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Lisa Petruzzi
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Who’s Going to Get the House in Your Divorce?

When a divorce has been filed, one of the biggest questions is often who will get the family home. Pennsylvania operates on an equitable distribution model, which means that the court will divide all assets and income earned during the marriage between the spouses. Equitable distribution is not necessarily equal, as the court will take Read More

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What Happens When Only One Person Wants a Divorce?

Breaking up isn’t that hard to do in Pennsylvania if both spouses agree to the split and have no financial disputes to resolve. In a divorce by mutual consent, one spouse files a complaint stating the marriage is irretrievably broken and serves it on the other spouse. Ninety days later, each spouse signs and files Read More

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What Happens During Collaborative Divorce in Pennsylvania? 

A new law that creates a uniform standard of practice for collaborative divorce in Pennsylvania may lead to more couples using this method of dispute resolution to end their marriage amicably. While the technique has been used successfully for years, the Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act signed by Governor Tom Wolf in 2018 established it as Read More

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What Rights Does a Nonbiological Parent Have During a Custody Dispute in Pennsylvania?

In May, a Pennsylvania Superior Court recognized a nonbiological lesbian mother’s right to share custody of a child born to her former partner, based in part on an informal arrangement between them. Though the ruling is a progressive interpretation of the status of nonbiological parents in same-sex relationships, it is clear that the particular facts Read More

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Pennsylvania Child Support – Part III – Child support deviations

The final step in determining a child support amount is accounting for any appropriate deviations to the base support amount that was calculated according to the method described in the previous part to this series. There are two types of deviations that the court may order: particularly listed deviations, and deviations that are based on Read More

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Can Pennsylvania Stepparents Ever Be Required to Pay Child Support?

Pennsylvania courts favor child custody and support arrangements that are reached without judicial intervention, but things don’t always turn out that way. The process of determining custody and child support terms can develop into a prolonged legal dispute, made even more complex if stepchildren are involved. For example, the case of Shiloh v. Shiloh (2015) Read More

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Who Keeps the Pets After a Divorce in Pennsylvania?

One aspect of the emotional hardship that often accompanies divorce concerns family pets. Regardless of how strong the connection between a spouse and a pet, an animal is still considered personal property under Pennsylvania’s “Barney Rule,” established by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in the case of Desanctis v. Pritchard (2002). In that decision, the Read More

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Pennsylvania Child Support – Part II – Calculating base child support

This is the second installment in a three-part series.  Read the first part here. After a child’s parents’ net monthly incomes have been determined, the next step in establishing a support amount is to calculate the base child support. To do this, the parents’ net monthly incomes are combined. A table established by the state Read More

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How Fast Can You Get a Divorce in Pennsylvania When You Are in an Abusive Marriage?

Your home is meant to be a safe haven, free from conflict and anxiety. However, when ongoing arguments lead to psychologically or physically hurtful battles, you certainly don’t feel that way. But you no longer need to be trapped in an abusive and harmful situation. All forms of domestic violence and emotional abuse are considered Read More

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How an Adoption Petition in Pennsylvania Became a Lengthy Court Battle

Adopting children can bring joy to qualified families and individuals, but sometimes adoption proceedings can also create complicated legal hurdles. When a Penn Hills foster mother attempted to legally adopt a young girl who was in her foster care, the child’s maternal aunt traveled to the United States from Cameroon to prevent the adoption. A Read More

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