x June 2015 Archives | Langhorne PA Family Law Attorney Blog
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June 2015 Archives

Workers' Compensation Awards

Pennsylvania law does allow for workers' compensation awards to be distributed as marital property. The key factor is if the right to receive the award accrued during the marriage. Pennsylvania generally defers to the timing of the receipt of assets as opposed to the method in which it was obtained for classifying what will be presumed marital property. In that regard, the purpose of the award is not relevant in determining the marital status. However, the court still has the discretion to consider the purpose of the award and other equitable considerations when determining what percentage should go to each spouse in distributing the marital estate.

Securing an Interest in Real Property

It is a good idea to record your interest in any real property with the Recorder of Deeds as soon as possible. In a divorce matter, if one party is keeping the home, a new deed may need to be drawn up to indicate the sole ownership of the property. Transfers of real property incident to a divorce are exempt from the standard realty transfer taxes. On the other hand, you may need to put a lien on real property to protect your interest in the home's value or as leverage for other sums due to you. In Philadelphia, an Affidavit of Interest in Real Property should be completed and submitted to the Recorder of Deeds. A copy of the current deed for the home is necessary to refer to the legal description of the property.

Procedure for PFAs

Chapter 1900 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure discusses the appropriate method in pursuing a Protection from Abuse (PFA) matter. The first issue addressed is venue and outlines where a PFA action can be initiated. Under Pa. R.C.P. 1901.1, a PFA may be filed in the county where the Plaintiff resides, where the Defendant resides or may be served, where the abuse occurred, or if exclusion from a residence is desired, in the county where the residence is located. The complaint should be filed at the Prothonotary's Office of the local courthouse during business hours or at the local district court if after-hours or on weekends. There is no filing fee payable by the Plaintiff.

Children Witnesses

The general rule on hearsay is that any out of court statement being offered for the truth of the matter cannot be admitted unless it meets one of the exceptions for hearsay. An additional loophole separate from the hearsay exceptions addresses minor children. The policy of the Commonwealth is to promote procedures to protect children witnesses. These procedures are outlined in 42 Pa C.S.A. 5981 - 5988. For the purposes of the provisions in these sections, child is defined as an individual under sixteen (16) years of age. Per Section 5984.1, the court may direct that a child's testimony be recorded for subsequent presentation in court so long as the method accurately captures all information presented during such testimony.

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