Common Pitfalls of Parents in Custody Actions

Posted on 06/19/2017 at 6:57pm

Common Pitfalls of Parents in Custody Actions

Not being the primary caretaker: In most households, one parent is mostly responsible for caring for the children’s basic needs — the so called primary caretaker. The parent who is the most involved in the children’s daily lives usually has the edge in a custody case. Therefore, if you are not putting in the time to do homework with your child, feeding, bathing, reading, taking him or her to the bus stop, you are at a disadvantage in a custody case. There is no better way to lose custody than to demonstrate to a judge that you are simply not involved in raising your child.

Not being active in your child’s schedule and activities: Do you know the names of your child’s teachers? Have you ever supervised your child on a play date or taken your child to the doctor? Do you regularly attend school conferences and school events? If the answer to these is no, then it is an indication that someone else (i.e. the other parent) is the primary caretaker, not you.

Not addressing alcohol, drugs, or other parental fitness issues: A parent who even casually partakes in alcohol…

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A Smile is Worth One Thousand Words.

Posted on 06/13/2017 at 5:57pm

A Smile is Worth One Thousand Words.

Having joined the team at LaMonaca Law over three (3) years ago, I find myself feeling very fulfilled with what we are able to achieve as a team and on behalf of all of our clients. In my position as legal assistant for the law firm, I take on a multitude of jobs. Perhaps one of my most rewarding jobs is to be the first person who our clients see as they enter the law firm for the first time. I take this responsibility very seriously, as I have often been the person who has spoken to them on the phone during their first contact with us. The fear, anxiety and nervousness that they exhibited on that first phone call is also often evident on their faces as they walk through our front door.

As I hear the door open, I typically will greet each client with a warm and inviting smile. This smile is beyond genuine, as it affects me greatly to know that I have the ability to change an individuals life, simply by a smile or engaging in conversation to help put that client at ease. In doing this,…

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Extra-Curricular Activity vs. Custody Order

Posted on 06/13/2017 at 5:44pm

Extra-Curricular Activity vs. Custody Order

The school year is coming to an end and it is time to enjoy the summer!!!  Yes get out and have fun, sign up for summer activities.  For many this is a simply task but for some it can become an annual battle with the ex.!!!  The battle comes in two forms, the first is to agree on the activity and the second is whether the activity will interfere with one parent’s custodial time.  Many parents have custody orders that help deal with this situation and some don’t have custody orders at all.

Most parents would agree that it is good to have their children in extra-curricular activities.  However, some parents overstep and sign the child up for activities without first discussing with the other parent and sometime even signing the child up for activities during the other parent’s custodial time!!!!  This begs the question “If the other parent registers your child for an extra-curricular activity, and you do not agree to this activity, do you have to take the child during your custodial time?”

The answer is …What does the custody order say!!!   I know that is not the answer you were looking for…

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DID OBAMACARE LOWER THE DIVORCE RATE FOR BABY BOOMERS?

Posted on 05/23/2017 at 4:29pm

DID OBAMACARE LOWER THE DIVORCE RATE FOR BABY BOOMERS?

In 2009, prior to the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the New York Times told the heart-wrenching story of a woman and her husband with early onset dementia.  The focus of the story was not the relationship between the two, although she still loved him dearly.  Instead it centered on the mounting medical bills related to the Husband’s care, and the options available to the Wife, of which there were two: destitution or divorce.

 

Prior to Obamacare, many states put a ceiling on the assets a married couple could hold before they would qualify for Medicaid coverage.  Under the first option, destitution, the Wife would be required to spend down all of their savings, including her own 401(k), so that eventually her Husband would qualify for Medicaid. This option would make for a bleak retirement for the Wife with neither her Husband nor her savings.  Under the second option however, Wife could divorce Husband and therefore shield her assets while her Husband qualified for Medicaid. In the end, she chose divorce.

 

Under Obamacare, the Medicaid expansion component removed asset limits and…

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Getting a Protection from Abuse Order When the Courthouse is Closed

Posted on 05/10/2017 at 4:44pm

Getting a Protection from Abuse Order When the Courthouse is Closed

If you are a victim of domestic violence, and if the courthouse is closed, you are still able to obtain a Protection from Abuse Order. A hearing officer is available to receive petitions for PFAs from when the courthouse closes each day until it opens the next morning, from Friday at closing until Monday morning, and in the event there are no judges available due to illness, vacation, or duties outside of the county.

The hearing officer can, if he or she deems it necessary, enter an order prohibiting the defendant from abusing the plaintiff or minor children, can give the plaintiff possession of the parties’ residence to the exclusion of the defendant, and prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with the plaintiff or minor children. The order would be temporary in nature and would be entered with good cause shown by the plaintiff, meaning immediate and present danger of abuse.

