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Norristown Family Law Blog

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.

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.

Family who wants adoption loses custody of foster child

During what could be times of severe stress for children in Pennsylvania, there are often foster homes willing to step in and provide stability and love. While in many cases, these homes are a temporary stop, others could turn into a more permanent arrangement through adoption. One out-of-state family was hoping for this outcome in regards to their now 6-year-old foster daughter. A recent court ruling, however, appears to make it unlikely that this will happen.

The family claims that the young girl had been in two previous foster homes before she came to live with them at the age of two. In 2012, there were reportedly some plans developed that would result in the girl living with her biological father, but those plans fell through, prompting the foster family to work to retain custody. Although they have fought to keep her, the family recently lost their last appeal, meaning they will have to turn custody over to distant relatives of the girl who live out-of-state.

Judge issues interim child custody order in Bristol Palin case

Couples in Pennsylvania separate in different stages of their relationships for a variety of reasons. Those with or expecting children must make decisions regarding how they will parent their children together. Child custody issues for parents of infants can be slightly more complicated if the child is breastfeeding. However, an out-of-state judge recently ruled that the potential of disrupting Bristol Palin's breastfeeding schedule cannot prevent the child's father from having overnight visits.

The child's father, Dakota Meyer, claims that 25-year-old Palin previously agreed that he could visit with the child for day visits. However, she allegedly changed her mind, saying instead that he could spend four hours with the baby, when he indicated that he wanted to spend time with the baby without Palin present. In their recent court case, Palin requested an interim ruling that would give her primary physical custody with Meyer only receiving visitation. She claimed that overnight visits would disrupt her breastfeeding routine.

You should get legal help before moving out

After deciding to divorce, the last thing you want to do is continue living with your soon-to-be ex. However, that is exactly what you should do. Moving out of the home before seeking legal advice is not a good idea. Unfortunately, that is often what happens.

Why should you stay in the marital home?

Courts are unlikely to upset the status quo

If you have children, moving out of the family home may reduce your parenting time. Moving out of the family home and leaving your children with the other parent - even if you see them frequently - may reduce your parenting time. If you move into a small apartment, there may not be room for your children to stay overnight with you.

Co-parenting after a divorce

When a couple in Pennsylvania decides to marry, they typically do so with the thought that they will spend the rest of their lives together. However, the pressures of life, including professions and children, can place a significant strain on a relationship. For some, this strain creates obstacles in the relationship that cannot be overcome and can often lead the couple to a divorce. While this is the best choice for many couples, those with children must be able to maintain a civil relationship in order to come together and co-parent.

Following some divorces, emotions are understandably high. However, managing those emotions in the presence of children is likely in their best interests. Some professionals claim that it is important to refrain from criticizing their former spouse in the presence of their children. While it may be easy for a parent to lose his or her temper while communicating with a former spouse, doing so could have a negative impact on children and hamper the ability of parents to make decisions together.

The impact of child support on federal taxes

At this time of year, many people are pulling together the necessary documents to file their federal and state taxes. For many this is a relatively straightforward process. However, those who receive or pay child support in Pennsylvania and in other states may have questions about how to treat such payments as they complete their tax returns.

Perhaps most importantly for parents who receive such payments is the knowledge that they are not taxable. On the other hand, those who make payments cannot use them as a deduction. Only one parent can claim a child exemption.