Who May Adopt?

An adoption petition can be filed by anyone. Pursuant to 23 P.A. CS 2312, any individual may become an adopting parent. There is no requirement that a prospective parent be married or in a relationship. An adoption can take place in any county where the natural parents of the child reside. It may also take […]

Impact of Criminal Background on Adoption

Background checks are required for all prospective parents in an adoption matter. In Pennsylvania, there are three background checks that are required: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance through the Department of Human Services, Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks through the State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Criminal Background Check through the Department of Welfare. New […]

Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy the answer?

Well, it depends on what question you are asking. Chapter 7 is designed to give a person a new start. It is designed for people who have consumer debts, credit cards and medical debt. However you must attend credit counseling before you are able to file to see if there is any other kind of […]

Termination of Parental Rights due to Abandonment

Many parties inquire as to whether they can terminate the other parent’s rights on the basis of abandonment. The answer is not a simple yes or no. Pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511, there are nine (9) grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights. Two of the grounds are as follows: (1) The parent by […]

Post-Adoption Contact Contract

It may be possible to remain in touch with your child subsequent to the termination of your parental rights and their adoption. Act 101, which became law in 2010, allows post-adoption contact by agreement of all the parties. Specifically, a birth relative by blood, marriage or adoption can contract with the new adoptive parents in […]

Will My Divorce Affect My Green Card Status or Citizenship Opportunity?

Whether or not your divorce will affect your immigration status depends on the stage of the process you’re in. U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) vigilantly watches for possible fraudulent marriages, entered into solely to evade U.S. immigration laws. There are ways to demonstrate your marriage was entered into in good faith, but their effectiveness […]

Can My Former Lawyer Represent My Spouse in Our Divorce?

While it is common and even preferable for a divorcing couple to utilize the same attorney in mediation, there are clear guidelines that generally prevent one spouse from hiring the other spouse’s former attorney in a trial divorce case. The american Bar Association (ABA) Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) rule 1.7 states:  (a) Except as […]

Dividing the Family Cars in a Divorce

When couples begin the divorce process, all assets and liabilities need to be listed and valued in order to determine division between the spouses. Negotiation often involves one spouse being given certain assets in exchange for other assets of the same value – and greater need or emotional attachment are values along with cost that […]

Real Estate Ownership in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, there are several ways that real property (i.e. houses) may be titled. When two or more people own property together, they should be aware of the manner in which the property is owned: Tenants in Common – When property is owned as tenants in common, each owner owns a certain percentage of the […]

Guardianship

A guardian can be appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of an adult individual who has been deemed incapacitated or incapable of making sound decisions on their own. The court must determine whether the individual for whom guardianship is sought can adequately manage their financial resources and/or meet basic essential requirements for […]