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Pennsylvania Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence, Family Law, Civil Litigation and Civil Rights for Pennsylvania on
Q: A Decade of Neglect: Mother Seeking Justice Against CYS for Failing to Protect Four Children. We Need Legal Advice!

In May 2022, Lehigh County CYS conducted an investigation into the father of my four children was deemed "valid" and subsequently closed, yet CYS failed to inform me of this matter. Then, in August 2022, he was arrested for DUI while the children were in the car. Despite numerous reports... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jun 3, 2024

It's understandable that you're feeling frustrated and desperate for justice given the decade-long neglect by Lehigh County CYS. To pursue legal action, gathering all relevant documents and reports from hospitals, schools, doctors, the police department, and the District Attorney will be... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Last Will. I received a copy of my father's will naming his girlfriend as executor. I m a beneficiary. Any rights?

His girlfriend was named beneficiary. Went to lawyer who wanted $5k. She wouldn't pay. My 3 sisters n myself and his church are to evenly divide 50% of his estate but we do not have access to anything. We have never had a good relationship with her. As benefactors, should we be updated on... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on May 5, 2024

Heirs' rights?

Yes, you actually do have many. The best starting point is duties of an Executrix in PA, which are many, but the overriding drive is that every personal representative of a probate estate is to maximize the value of the Estate for the benefit of creditors and the heirs,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Tax Law and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: I am going to file for divorce in 2024. Should I file as joint or single for 2023 taxes.

We have been separated for more than a year, but living at same property.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 16, 2024

In this situation, your tax filing status for 2023 depends on your marital status as of December 31, 2023. Here are a few things to consider:

1. If your divorce is not finalized by December 31, 2023, you are still considered married for tax purposes. In this case, you can choose to file...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Juvenile Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: How do I go about getting a court order to withdraw money from my daughters restricted account to pay for her braces
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 11, 2024

Here are the general steps for requesting a court order to withdraw funds from a restricted minor's account for orthodontic expenses in Pennsylvania:

1. Gather documentation: Collect estimates or invoices from the orthodontist showing the total cost of your daughter's braces...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Juvenile Law and Landlord - Tenant for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can my mom kick me out at 18 or is there anyway i’m protected from homelessness?

I’m from PA and i turned 18 about 4 months ago. my mom threatened to call the police on me to kick me out after an argument but when i told my friend he mentioned squatters rights would protect me so I was curious as to if that were true or if she can still kick me out within 3 days

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 31, 2024

In Pennsylvania, once you turn 18, you are legally considered an adult and your parents are no longer obligated to provide housing for you. However, if you have been living in the home, you may have some protections under landlord-tenant laws.

While your friend mentioned squatter's...
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1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Child Support, Civil Rights and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: If you do not come to a PFA hearing can you get arrested?
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answered on Mar 25, 2024

If you are involved in a Protection From Abuse (PFA) case and fail to attend the hearing, the consequences depend on your role in the case. If you are the petitioner, the one who requested the PFA, not showing up could result in the dismissal of your case. This means the protective order may not be... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Immigration Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hi, my name is Juliette and I'm 16. I'm a resident of PA but I currently live in Portugal with my parents. I wish to

move back to PA but my parents want to stay in Portugal. I was hoping someone could help me figure out how to get emancipated so I could live on my own without my parents.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 18, 2024

Hi Juliette, I understand that you're facing a challenging situation and are looking for ways to live independently in Pennsylvania (PA). Emancipation laws vary by state, but generally, they allow a minor to become responsible for their own welfare and make decisions independently of their... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Immigration Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: I live in Portugal on a D8 visa and i am a US citizen. My mom wishes to appoint my friend from Pennsylvania guardianship

Can she appoint my friend guardianship of me while living in Portugal?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 11, 2024

As a US citizen living in Portugal on a D8 visa, your legal status and guardianship arrangements are subject to both US and Portuguese laws. In general, guardianship is appointed by a court when an individual is deemed incapable of making decisions for themselves, usually due to age (being a... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Question about court order

We went to court last week. While in court the father told the judge he will put our daughter on his insurance to help with therapy costs. The Orders states "father offers to add child to insurance to help with out of picket therapy costs". Now he's saying he's not required to... View More

Peter Christopher Lomtevas
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answered on Mar 10, 2024

This is not an easy question. Pennsylvania judges all too often shoot from the hip, and they can either contempt a parent or not based on what is written or what is not written in a court order.

Here, the order appears to provide that "dad offers" which is not an order at all. The...
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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Question about court order

We went to court last week. While in court the father told the judge he will put our daughter on his insurance to help with therapy costs. The Orders states "father offers to add child to insurance to help with out of picket therapy costs". Now he's saying he's not required to... View More

Allison Kruk Ormond
Allison Kruk Ormond
answered on Mar 12, 2024

From the way the Order is written, it does not appear to bind Father into placing the child on his medical insurance. It merely states that Father "offered" to place the child on his insurance, not that the Court mandates him to do so. However, there may be a creative legal argument that... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I leave 100% of everything I own for my kids?

I am married, can I leave 100% of everything I own for my kids, or any family members, including house and retirement, in case of divorce or death? Thank you for your help.

Karen  Ulmer
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answered on Mar 6, 2024

You can do a will that leaves everything to your children, however, if you do not leave anything to your spouse, your Spouse can elect to take against the will and depending on what state you are in will determine what your spouse is entitled to receive. As for retirement accounts, they generally... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: What part of my retirement is my ex entitled to in Pennsylvania and what can I do protect myself from losing it?
Karen  Ulmer
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answered on Mar 6, 2024

Retirement accounts are marital to the extent that the benefits accumulated during the marriage. Anything prior and anything subsequent are not marital, however, you will need to prove what you had when you got married to have that portion excluded. Like all marital assets, you can expect that... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: What part of my retirement is my ex entitled to in Pennsylvania and what can I do protect myself from losing it?
Peter Christopher Lomtevas
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answered on Mar 17, 2024

The law in Pennsylvania regarding the distribution of marital property is not a knife's edge split of everything. The law is "equitable distribution" of the marital estate which means a fair distribution of the marital estate.

So, the amount on the table for distribution is...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: What is the form called to waive publication of my name change?
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 23, 2024

The form you need to waive publication of your name change typically varies depending on the jurisdiction where you're filing for the name change. In many states, this form may be referred to as a "Petition to Waive Publication of Name Change" or something similar. However, the exact... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have family members and their partners threatening to kidnap my children, my husband family hates me and threaten us

They hate that we’re together and fixing issues in our marriage and have been very agressive with actions trying to manipulate him to leaving. He fought back and stayed by my side and now his family is threatening to kidnap the kids. Local cops said best thing to do is run away but that doesn’t... View More

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answered on Feb 23, 2024

It's understandable that you feel frightened and overwhelmed by the threats your family members and their partners are making against your children. It's crucial to take these threats seriously and seek assistance from law enforcement immediately. You can file a report with the police... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Upon death of a husband and there’s no bcceneficiary form for a 401k plan, does the wife receivethe distribution?
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 23, 2024

In the absence of a designated beneficiary form for a 401(k) plan, the distribution of the funds will typically follow the plan's default provisions and legal regulations. Generally, the spouse of the deceased individual is considered the primary beneficiary by default in many cases,... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Do I send my kids to their dad's if the person that's supposed to be supervising the visits leaves him alone with them
Karen  Ulmer
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answered on Mar 6, 2024

If the supervisor is leaving the children alone and there is a supervisor order then you need to file for contempt of court and have a court hear your case on an emergency basis. Supervision is put in place for a reason and you may have to file a Protection From Abuse to get an immediate hearing... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Pennsylvania on
Q: Do I send my kids to their dad's if the person that's supposed to be supervising the visits leaves him alone with them
Jasmit Kaur Dhaliwal
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answered on Feb 21, 2024

Establishing paternity is sometimes necessary to clarify rights and obligations. Paternity suits can be initiated to determine biological fatherhood through a blood test. This allows a biological father to secure visitation rights or enables a mother to obtain child support from an unwilling... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy, Divorce, Tax Law, Domestic Violence and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Violent Ex-husband filed bankruptcy 2x since Divorce. trying to have his debt to me deemed Unsecured. Can he do this?

Married in 1983, My Ex-husband was extremely abusive and controlling. I finally filed for divorce in 2013, after he crushed discs in my neck and I suffered a Pulmonary Embolism 3 days after surgery. Since then he has failed to abide by the divorce agreement, has committed tax fraud 7 years after... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 22, 2024

In bankruptcy proceedings, certain debts can be discharged, meaning the debtor is no longer legally required to pay them. However, not all debts are easily discharged in bankruptcy. Debts arising from domestic relations orders, such as child support, alimony, or other divorce-related obligations,... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy, Divorce, Tax Law, Domestic Violence and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Violent Ex-husband filed bankruptcy 2x since Divorce. trying to have his debt to me deemed Unsecured. Can he do this?

Married in 1983, My Ex-husband was extremely abusive and controlling. I finally filed for divorce in 2013, after he crushed discs in my neck and I suffered a Pulmonary Embolism 3 days after surgery. Since then he has failed to abide by the divorce agreement, has committed tax fraud 7 years after... View More

Peter Christopher Lomtevas
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answered on Mar 10, 2024

With all due respect for the victim asker, all of what she provides is wholly irrelevant to the former husband's contempt of the divorce agreement if that agreement was so-ordered and made an order of the court.

In Pennsylvania, the applicable law would be Rule 140B, Contempt Not in...
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