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Where to File for Adoption

An adoption petition can be filed in a number of places depending on the circumstances of your case. Pursuant to 23 P.A. CS 2302, an adoption may be brought in the county where the parent(s) reside, where the adoptee resides, where an office is located for an agency having custody of the adoptee, or with leave of court, where the adoptee formerly resided. Section 2301 dictates that each county shall exercise jurisdiction through the appropriate division for adoption matters. In Pennsylvania, it is the Orphans' Court that regularly handles adoption matters. In New Jersey, it is the Surrogates' office.

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Adoption Hearing

One of the final steps in the adoption process is the adoption hearing. The hearing is often ceremonial in nature. It is common for family and friends to attend along with the prospective adoptee parents. The adoptee(s) must be present as well. At the hearing, the Petitioners should be prepared to show all legal requirements for an adoption have been met. Any documents that were attached to your original petition or subsequently filed with the court should already be in the court file (i.e. original birth certificate, background checks, home study report.) Additional requirements may include service on the opposing party in which case you should be sure to have valid proof of service with you for your hearing.

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What If Your Ex Hid Money During the Divorce?

While the law requires both spouses to disclose all assets and liabilities with an accurate estimation of value for distribution between spouses, it's not uncommon for someone to try to hide the actual worth of their property.

The Effects of Divorce on Men and Women

Divorce affects every aspect of a person's life: economic, physical, emotional, and social. Men and women experience these changes differently, however. If you are divorcing, it's best to know what to expect so you can develop a strategy that will help you through the process with the least harm to your health and well-being.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

When most people think of property, they think only of assets, but debts are also considered property for the purpose of a divorce settlement. In order to divide assets and debts between the spouses, a thorough listing and determination of status is needed. That status can be marital, non-marital, or a combination of the two.

Home Studies

If you are adopting a child that is not related or not within the categories of relation qualifying as a kinship adoption, you will need to have a home study completed as part of the adoption process. You should have your requisite background checks completed prior to or in connection with requesting your home study as the reports will need to be reviewed by your social worker. In Bucks County, you can apply for a home study by filing a request for a preplacement home study. There is a filing fee due at the time of filing the request. Presently, it is $650.

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If Your Spouse Won't Agree to a Divorce in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is unusual among states in that it still has both no-fault and fault divorce options on the books. The many issues regarding divorce in PA are defined in Pennsylvania Statutes Title 23 Pa.C.S.A. Domestic Relations, Part IV.

Shared Accounts and your Divorce

Digital technology has advanced at such a rapid pace and has permeated so many aspects of our lives that you don't realize how many ways you're dependent on it until you have to separate your digital world from the partner with whom you've shared it.

Paternity Fraud

Establishing paternity can be as simple as the father executing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form. The acknowledgment indicates the father is waiving his rights to any genetic testing or trial on the issue of paternity. An acknowledgment acts as conclusive evidence that the person who signed the acknowledgment is in fact the father of any subject child(ren). Once an acknowledgment of paternity is signed, it is very difficult for a father to then try to allege the child is not his. 23 Pa. C.S. Section 5103(g) discusses grounds for rescission of an acknowledgment. It can be revoked within the first sixty (60) days of signature. After 60 days, it can only be rescinded by court order following a hearing. A hearing can be requested by filing a Petition with the court.

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