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State College Family Law Blog

Ready to adopt a foster care child?

If you're a would-be parent in Pennsylvania, and you're hoping to adopt, there will be different options available. All of these options will have their potential positives and negatives, so it's important to analyze all your adoption options carefully before deciding which one is best for you and your family. One option that a lot of Pennsylvania adoptive parents choose involves the adoption of a foster child from the U.S. Foster Care System.

In the U.S. Foster Care System, there are a wide variety of kids from different age categories. The average foster care child is 8 years of age. Some have brothers and sisters who they'll want to stay with. Most are healthy and simply require a loving home with supportive parents to take care of them.

Woman arrested for violating child custody orders

A popular television show recently assisted the FBI to capture a Pennsylvania woman accused of parental child abduction. The woman kidnapped her son several years ago, and within 24 hours of the show being aired, the FBI had received tips that led to her arrest.

The kidnapping happened after a shared custody order was issued regarding the woman's son in August 2014. Instead of following the order, the mother fled the state with her son on a bus two months later. The child and the mother had been missing since November 2014. After the kidnapping, authorities charged the woman with interfering with a custody order. She was also charged with concealing the location of a child and unlawful flight.

Divorce: It's not a cakewalk

Pennsylvania spouses considering divorce need to know a few things before they get started. First, divorce is normal. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce in the United States according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Psychological Association. Second, divorce is never going to be "easy."

According to divorce experts, even the friendliest divorce proceedings -- which are often resolved through mediation or out-of-court settlement -- will involve the five stages of grief that people go through after the death of a loved one. The death of a relationship can be just as difficult to handle as the death of a person. The five stages tend to go something like this: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance.

What are the features of the Hague Convention?

International child abduction has been a problem for centuries. When a child is taken unlawfully by one of the parents -- or by another individual -- to another country, it presents the potential for legal difficulties. Parents may have a hard time convincing a foreign court to order their child returned. However, if the foreign country has signed the Hague Convention, parents will have an easier time working with foreign courts in their efforts to get their children back home where they belong.

Here are some of the central provisions offered under the Hague Convention:

  • Hague Convention countries must establish a "Central Authority," which serves as the point of contact for governments and parents alleging that a child abduction took place.
  • The Central Authority will assist in locating abducted children and support the amicable resolution of parental abduction matters. The Central Authority will also assist in returning the children when deemed appropriate.
  • Documents collected by the Central Authority may be used as court evidence in partnering countries without the formalities that may normally be required when submitting documents in court from a foreign country.
  • Hague Convention countries must accept proof of parentage that satisfies the laws of the countries where the child is from.
  • The immigration status and nationality of the child and/or the parents will not be information that determines where the child's residence should be.

State College man sues adoption agency for denying him his rights

A local adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services, is facing legal proceedings initiated by a man who says the agency violated his constitutional right to child custody. The State College baby was placed with a York County pre-adoptive couple two years ago, in August 2015.

According to legal documents, both parents were with each other for a short time. The mother did not inform the father of her pregnancy. He heard from the mother about his baby, and the upcoming adoption six weeks following the birth. The lawsuit further says that the Bethany Christian Services reached out to the man on Facebook a week prior to the birth, but the adoption agency was aware approximately four months before the birth.

Divorcing women: Be careful of financial trouble after divorce

You and your spouse are finally getting the divorce you've been thinking about for years. Now it's time to get real about your finances. Being single is often more difficult financially than being in a partnership. After all, you will only have one income and many of the expenses you used to be able to share will be your sole responsibility. These expenses and financial setbacks can be particularly difficult for women.

Studies have shown that women suffer more than men when it comes to financial setbacks after divorce. Although equal pay, employment and job opportunity for women have come a long way in recent decades, women are still behind when it comes to income earning and job opportunity metrics. Perhaps this is why a recent study revealed that 64 percent of women agreed that they experienced a financial crises after their divorces, and 59 percent of women agreed that they experienced a financial wake-up call after their divorces.

How do I recover delinquent child support payments?

Parents involved in child custody cases usually also find themselves discussing child support. When child support payments become delinquent, the recipient has the right to recover those payments, especially if the agreement has yet to expire. So, how does one go about recovering delinquent child support payments?

When you are dealing with a delinquent parent who is also the non-custodial parent, it's quite possible to have any of the following enacted:

  • Liens issued against property
  • Wages garnished
  • Bank accounts frozen
  • Reporting the person to the credit bureaus
  • Jail
  • Probation
  • Denial of passport
  • Unemployment insurance interception
  • Held in contempt of court
  • Suspension of driver's license or professional driver's license

Adding up your marital assets

When Pennsylvania spouses decide to divorce, they are dealing with a lot of emotional challenges. Even if you're able to keep your eyes on the better future that is to come, it's never emotionally easy to separate from a long-term intimate partner. Eventually, though, spouses need to focus on the business aspects of divorce -- namely, finances and asset division.

A skilled and experienced Pennsylvania divorce law firm, such as Laura Robbins Law, LLC, can hold your hand through every step of your asset division process. Before you head to speak with an attorney about asset division, however, you'll want to take an inventory of your marital assets. These will be the assets subject to division during your divorce. Generally, marital assets include any assets, income and debt liabilities that either you or your spouse acquired after your marriage date. This can include your separate incomes and valuation increases on personal property.

Joint, sole, physical and legal custody options to think about

Child custody is a very serious matter because it can impact the entire future of a child. When parents are going through a child custody battle, they must think carefully about how each decision will impact the child. One important thing that they have to determine if they are trying to work things out through collaborative methods or mediation is what type of custody model is going to be used.

Typically, parents have to decide whether the child custody arrangement is a sole custody or a joint custody arrangement. The vast majority of cases utilizes a joint custody model.

How lying can affect your divorce

Since the time we are kids, we are taught not to lie. Lying can be hurtful and get us into trouble. Unfortunately, when two people are divorcing, they can find it quite tempting to lie in the interest of self-preservation.

However, even if you think a lie could improve your situation, you will likely find that it will not, as there are serious consequences to lying during the divorce process. Below, we take a brief look at how lying can affect you and the various elements of a divorce.

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