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November 2015 Archives

Child Support

Child support in Pennsylvania is based on statewide guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The guidelines are intended to ensure that similarly situated parties are treated similarly. Accordingly, all parties making $3000 per month with 3 kids would pay the same amount of support based on the guideline amounts. The guidelines are based on an "Income Shares Model." Accordingly, the guideline amount will be based on the combined net monthly income of both parties.

National Adoption Day

National Adoption Day is observed nationwide each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. 4,500 children were adopted on National Adoption Day last year and 400 different cities participated in some form of celebration. There have been approx. 54,500 children adopted since 2000. The month of November is National Adoption Month. This is the 20th year for recognition of National Adoption Month after President Clinton extended the recognition from a week to the entire month of November in 1995. The week-long celebration began in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan. Pennsylvania participates in presentation of a proclamation every year regarding National Adoption Month pledging its commitment to make sure every child has a place to call home.

Background Checks for Adoption

Background checks are required for all prospective parents. The requisite checks include Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance through the Department of Human Services, Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks through the State Police, a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Criminal Background Check. These background checks must also be completed for all other adult household members where the adoptee will reside. At this time, requests for all three background checks can be done online. Fingerprinting is required for the FBI Criminal Background Check. If a prospective parent has lived outside of Pennsylvania in the five (5) years preceding the adoption petition, similar background checks must be acquired from each state where he or she resided.

Interest in Marital Property

A creditor may run into trouble in seeking to pursue their interest through real property of a married couple. Lappas v. Brown, 335 Pa. Super. 108 (Pa. Super. 1984), established that property subject to an order of court is in custodia legis, or under wardship of the court, pending compliance with the order. In Lappas, the underlying dispute involved a defense attorney who confessed judgment to get payment for legal services rendered. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth had seized all available funds as derivative contraband. Ultimately, the attorney was unable to collect his fee due to the existing order of court regarding the forfeiture. City of Easton v. Marra, 862 A.2d 170 (2004), expanded the principle of in custodia legis to actions for divorce and equitable distribution. In City of Easton, a divorce proceeding had been pending since 1988 when the City sought collection of unpaid taxes by forcing a tax sale of the real property the parties owned. A motion to stay the sheriff's sale was granted since the property remained in custodia legis pending final resolution and equitable distribution per the parties' divorce action.

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