The Courts in Pennsylvania, as in most states (California being one) have a “presumption of paternity.” This presumption, according to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is “one of the strongest presumptions known to the law.” The presumption is that a child conceived or born during the marriage is a child of that marriage. So regardless of who may have been the biological father, it will be presumed that Baena’s husband, who was married to Baena when the child was conceived and born, is the legal father of the child. As such Arnold has no right to the child.
I’ve previously blogged about how various social mediums, Facebook in particular, can dramatically affect your marriage and your divorce. As I advise all my clients, we live in a very public world these days, the internet has opened windows into peoples’ lives; privacy is scarce. What you post online while alone at your computer is a message for the entire world to read.
On January 24th of this year, child custody law in Pennsylvania changed. Previously, child custody disputes where decided by a judge based upon the “best interests of the child” standard. This broad standard gave litigants, counsel and judges broad discretion in deciding what facts and factors constituted “best interests.” The new law helps focus the best interest inquiry and will aid in removing personal biases of judges, create more uniformity in decisions, and allow for better reasoned and more child-centric custody decisions.
Some sources estimate Facebook plays a role in one out of every five divorces. While that number seems high to me, as a divorce attorney I will unequivocally say Facebook, along with the gambit of internet dating sites, is boosting my business. Internet social networking is increasingly becoming a conduit through which affairs and intimate contacts are sparked, kindled and fanned.
In Pennsylvania marital property is subject to “equitable distribution.” Equitable distribution does not mean equal. Also, despite common belief, there is no presumption of a 50% – 50% distribution. The Court will consider the following factors in determining the distribution of the marital assets.
Pennsylvania Law starts with the presumption that all real or personal property acquired by either party during the marriage is marital property regardless of how it is titled. Marital property also includes the increase in value (during the course of the marriage) of any non-marital property.
The Court is thus more concerned with when the property was acquired rather than how the property is titled.
In January of this year the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued updates to the Pennsylvania Support Rules and Guidelines. The guidelines are what our courts use to determine the amount of child support a parent must pay to the other parent or the amount of spousal support one spouse must pay to the other. The guidelines are required to be updated every four years. Usually there are only very minor changes. This year, however, there are some significant changes which will have a profound effect on the calculation of child or spousal support in certain cases.
The tenth and final installment will focus on moving on after your divorce. We discuss the fact that the Judgment of Divorce in and of itself is not going to improve your life. The divorce simply changes your legal status from being married to being single. What you do as a result of the change of status is now up to you.
The ninth installment will focus on the follo-up after your divorce. After you have entered into a Settlement Agreement or the Judge has made a decision, the terms of that Agreement or decision must be implemented. In this installment, we will will discuss issues pertaining to deeds and mortgages, how to change your name, life insurance policies, pension or retirement accounts, medical insurance and bank accounts.
The eighth installment will focus on the trial portion of your divorce. If you and your spouse have been unable to settle your case between yourselves and none of the settlement alternatives described in Section VII have been successful, it may be necessary to prepare and submit your case for trial before the Judge. In this installment, we will give an overview of the trial proceedings.