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Cranberry Township Family Law Blog

Grandparents fight each other for child custody

In Pennsylvania and elsewhere, many grandparents are raising their own grandchildren. Some of these grandparents will not just raise the children -- they will seek permanent child custody. Two divorced grandparents are actually fighting each other for child custody of their only granddaughter.

Although highly-functioning, the 8-year-old granddaughter is autistic and requires special care. Her mother has been missing for nearly two months and police believe she is no longer alive. The child's father cannot have any contact with her, as he is facing charges stemming from tampering with evidence in his wife's case.

What does equitable distribution mean?

If you and your spouse decide to divorce in Pennsylvania, one of the things you will need to do is come up with an equitable distribution of your marital assets between the two of you. But what constitutes an equitable distribution?

While no precise definition exists, the Huffington Post reports that an equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that you and your spouse must divide your marital assets 50/50 when you divorce. Rather, you must divide them in a manner that is fair and equitable under your particular circumstances.

Guilty plea for non-payment of child support for former NBA star

There are some Pennsylvania non-custodial parents who struggle every paycheck even before deducting the amount, usually court-ordered, to an ex for financial support of their children. However, because of the level of care they have for their children, they know handing over that child support is of utmost importance. In recent news, a former basketball player for the NBA could face time in prison for not paying child support.

Ruben Patterson played for a number of teams during his 10-year NBA career, amassing over $36 million. However, he recently entered a guilty plea for not paying his ex-wife the financial support for their child. He owes just over $100,000, and the charge against him is a fifth-degree felony. Although there is a possibility he could spend 12 months in prison, prosecutors say they want to hold him accountable more than see him behind bars.

Child custody issue prompts impending resolution

Unfortunately, it often takes the bad to find the good; sadder still is when a child is involved. In too many child custody cases, one parent, a grandparent or another family member is awarded guardianship because of drug use by one or both biological parents. Some Pennsylvania parents may empathize with one mother who was granted sole child custody when drugs entered the picture.

The woman's son was only 7 months old when she asked the boy's father to watch him. The boy got sick and when she got him to the hospital, she was told he had cocaine in his system. The father was charged with neglect of a dependent leading to bodily injury after leaving the illegal drug where the boy could ingest it. He is awaiting a plea hearing in criminal court.

Pennsylvania looks to improve child custody enforcement

It's important to understand that divorce and family laws evolve. That's not to say there cannot be an improvement.

There's probably no part of family law more contentious that child custody, however. This is especially true when it comes to enforcement of child custody orders - especially orders of contempt.

No divorce, but an annulment request from Nicholas Cage

Some Pennsylvania residents know falling in love can be fun, and that feeling can lead a person into making certain decisions he or she would never make otherwise. When a relationship progresses quickly into marriage, however, not getting to know each other before tying the knot can lead to disaster, namely divorce. Actor Nicholas Cage feels like he acted in haste as he entered his most recent union and is now asking not for a divorce, but for an annulment.

Court records show Cage and Erika Koike, a makeup artist, married in a quickie ceremony on March 23. Just four days later, he filed for an annulment. He says they had been drinking and claims he was too intoxicated, both when they got the marriage license and when they said, "I do." He further states he was not capable of understanding the consequences of his actions at the time.

No statute of limitations for child support in some states

Some Pennsylvania single parents who need help in financially supporting their children may never get from an ex the money to which they are entitled. Some states require the child to be under 18 years of age for a parent to collect child support; however, there are those that have no statute of limitations and a parent can seek support at any time. One woman sought and received child support almost 50 years after her ex left her and their daughter.

The little girl was 3 years old when the parents divorced in the 1970s. The court ordered the father to pay approximately $160 each month, but he fled to Canada in an effort to escape making the payments. The mother was able to effectively support her daughter and herself and never sought further court action.

Parents use child custody woes to help other parents

Pennsylvania parents who have lost custody of their children know how heart-wrenching it can be, especially when it is a result of false allegations. The fight to regain child custody can take a toll on emotions, relationships and finances. Two parents have fought, and won, their child custody battle and wanted to impart to other parents the lessons they learned along the way.

The couple had six children, and they were all removed from the home after allegations of physical abuse of one child. Although there were no details given in a report, there were marks on one of the children that hospital staff believed may have occurred as a result of violence, and the local child services agency was alerted. Once the children were gone, the parents began, with anger, the long battle toward regaining custody.

Father goes to extreme lengths to avoid paying child support

Some non-custodial parents will do just about anything to get out of making support payments to an ex. Because of technology, however, it is not as easy as it may have been 20 or more years ago to escape paying spousal or child support. Pennsylvania parents may be interested in the report of a man who tried to evade his financial responsibilities of spousal and child support by changing his identity.

The man figured he could apply for a new Social Security number in an attempt to put his past behind him. He went to a Social Security office and claimed he had never been given a number or card, as he was Amish but had recently been excommunicated from his community. Through an investigation into his background, a clerk found he had legally changed his name just months prior and that he had, in fact, been given a card in 1976.

Father faces tough sentence after nonpayment of child support

Most divorced parents in Pennsylvania know how important that regular support payment from an ex can be and what financial difficulty it can mean when it is not received. There are numerous methods by which a noncustodial parent can pay the child support needed to ensure the child has food, clothing, shelter and medical necessities. One father will be serving a prison sentence after not paying child support for many years.

A report on the matter did not say how long the man had disregarded paying the child support to his ex, but the amount he owed totaled over $200,000. Through the years there were 26 times he was held in contempt of court because he would not make any attempt to pay the support that was due. He was put in jail eight times after appearances at family court.

Nebraska State bar association Allegheny County Bar Association - RAising the bar on legal and community service Superlawyers 2012,2013,2014,2015 Avvo Rated by Super Lawyers - Mildred B. Sweeney Selected in 2012 Thomson reuters Rated by Super Lawyers - Rising Stars Flora Sweeney Hunzeker Superlawyers.com Rated by Super Lawyers - Rising Stars Heather M. Papp - Sicignano Superlawyers.com Pennsylvania bar association

Sweeney Law Offices, LLC
20581 Route 19, Suite 1
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Phone: 724-742-2590
Fax: 724-742-4409
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