Resources

Category: Family Law

Feb 4, 2019 - Custody

REMOVAL OF CHILD FROM ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

By TOM BLACKBURN One issue in family practice that causes substantial alarm, is when one parent threatens to remove one or more children from the area of the original residence to either another state or another distant location, against the will of the other parent. We receive inquiries on both sides of this issue. On one hand, a parent’s desire to remove the child from an area of violence, hardship and distress, is understandable as they may well see greener pastures, physically, emotionally and financially, in another state or jurisdiction. Perhaps a better job is offered or the encouragement of multiple family members await the children in this new location. On the other hand, this threat of removal can be a devastating blow to the other parent. The threat manifests cries of panic and injustice. The ability to see their child and to maintain input in decision making could be drastically reduced because of the distance involved in the relocation. Often a discerning eye can see that this threat of removal is really an escape from responsibility, or a grasp for complete control avoiding the consideration of the other parent. Criminal Offense? It is first necessary to understand that the mere act of removing a child from the jurisdiction against the will of the other parent, without Court approval, is often a criminal act. Pursuant to applicable law, “A person commits an offense if he knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child under the age of 18 years from […]

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Feb 1, 2019 - Custody

CUSTODY: GRANDPARENTS AND OTHER RELATIVES

By TOM BLACKBURN Do Grandparents have a right to file a Petition for Custody of their grandchildren? What about Aunts, Uncles, or friends? Is it possible for these concerned parties to request custody when the living situation of these minors is dire? I often get calls asking these very questions. The stories are frequently challenging and they involve issues of drug abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse and neglect. While these relatives still love and care for the natural parents of these children, they are willing to hire counsel to improve living conditions for these neglected and abused                                children. Grandparents Applicable Pennsylvania law now recognizes the right of a grandparent to file a Petition for Custody. While presumption in these cases favors the natural parent, it may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. 23 Pa. C.S.A. §5327(b). A grandparent’s right to file a Petition for Custody is limited. When the natural parent is not consenting to such custody, the grandparent can request an order approving such custody if the grandparent stands in an “in loco parentis” role with the child, meaning “in place of” or if one of the following conditions are met: a) the child has been determined to be a dependent child; b) the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or c) the child has lived with the grandparent for at least twelve […]

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