State College Family Law Blog

Pennsylvania protective order defendants must give up their guns

Individuals who accuse others of harassment, abuse or domestic violence may be able to request that a judge issue a protective order against the alleged perpetrator of such acts. While such an order has always carried with it certain guidelines that a defendant must follow in order to remain in compliance with it, an additional restriction was added on Jan. 1.

A hearing must be held so a judge can hear why they should issue a protective order within 10 days of a petition originally being filed. Courts are obliged to set this hearing by law under 23 Pa..C.S.A. Sec. 6017 of the Protection From Abuse Act (PFA).

Why should I mediate my divorce?

Getting a divorce is emotionally difficult enough, but to add the excessive costs and complexities of the legal proceedings into the mix, it's enough to cause any divorcing spouse to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, for couples who choose to mediate their divorces, they'll be able to prevent a lot of stress, while saving a tremendous amount of money and time in the process.

For many couples, mediation is the preferred method for bringing their divorces to a close. Mediation allows for negotiating the financial and child custody aspects of the divorce process so that couples can reach a peaceful, out-of-court settlement agreement. It works particularly well for spouses who have children because it helps support a friendlier relationship between two exes who will need to remain co-parents and will need to be able to work with each other for many years into the future.

Advice for maintaining a parenting journal

One of the most essential elements to prevailing in a heated child custody battle is being able to show the court how you served as the "primary caretaker" of your children. The primary caretaker is the parent who handled the majority of the child-rearing tasks, and this is the parent who courts tend to favor during a child custody dispute.

To prove you served as the primary caretaker, a parenting journal is extremely helpful as evidence. Here's how to keep a quality parenting journal:

How fathers can improve their chances during a child custody case

Many fathers wrongly assume that they have a disadvantage when it comes to child custody disputes. In fact, if any parent has less of a chance of winning a child custody lawsuit, it probably doesn't have anything to do with gender. What it has everything to with is which parent was more involved in the child's care and upbringing during the marriage.

From this perspective, if a father wants to have the same chance of winning child custody as the mother in a given dispute, he needs to prove that he was just as involved in caring for the child's daily needs as the mother. Here are a few tips for fathers who want to have the best chances of winning a child custody matter:

When should I unquestionably file for divorce?

Most Pennsylvania spouses decide to get a divorce after a lot of careful consideration. However, there are a few circumstances in which a spouse shouldn't waste time. If you're currently experiencing one of the following situations in your marriage, you should not wait before submitting your divorce papers:

Your spouse is an addict

How do you prove that you're a child's primary caretaker?

If there's a battle over who should receive physical child custody, family law courts will usually favor the parent deemed to be the "primary caretaker." The primary caretaker is the parent who predominantly cared for the children, bathed them, fed them, took them to school, put them to bed, took them to the doctor and performed other activities on their behalf.

Courts will typically award full physical custody to the primary caretaker, meaning that the children will live with this parent full time. As for the parent who does not receive physical custody, he or she will usually have limited visitation rights. For this reason, it's important to understand how much a child custody battle usually hinges on which parent is the primary caretaker.

Important questions about child support in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania family laws offer strict guidelines that require the noncustodial parent -- i.e., the parent with whom the children do not live -- to pay child support to the custodial parent. This financial support is intended to assist the custodial parent to pay for housing, food, entertainment and other costs associated with raising and caring for the children.

If you're like most parents, you might have the following questions about child support:

Is your spouse hiding cryptocurrency during your divorce?

If you don't know what cryptocurrency is, it's time to bring yourself up to speed. Individuals can now convert U.S. dollars and other currencies into digital currencies, which they hold in "digital wallets." These cryptocurrencies exist apart from any standard banking system, and the only person who can access them is the individual who holds the private key. If that person does not willingly give up the private key, they can take that cryptocurrency to their grave.

This presents a unique problem for divorce proceedings -- one not so different from if a spouse buys a massive sum of gold and buries it in a secret location. That gold -- or the cryptocurrencies -- will remain hidden and inaccessible by the court system. This, however, does not mean it's legal to hide marital assets in the form of cryptocurrencies.

What should I do if my ex isn't paying child support?

When a family law judge issues an order to pay child support, the order becomes law. Failure to comply with that law means that the offending party could be in contempt of court, which can result in steep fines, wage garnishment and even jail time. A judge can also suspend the negligent parent's professional licenses, and the parent may face criminal charges.

If your ex has failed to fulfill his or her child support obligations, you are on the right side of Pennsylvania law. Your local Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) office is at your disposal to enforce your child support orders. Here's what the BCSE can help you with:

  • Pursue as much as six months of jail time, six months of probation and $500 in fines.
  • Conduct the seizure of bank assets belonging to the offending party.
  • Conduct the seizure of workers' compensation and personal injury award money belonging to the offending party.
  • Conduct the seizure of state and federal tax return money belonging to the offending party.
  • Suspend the offending party's driver's license, occupational license, professional license or recreation license.
  • Deny the offending party his or her passport.
  • Apply liens against the offending party's real estate property.
  • Intercept the offending party's lottery earnings.
  • Report the offending party to credit reporting agencies.
  • Publish the offending party's name in newspapers as a delinquent parent.

Statistics on unpaid child support in the United States

Pennsylvania courts will usually issue a child support award in favor of the "custodial parent" to be paid by the "noncustodial parent." The custodial parent is the parent with whom the children live, and the noncustodial parent is the parent who has visitation rights. This child support payment is meant to benefit the child to ensure that he or she is well taken care of and there's enough money to go around for the custodial parent.

However, just because a court issues a child support award does not always mean that it will be paid. In fact, it's not uncommon for two parents to argue about how much child support needs to be paid by the noncustodial spouse. It's also not uncommon for noncustodial parents to fail in meeting their child support obligations.


Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy