Blog – Pennsylvania Family Law

http://pafamilylaw.foxrothschild.com/

Mark contributes to the Pennsylvania Family Law Blog, which provides readers with information on and insight into Pennsylvania Family Law issues, including divorce, equitable distribution, alimony, child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite and custody.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Do Friends & Family Have a Role to Play When Interviewing an Attorney? To answer a question with a question: “Isn’t the sensible answer ‘No’?” After all, people contemplating divorce are not children. This is an entirely adult decision made by an adult who decided to marry in the first place. The prospective client is the person living the marriage with all of its advantages and disadvantages. No matter how close the friend or family member, that person is not living the marriage. In the past, my feelings on this subject were mixed and... More
  • Shouldn’t Everyone Have a Debt Allocation Agreement? We have written a fair amount about prenuptial agreements including a lengthy piece last October concerning difficult issues that young couples can face but rarely ever discuss.  Some recent litigation we have been managing prompts mention of a subject, which probably should be in a premarital agreement in almost every marriage.  In fact, we should probably all have these agreements. The subject?  Debt.  Americans love it.  The average household owes $184,000 on the mortgage and $28,000 on the cars in the... More
  • PARENTAL ALIENATION; DOES IT EXIST? CAN IT BE REPAIRED? The Center for Investigative Reporting at National Public Radio (NPR) published a report on March 9, 2019 about the longstanding controversy over parental alienation.  The broadcast includes recordings of actual testimony from a New Jersey child custody proceeding where a father suggested that the mother’s relationship with the children was “toxic.”  Parental alienation is a concept not formally embraced by the mental health community, which suggests that one parent can poison a child’s relationship with the other parent.  If you... More
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court Permits Citation to Non-Precedential Appellate Rulings Take a friendly lawyer to your local watering hole and ask him for a quick summary of annoying things that have occurred in the practice in the past 20 years.  Chances are two strong subjects will come up.  The first is the decision about two decades ago by the Superior Court and Commonwealth Court to issue non-precedential opinions.  In common parlance the opinions are called “non-published”, but truth is that they are published and you can read them but the... More
  • SEPARATION & SOCIAL MEDIA: MANAGING THE ANNOUNCEMENT At the risk of appearing obsessed, I write a second time about the separation of Jeff and Makenzie Bezos. This time my subject is again borrowed from the Wall Street Journal, but it’s not about the money. Rather, the Journal produced a prominent and adulatory article about the divorce announcement by the couple (actually Jeff) on Twitter. I thought it interesting because anyone who separates from a spouse or long time relationship is left asking; how do I let people... More
  • MEGA WEALTH & DIVORCE: CONSIDERING MATTERS BEZOS While writing about high profile divorces is a means of attracting readers, it really leaves most of us feeling “empty” when it comes to how it relates to our ordinary lives. But the announcement this week of the divorce agreement between Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos made the front page of the Wall Street Journal. There is a reason for this. Unlike the split of say P. Diddy and Cassandra Ventura announced in October, the Bezos divorce actually could affect our... More
  • THE PERILS OF “INSTANT” MESSAGING OVER THE HOLIDAYS Holidays are supposed to be a time of merriment and conviviality.  Experience has taught us that they are also a time of immense stress.  This is especially true where families are no longer intact.  Families bring with them a sense of “expectation” and holidays are full of rituals, whether it be the Thanksgiving family football game in the backyard or the Feast of the Seven Fishes at Christmas.  Your families expect you to be there and to be there in... More
  • Lessons from the Lauren McCluskey Tragedy She was 21 and a college student. Anyone who recalls being 21 will also recall that it is an age of experimentation. Today she is dead, murdered by a person whom she dated for a month. Her killer was a 37-year-old man with a long criminal history of sexual abuse. It seems that toward the end she figured this out and sought help from law enforcement. However, where the relationship has a consensual element, it is difficult for law enforcement... More
  • Countdown for Tax Reform: How It May Affect You Just before Christmas last year, Congress passed and the President signed a major tax reform package that contained a surprising wrinkle.  It abandoned a decades long provision that permitted payors of alimony or spousal support to deduct their payments from income and required recipients to report the payments and pay tax on them. The effective date of this change was/is December 31, 2018.  Orders and Agreements in effect on that date maintain the old tax treatment.  Still taxable to payee.  Still... More
  • Third Party Custody Standing: More from the Supremes   Two years ago the Pennsylvania Supreme Court weighed in on the matter of how third party standing was consistent with the fundamental right of parents to raise their children. That case moved the ball in a new direction as we had seen a trend favoring third party involvement in child custody litigation where “interest” was shown. On September 21, the Supreme Court issued a decision underscoring the definition of a parent and further articulating who can qualify as in loco... More