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April 2014 Archives

Matrimonial Early Settlement Panels

Pursuant to NJ Court Rule 5:5-5, all counties in the state are required to maintain an Early Settlement Panel (ESP) program. The goal of the program is to promote resolution prior to trial. Most divorce cases will settle prior to trial either at an ESP or otherwise. The panels are usually comprised of two-three attorneys experienced in family law. Additionally, some counties offer specialized panels for complex cases wherein the panel will feature some of the most experienced attorneys practicing matrimonial law. Each party should submit a memo to the panel either prior to or at the time of the ESP. The memo should outline the issues in the case and narrow which issues need to be resolved as well as any issues that have already been settled.

Autism Awareness Month

April is autism awareness month. April has been set aside as the month to raise awareness for autism since the 1970's. Autism is a group of complex disorders affecting brain development. Generally, signs of autism are most visible in toddlers and may include difficulty in social interaction, and communication. The CDC estimates that autism affects 1 in 68 children representing a significant increase over the past forty years. Early diagnosis/intervention and behavioral therapy are proven methods for helping children with autism which is why widespread awareness is key.

Contested Paternity Case

The current statute relating to paternity is 23 Pa.C.S. §4343. As it relates to testing to determine paternity, the statute provides: (c) Genetic Tests. (1) Upon the request of any party to an action to establish paternity, supported by a sworn statement from the party, the court or domestic relations section shall require the child and the parties to submit to genetic tests. The domestic relations section shall obtain an additional genetic test upon the request and advance payment by any party who contests the initial test. Tests results alone are not sufficient to establish paternity. Instead, the parties must stipulate in writing that the test results prove paternity or the court must make an order on paternity after reviewing the test results.

Wills for Heroes

Bucks County has several upcoming "Wills for Heroes" events. This is a program in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Bar Association that provides free wills, living wills, and powers of attorney to first responders and their spouses/significant others. Appointments are required and can be made on the Pennsylvania Bar Association website. Each appointment is for one hour. At the conclusion of the appointment, each participant will have their final, notarized documents to take home with them. If a spouse or significant other is also participating, their appointment will be immediately following that of the first responder. The program is made possible through the time of volunteers including attorneys, reviewers and witnesses.

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