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Recent Blog Posts

  • What Could Massachusetts Ruling Non-Disparagement Orders Unconstitutional Mean to Pennsylvania? It is always a good idea to keep an eye on other jurisdictions for how they deal with novel or emerging issues. One issue recently considered was the use of non-disparagement orders to prevent parties from criticizing each other in public, in front of their children, and to third parties. It is a fairly common tool for the courts to try to force a de-escalation of rhetoric and antagonism between parties without imposing fines or sanctions on them. These restrictions... More
  • CARES Act Check Garnished if Child Support Owed Pennsylvania has a host of ways to recover delinquent child support ranging from seizure of bank accounts, gambling winnings, personal injury awards, and the sale proceeds of a home, to intercepting tax refunds, suspending professional, occupational, or recreational licenses. The worst or most consistent offenders will also be thrown in jail. As reported by Jessica Menton of the USA Today, you can now add interception of the CARES Act stimulus check that list. People who carry child support arrears can expect to... More
  • Update: Florida Case Highlights Coronavirus Custody Order’s Impact on an Essential Employee We’re written about the impact that the coronavirus has had on custody cases and the limited availability of the court’s during this time. A recent story from Florida highlights the impact the virus has on “routine” custody cases where a party is employed as an essential employee and in a high risk environment. In this case, it is an ER doctor in Florida – a “front line” fighter of the virus – whose ex-husband obtained an emergency custody order granting... More
  • Child Custody and the Coronavirus Last week when I began to consider  the impact the coronavirus would have on custody schedules, I was focused on people having different perspectives of how to address the outbreak relative to their children’s day-to-day lives. I imagined there would be some people who wanted to be conservative and hold the children out of school, limit their participation in extracurricular activities, and generally start the “social distancing” while other parents would feel that the preparations were an overreaction and to... More
  • “No One Celebrates Thanksgiving Breakfast” That comment was once delivered to me across a crowed lobby during a negotiation for the upcoming holiday.  My client had proposed that the other parent have custody Thanksgiving morning until the afternoon. It was an attempt at compromise over a last minute demand by the other side to allow one of the parties two children to spend the holiday with the non-custodial parent. For a multitude of issues which need not be referenced here the other parent has limited... More
  • Mandatory “Our Children First” Custody Seminar Temporarily Suspended by in Montgomery County Montgomery County is making major revisions to its custody procedure, including an overhaul of the “Our Children First” parenting seminar. This seminar is a requirement under Local Rule of Civil Procedure 1915.3* and mandatory for parties in custody cases. Effective today, the Court has temporarily suspended that Local Rule and the Court Administrator’s Office will refund registrations fees to anyone who is currently registered for the program and will not be accept registrations pending further Order of Court reinstating the... More
  • Judge Responsible for First Federal Decision Attacking Defense of Marriage Act Dies Though the point of this blog is to talk about recent developments in the area of family law, we would be bereft if we didn’t take a moment to recognize the life of U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro of the District of Massachusetts. He passed away on Friday at 87 years old. Judge Tauro presided over two cases attacking the federal Defense of Marriage Act. After finding that DOMA compelled Massachusetts to discriminate against its citizens in order to receive federal funding,... More
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reintroduces Custody Coordinators After a five-year hiatus due to a ruling that effectively undercut the viability of custody coordination, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reintroduced custody coordination by Rule effective March 1, 2019. In the intervening five years, the Supreme Court (who promulgates the rules) in conjunction with the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee (of which Judge Daniel Clifford from Montgomery County is a member) have painstakingly reconstituted the custody coordination rules to rectify the fatal due process flaws found in the system... More
  • Medical (or not) Marijuana’s Impact on Custody Cases Pennsylvania uses the standard “the best interests of the child” when determining custody issues. What happens if the best interest of the child breaks the law? Such is the case in Georgia where parents of a 15 year old boy suffering from epilepsy resorted to marijuana to treat his seizures. Their argument is compelling: their son suffers from debilitating seizures that have not responded to traditional treatment and medical help is forty-five minutes away from them. They feared his seizures... More
  • Football Injuries Give Rise to Legal Custody Questions My colleague, Mark Ashton, was recently quoted in Mr. Ken Belson’s New York Times article addressing a Pittsburgh custody case grappling with whether a child should play football after having had three concussions before his 16th birthday. As Mark points out in the article, custody officers are unwilling to touch an issue such as contact sport participation because no one wants to be the one who provides the opportunity for a child to be hurt. I think another reason why... More
  • Coaches and Schools Play Fast and Loose with Contracts Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo Leaving a job is easy – if not stressful – for almost the entire population: you leave on your own accord or are asked to leave by your employer. Some people have employment contracts which provide specific compensation or benefits upon separation; other people sign agreements with specific clauses which bar them from using their skills in a specific geographic location or directed at a certain clientele (aka, “non-compete clauses”).  Employment contracts are a powerful... More
  • Razorback Alex Collins: Chaotic Signing Day Leads to Productive College Career Since I wrote this post in February 2013, Alex Collins has weathered his mother’s attempt to keep him from enrolling at the University of Arkansas and become one of the best, if not perhaps the most underrated, running back in the country. Through eight games this year for a surprisingly competitive (they lost to Alabama 14-13 and beat Texas A&M 35-28) Razorbacks team, Alex has rushed for 747 yards on 118 carries (6.3 yards per carry) for scored 9 touchdowns.... More
  • Kluwe Kicks Dispute In Exchange For Charitable Donations Last week, former NFL punter Chris Kluwe and the Minnesota Vikings reached a settlement of Kluwe’s dispute with the team over what he characterized as the organization’s homophobic environment and release from the team due to his activism on behalf of marriage equality. Kluwe’s revelation of serious homophobic behavior and an institutional attempt to freeze him out of the team and, ultimately, his release created a firestorm of media coverage and an investigation into the behavior by special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer.  Kluwe... More
  • Punt, Pass, and Kicked Off The Team?: Potential Defamation Liabilities for Former Viking Chris KIuwe On January 6th, it was reported that former Minnesota Vikings punter, Chris Kluwe, retained legal counsel as the Vikings investigate allegations he made against the organization in his January 2nd Deadspin article.  His lawyer is there ostensibly to assist with the investigation the Vikings are conducting into his allegations.  Having read the Deadspin article and Kluwe’s allegations against former head coach, Leslie Frazier (“the Coward”), general manager, Rick Spielman (“the Coward”), and most critically, special teams coach Mike Priefer (“the... More