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Norristown Family Law Blog

Do grandparents have rights when it comes to custody?

Grandparents play an important role in their grandchildren's lives and the larger family dynamic. In the best case scenario, grandparents have consistent access to their grandchildren, with the parents' blessing, and are able to develop close, positive relationships with them. However, best case scenario doesn't happen all the time, and there are times when grandparents may find themselves facing an uphill battle trying to get access to their grandchildren. If you are currently dealing with this type of scenario, you may be able to file for custody in the family courts, but you need to be aware of what that entails.

Situations when a grandparent may be able to file for custody

Like many other states, the Pennsylvania courts have set up specific guidelines for when a grandparent has grounds to petition the courts for physical custody, sometimes referred to as visitation, or legal custody. One of the following situations must be present:

Parental relocation: what are the laws in Pennsylvania?

If you feel the need for a major lifestyle change or a fresh start after your divorce, you're not alone. It's common for other big changes, like a new job or a cross-country move, to follow your change in relationship status. However, if you have children with your ex and are planning on taking them along with you, there are rules and procedures that must be followed.

In Pennsylvania, the term relocation usually refers to a move a significant distance away that may impact the nonresidential parent's ability to exercise parenting time. A move across town is not likely to be an issue, but if it will take the child out of the county or even the school district, you'll need to give the other parent notice. You are also required by the current custody law to provide a very specific Counteraffidavit to the other parent that they must file timely if they object to your proposed move.

Avoiding child custody complications during the summer

As summer approaches, many parents in Pennsylvania are deciding how they will spend time with their children. In many cases, this involves making travel plans, child care arrangements and decisions regarding extracurricular activities. These issues can be more complicated for parents who are no longer involved romantically and could require additional legal measures to be taken in regard to child custody.

In a perfect world, parents would be able to communicate openly and honestly about summer plans. As such, they would be able to compromise; however, this is not always the case. In some instances, a parent must ask for court intervention to modify a child custody plan to accommodate summer plans. Because courts do not always approve such requests, it may be beneficial to wait to finalize travel plans until after court proceedings. Additionally, it could take a couple of months for the court proceedings to be completed, making it necessary to ensure that requests are made early.

Seeking an adoption in Pennsylvania

There are a variety of different types of parents in Pennsylvania and across the country. In addition to parents who are hands on or those who take a different approach, there are parents who have a biological connection to a child and those who do not. For many of the families without the biological relationship to the child, it does not change the person's impact or role in the child's life. In some cases, it may become prudent for people to ensure that they have legal rights in regard a child by seeking an adoption.

The Law Offices of Maribeth Blessing, LLC have been helping families through the adoption process for over 20 years. Attorney Blessing has experience with the different proceedings and requirements in several different Pennsylvania counties. In the past, she has helped stepparents and same-sex couples achieve their family goals.

Charlie Sheen involved in child support disagreement

There are many parents in Pennsylvania who struggle to ensure that their children's needs are met. This may also be the case even for those who are perceived to be wealthy. For example, actor Charlie Sheen is now embroiled in child support disputes with two women as he seeks to have the amount he pays each month reduced.

One case involves Brooke Mueller, the mother of his twin boys, now 7. Mueller claims that Sheen agreed to pay $55,000 each month in support of the boys; however, she says that she only received approximately $21,000 for March and April combined. She is seeking the court to intervene over the remaining $89,000. Sheen has recently filed paperwork requesting that the amount he pays each month be reduced, claiming that the agreement was made at a time when he was making over $600,000 each month. Now, he says he only makes approximately $87,000 each month.

Woman seeks child custody of her son following illness

While some in Pennsylvania have complication-free pregnancies, others do not and, ultimately, find themselves in the hospital. Being ill during pregnancy can make caring for another child complicated; many families are able to cope by relying on family members and friends. Unfortunately, one out-of-state woman hospitalized due to pregnancy complications claims that a woman she considered a friend -- and former employee of the Department of Children's Services -- took advantage of their relationship by seeking child custody of her young son while she was in the hospital.

The mother claims that she first met the woman when she was 15. She and her brother were both in foster care and her relationship with the woman stems from the woman's role with DCS. However, the teenager and the woman reportedly became close friends.

It is important to talk to an attorney before filing for divorce

If you've made a decision to divorce, you are probably anxious to move out of your home, get the legal paperwork filed and start the next chapter of your life.

However, getting help from an experienced family law attorney before moving - and before actually filing anything - is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. A divorce attorney will help you make a plan to navigate the days and weeks ahead with as little disruption as possible, while looking out for your best interests.

State says man must pay child support for child who is not his

Parents have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that their children receive the financial and emotional care they require. Most parents in Pennsylvania are more than willing to meet these obligations to the children. However, one out-of-state man claims he was recently notified that he will be required to pay child support with whom he shares no biological connection.

The man says that he received a letter from the state informing him that he would be expected to financially support his estranged wife's 1-year-old child. Although the couple are still legally married, the man says they split after two years of marriage and have only communicated infrequently through social media and phone calls over the course of the last several years. As a result of the letter, he contacted state officials to notify him of the error and offer to take a paternity test.

Family law mediation: Making divorce more peaceful

Thanks to its portrayal in movies and on television, many people have the mistaken impression that divorce is always bitter and contentious. While it is true that some couples in Pennsylvania may struggle with negative emotions during the divorce process, many are able to come together in the spirit of communication and compromise to make necessary decisions. For these couples, there are more peaceful, less expensive paths to divorce, including family law mediation.

Some statistics indicate that approximately 70 percent of couples seeking a divorce arrive at court without legal representation. Often, this decision is made to reduce costs and ensure they the couple remains in control of their processes. However, the average person is unfamiliar with the process and all that it entails. As a result, they often end up facing additional expenses in the long run as a result of mistakes.

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