If a hearing officer grants a PFA order as indicated above, that order will expire at the end of the next business day on which the court is available. If an emergency PFA order is granted, the…

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Reopening a Divorce Settlement Agreement

Posted on 05/03/2017 at 3:03pm

Reopening a Divorce Settlement Agreement

There was a case of interest recently reported in which one party to a divorce settlement (wife) asked the court to reopen the settlement, seeking to change the settlement terms. It is interesting, at least in part, because the one seeking to re-open the case and change the settlement agreement received some $15 million dollars in the settlement. Unsurprisingly, the wife has alleged that, very shortly after the settlement was agreed to and finalized, husband came into a disproportionately larger financial gain on the sale of a business interest he owned.

What makes the case slightly less interesting, at least in the legal sense, but even in that sense only slightly less interesting, is that the case is reported from Australia. A recurring theme in this space has been that the way that the law changes and evolves now is very different from how that used to happen. It is not just how rapidly the law now changes that is different, though it seems clear that the pace is much faster now than it was in the past. It is also the source of change and the readiness/willingness of authorities to accept…

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Custodial Rights for Grandparents in Pennsylvania

Posted on 04/27/2017 at 2:28pm

Custodial Rights for Grandparents in Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, when a relationship ends and there are children involved, it sometimes means that the grandparents are also affected. At the Law Office of Gregory P. LaMonaca, P.C. we defend the rights of grandparents in Pennsylvania who wish to seek visitation or custody of their grandchildren.

Even if the parents cannot get along, the children and grandparents should be allowed to sustain their relationship, where possible. In any action for the custody of children, the court must analyze several factors when fashioning a custody schedule. All determinations regarding custody must consider what is in the best interests of the child. Pursuant to 23 Pa. C.S. Section 5325, grandparents have standing to asserts a claim for partial physical custody in the following circumstances:

• Where the parent of the child is deceased, a parent or grandparent of the deceased parent may file an action under this section;
• Where the parents of the child have been separated for a period of at least six months or have commenced and continued a proceeding to dissolve their marriage; or
• when the child has, for a period of at least 12 consecutive months, resided with the grandparent…

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Holiday Schedules and Custody

Posted on 04/25/2017 at 3:01pm

Holiday Schedules and Custody: How You and Your Ex Can Each Continue to Make Memories

One important issue that can sometimes be overlooked in working out a custodial schedule with your ex-spouse is where the children will spend holidays.  Oftentimes it’s not enough to simply put a schedule into place and let the birthdays, holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. fall where they may.  In Pennsylvania, Courts will address the issue of a holiday schedule in detail as part of the custody litigation process.  A typical Custody Order will cover the “major” holidays including New Year’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the children’s birthdays.  Needless to say, there are significant holidays that are not included in this list.  In addition, this list does not include school holidays like Winter Break and Spring Break where families often times may try and take a vacation.

You should work with your ex-spouse, either directly or through your attorneys, to put together a schedule each year whereby each parent gets to spend some of the “big” holidays and also some of the less-celebrated holidays with the children.  Where possible, be sure to make accommodations for…

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5 Things to Do At the Beginning of a Divorce

Posted on 04/21/2017 at 4:45pm

5 Things to Do At the Beginning of a Divorce

Statistically, divorce is something that around half of the population in the United States will deal with at some point. If you include all of the people and family members that are affected in some way by a divorce, that number gets higher. Whether it was you that initiated the divorce or your spouse, there are a few important steps to take that will allow for both less conflict and less resources spent while still achieving some of your most important goals.

  1. 1. Collect and retain financial documents

One of the biggest issues that usually needs to be resolved is the unraveling of finances. At the outset of the divorce, these documents are usually easier to get and may be just lying around the home. Sometimes, a divorce gets messy and emotions get heated on both sides and access to marital information, which was once easy to get, is withheld by the party in possession of it. At the end of the day, the side withholding the documents usually has an obligation to provide them to the other side, but sometimes this only happens after…

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Child Abduction Across International Borders – The Most Heart-Wrenching of All Family Law Matters.

Posted on 04/18/2017 at 2:58pm

Child Abduction Across International Borders – The Most Heart-Wrenching of All Family Law Matters.

Family Law is one of the most challenging areas of practice in the legal field. It is an emotionally charged, deadline driven, fast-paced field, which requires our team to adapt constantly and change according to the circumstances at hand. Emotions are always soaring in these cases, but for me, child abductions across international borders are the most heart-wrenching of all family law matters.

It takes an experienced team to navigate child abduction cases, whether it be to prevent a parent from leaving undetected with a child or to locate and return a child who is being wrongfully retained in another country. Through the International Hague Convention and coordinating efforts with the United States Department of State and the United States Embassy in the foreign land, we work tirelessly to locate and return abducted children to their left behind parent here on United States’ soil.

At LaMonaca Law, we have successfully litigated several Hague Convention cases, locating and reuniting abducted children with their left behind parent. Stepping in with the Hague Convention requires an experienced legal team who will fight incessantly for the return…

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