The requirements for a valid prenuptial agreement not only are necessary at the time of the agreement’s signing, but they must also be last for the duration of the marriage in order for the agreement to be enforceable should the marriage end in divorce. For example, one of the conditions of a valid prenuptial agreement might be that the marital home will go to one of the parties upon divorce. This might be conditioned upon that party making the mortgage payments directly from his or her income. However, if the couple decides to co-mingle their income and use that co-mingled income to make mortgage payments, the otherwise valid prenuptial agreement may be held unenforceable by a Court.
As previously mentioned, prenuptial agreements do more than just protect a party who is entering a marriage with a disproportionately large amount of assets. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement and without a valid will, the law will decide what assets go to the surviving spouse no matter what the true intentions were of the deceased spouse. Moreover, it just makes sense for couples to understand what their financial rights and responsibilities are prior to entering into marriage.
Anyone thinking about entering into a prenuptial agreement should seek an attorney for every step of the process as there are too many legal considerations to take care of without professional help. Both Attorney Sommer or Attorney O’Donnell are here to assist you if you would like to discuss this issue further.
A step-parent adoption in Pennsylvania can be a fairly simple process, and it can be a wonderful step to take to complete the family unit. When the adoption is completed, the child will have the following benefits:
The child will have a relationship with the adoptive parent that is the same as if the child were born to the step-parent. The child’s new birth certificate will show the child’s new name and will have the adoptive parent and the natural parent listed as the child’s mother and father.
Attorney Sommer or Attorney O’Donnell can answer any legal questions you may have regarding a step-parent adoption.
A step-parent in Pennsylvania can file to adopt his or her step child. The step-parent must be legally married to the child’s parent.
In Pennsylvania, a domestic partnership and same-sex marriages, as well as, Grandparents or other family members may also petition to adopt under the step-parent adoption laws.
Both the biological father and the biological mother have parental rights to the child. In every adoption, the absent or consenting parent(s) parental rights will have to be terminated.
Some of the common grounds for termination of parental rights are:
In Pennsylvania, if the child is over 12 years of age, the child will be required to sign consent to the adoption.
A protection from abuse order is a paper that is signed by a Judge and tells the abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both female and male victims.
A protection from abuse order can offer the following protections for you and your children. It can:
Whether or not a Judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
* 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6108(a)
In Pennsylvania, there are a few different types of protection from abuse orders (“PFA”). The type of PFA you may initially get depends on whether the Judge believes you need protection or not.
If you need immediate protection when the courts are closed (such as on a weekend, late night or holiday), you can call your local police department or 911. They will tell you which Magisterial District Judge is on-call that night, and provide you with the telephone number where you can reach her or him. If the Judge thinks you are in immediate danger, s/he may grant you an emergency order. An Emergency Order will only last until the next business day. An Emergency Order is designed to give you protection until a court opens and you have a chance to ask for an ex parte temporary PFA. If you do not go to Court on the next business day to apply for an ex parte temporary PFA, your Emergency Order will expire.*
Ex Parte Temporary PFA
When you ask the court for a PFA, a Judge will give you an ex parte temporary PFA if s/he finds that you or your minor children are in danger of further domestic abuse and need immediate protection. “Ex parte” means that the Judge will make this decision based only on the information you provide, without the abuser being in court. This Temporary Order will last until your full court Hearing for the final PFA where the abuser has an opportunity to testify and present evidence. A Hearing is usually scheduled within 10 business days. If the abuser has a gun or weapon, be sure to tell this to the Judge when applying for your ex parte temporary PFA so that the Judge can order the weapon to be immediately turned over to the sheriff.**
After a Hearing in which you both have an opportunity to tell your side of the story through your testimony, evidence, and witnesses, a judge can grant you a final protection from abuse order (PFA). A final PFA lasts up to 3 years and can be extended under certain circumstances.***
* 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6110(a),(b)
** 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6107(a),(b)
*** 23 Pa.C.S.A.§ 6108(d),(e
This section defines abuse for the purposes of getting a protection from abuse order. Abuse is the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:
* 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3123(a)
** 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3125(a)
*** 18 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 3126(a); 3101
**** 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102(a)
You can file a Petition in the county where you live (permanently or temporarily) or work, in any county where the abuser can be served (i.e., where s/he lives or works), or in the county where the abuse took place. However, if you are going to be asking the Judge to remove the abuser from the home you share, you MUST file the Petition in the county where your home is located.*
* Pa.R.C.P. 1901.1(a)-(b)
Many people wish to change their names, or the name of their minor child, in order to get a new start in life. Pennsylvania law governs the procedures by which a person’s name can be changed in the state of Pennsylvania. The Office of the Prothonotary in your county of residence is where you will submit the documents necessary to change your name. There are different procedures to follow, depending on the reason for changing your name and whether it involves an adult or a minor child. It is up to the Court whether to order a name change after a Hearing before a Judge.