Blog – Pennsylvania Family Law

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

  • Section 1983 Civil Rights Claim by Grandparents Arising from Dependency Action Permitted to Proceed This is an action brought by grandparents against Westmoreland County concerning their grandchild.  The County had initiated dependency proceedings involving the grandchild based upon allegations that the biological parents were drug dependent.  The County had initially placed the child with the grandparents who were then hosting not only the grandchild but the natural parents.  When drug testing of the natural parents came back positive, the County decided to pull the placement and shift to non-kinship care.  This placement culminated in... More
  • FINANCIAL INFIDELITY: CHAPTER 2 As I started this, it occurred to me that I had been to this topic before.  Last April 19 I reported on a story published by PBS about spouses who accumulate debt in secret and then want to “share” the debt when the marriage collapses.  The February 2020 issue of The Magazine of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) contains an article titled “Living with a Thieving Spouse.”  The article broadens the topic beyond what I wrote about before. A... More
  • COLONNA LIVES!?!?! In the perhaps “too many years” I have been reading and reporting on family law cases, there are times when a reported case inspires a collective shrug from the family law bar.  One prominent example is Beasley v. Beasley, a case that held that because a law firm was owned by a single lawyer, it could not have goodwill value associated with it.  That ruling seemed to ignore the fact that Jim Beasley, the owner of the practice, employed a... More
  • TAX REFORM + 2: WHAT DOES IT MEAN & WHERE DOES THE AVERAGE JOE STAND? Since the most recent tax reform was adopted in December 2017, this writer has been wondering what it really meant to average people.  My averages will be a bit on the high side, but when I ran across a 1995 tax table I decided to try running some tests.  Here are the results and I welcome comments and criticisms to my methodology.  I am happy to publish any comments or corrections that merit consideration. My test case is a single person... More
  • CAR$ENSE – HOW MUCH SHOULD A CAR COST? Readers of this blog understand that, in the end, divorce is a financial transaction.  It is a process imbued with enormous emotional consequence.  People marry and have children hoping and often expecting the best.  We know it does not always turn out that way, and along the way, people turn to lawyers to develop a financial plan for the hereafter. In an effort to keeps things “objective,” I have searched for tools to help evaluate complex financial decisions in a post... More
  • LIFE IN THE WORLD OF FAFSA: Advice on the College Loan Application Process for Parents in Divorce. In the divorce business, there are few alleys as dark as of the college financial aid.  We are commonly asked how separation and divorce may affect eligibility for student aid and loans.  The October 21, 2019 Wall Street Journal sheds some light on this murky subject and is worth a full read.  But, the main points we derived from it can be summarized. For FAFSA purposes, a parent is a biological or adoptive parent including same sex couples who have adopted. ... More
  • DIVORCE AND COLLEGE: Can They Be Reconciled? Whenever I start these kinds of articles, I stop to ask, “Is this subject really relevant to the process of divorce?”   Separation and divorce are realities of modern day life.  Education of the children who come into this world through marriage is not just a major expense.  For any caring parent, it is also a major responsibility. Unfortunately higher education is also an increasingly troublesome responsibility.  I graduated from George Washington University in 1977.  My expenses were roughly $5,000 a year,... More
  • In Divorce: What’s A Reasonable Return on Invested Cash? This debate is as old as “guns vs. butter” but it has intensified in the past decade as interest yields have collapsed.  As we “head to the Fed” meeting next month a 10 year treasury note gets you 2.06% and we are told that a rate cut is on the way.  There was a time when you could buy a stock like GE and get a good yield plus some hope for appreciation.  That time ended two years ago. This trend... More
  • Northwestern Mutual: THE 10 YEAR VIEW OF AMERICA Hopefully, or perhaps, despondently, all of us recall early 2009.  The stock market crash of 2008 hit bottom in early 2009, and, thankfully, we began to emerge from the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes.  In 2009, the broad S&P 500 Index was working its way back to 1,000; a low it had not seen since 2003.  Today it closed at 3,000 which means that if you had $1 invested, then it today is worth $3, a triple in baseball... More
  • SUMMER FUN BECOMES SUMMER ANGUISH The photo of 25-year-old Albert Almora a few days ago tells the story best. The 25-year-old Chicago Cubs outfielder has his head in his hands as he copes with the fact that his line drive foul ball struck and fractured the skull of a two-year-old in Houston. It could scarcely be more personal for Almora, who is himself the father of a two-year-old child. Today, another story of summer fun gone awry. A 14 year old from Raleigh North Carolina was... More