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

  • SECURING THE $121.00 DIVORCE In the last few days, I have worked with another attorney to try to bring a peaceful end to a very brief marriage.  In the space of a couple weeks, we identified what was left of the “ties that bind” and how to painlessly sever things like joint leases, joint debts and dividing the wedding presents. The clients are not wealthy and cost is a consideration.  Because this would or should be a quick divorce and the financials seemed under control... More
  • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TELLS A FRIGHTENING TALE OF CUSTODY, CONSULTANTS & MURDER For those of us who get the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, it is a newspaper of respite.  Yes, all of Friday’s news is there but the features are sections on what books to read and what piece of 16th century art or literature merits a second look.  It’s WSJ light, best evidenced by the change in the masthead from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL to WSJ. The April 3-4 edition’s front page had an article titled: “Custody Fight Plus QAnon Turns... More
  • DEBT: The Divorce Lawyer’s New Frontier It’s always been there.  Debt.  Even though the Pennsylvania Divorce Code does not really mention it by name.  If you speak to the hearing officers who draw the assignment of effecting equitable distribution, they respond that debt is the most nettlesome thing to deal with.  In some cases, it is the only thing they deal with because none of the assets had “equity”. We found some interesting data on the topic in Experian’s recent analysis of 2019 debt.  Some of it... More
  • GAG ORDERS IN CHILD CUSTODY; CAN BEST INTERESTS & FREE SPEECH BE BALANCED? Father adopted a child with mother.  Mother died two year later.  Father remarried the stepmother in 2012, with whom this litigation took place.  Stepmother adopted the child a year later.  The marriage lasted less than a year. A custody agreement was formed.  In June 2015, father filed for primary custody and mother counterclaimed for the same.  An Interim Custody Order in September 2015 was followed by adoptive mother’s PFA alleging father committed sexual abuse of the child.  This begot a... More
  • New Guidance; New Concerns About Discharged PPP Loans On November 23, 2020, we posted about the legal deductibility of expenses paid in 2020 with funds borrowed through PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans guaranteed by the government and subject to discharge as debts once it was shown that the loan proceeds were used to pay payroll and other approved expenses.  If you owned a law firm and got one or more of these loans this issue directly affected you.  But if you live outside that orbit, “Why care?” The answer... More
  • ARE MEGHAN & HARRY YOUR KINDRED SPIRITS? 17 Million Americans watched the Oprah interview on Sunday night.  That’s six million more than watched the opening of Round 2 of our own President’s impeachment.  The airwaves today are exploding with controversy as various sides line up to condemn the House of Windsor or its recently exiled couple.  This piece is not about who won or lost. It’s pretty clear that there are only losers in this battle.  As I watched the interview what resonated for me was how... More
  • COPING WITH THE SHOTGUN PRENUPTIAL A web feed on March 7, 2021, brought an article published under The Moneyist.  The format is question and answer and the inquiry was from a woman marrying an older man who approached her three days before the wedding with a prenuptial agreement.  Needless to say she is today married but coping with re-bound anger as she realizes that this was sprung on her just as the table settings and place cards were being set out at the reception... More
  • COMMUNICATING ABOUT “THE BREAKUP” It is traumatic enough to decide to end a marriage.  Then there is the business of announcing the event to friends and family.  In an ideal world, couples would take the Jeff and McKinsey Bezos approach.  Press release from the couple sprinkled with words of kindness for each other.  While that’s an ideal approach, most of us don’t merit a press release.  In addition, rare are the cases where both spouses want “out” of a marriage at the same time. Lawyers... More
  • ZOOM OVERLOAD The county where I do most of my work has been “live” (mostly) since early June 2020.  That presents issues in its own right, but I have avoided the new trend toward “Zoom” proceedings until very recently.  Meanwhile, the legal continuing education community has devoted a lot of time to courses about how “Trial by Zoom” differs from its live equivalent.  I also have traded thoughts with a judge in rural Pennsylvania about his take on this brave new world... More
  • CHECKING YOUR OWN CREDIT REPORT IS VITAL These are difficult times.  Some parts of the economy have responded well to the pandemic crisis.  Others, especially those in the travel, leisure, and entertainment industries have experienced enormous financial challenges.  Sadly, this sometimes prompts desperate measures.  You should not become an unwary victim of desperate measures.  You are the best person to protect yourself from that. Yesterday, a local attorney in suburban Philadelphia pleaded guilty to falsifying credit applications using the names and personal financial data of his wife and... More