Common law marriage could be established in Pennsylvania up until January 1, 2005. All common law marriages established before that date are recognized as valid marriages. In order to establish a common law marriage, the parties must have exchanged words of intent to be married and held themselves out to their community as being married. Often, the parties also lived together for some length of time. While this is not a requirement in and of itself, it plays into the couple having held themselves out as married. Once a common law marriage is established, it can only be resolved by divorce just as with any regular marriage. Pennsylvania is presently in a transition stage in that while no new common law marriages can be created, there are still inquiries into whether they were previously created and accordingly, how the ancillary issues should be handled, i.e. divorce versus civil suit.
Section 5337 of the new custody laws sets out the procedures and standards for relocation requests. E.D. v. M.P., 2011 PA Super. 238, is one of the first cases to apply the new relocation law. In E.D. v. M.P., Mother appealed after the lower court granted Father's relocation on the grounds that Father didn't comply with the provisions of Sec. 5337 among other issues.
Below are summaries of some of the most recent decisions on various family law topics.