for the non-family ...

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December 2005 Family Law Alert - New Support Guidelines

December 2005 Family Law Alert - New Support Guidelines December 1, 2005 Click on the title below to open a copy of the December 2005 Family Law Alert newsletter - New Support Guidelines Family Law Alert - December 2005 (PDF)

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New Support Guidelines

Family Law Alert - New Support GuidelinesClick on the title below to open a copy of the December 2005 Family Law Alert newsletter - New Support Guidelines Family Law Alert - December 2005

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Presumption in Favor of Biological Parent In Same-Sex Custody Dispute

The recent case of Jones v. Jones may create the possibility of unrest in same-sex couples planning to have children. In the case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the Bucks County trial court's award of primary physical custody of 8-year-old twin boys to the petitioner, Patricia Jones, the nonbiological parent and former same-sex partner o...

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Disclosure Provision Has Pivotal Part in Validating Marital Agreement

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the Bucks County trial court's upholding of a marital settlement agreement that failed to delineate the value of a business owned by husband but did recite that disclosure of its value had been made. Sandra J. Paroly and Ted W. Paroly were married April 4, 1981, and separated Jan. 4, 1999. On Feb. 23, 2001,...

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