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Law in the Family

Law in the Family

By Pennsylvania Bar Association
Law in the Family is a production of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section, providing insights for lawyers about the practice of family law in Pennsylvania. The information shared is for general purposes only. Nothing in this podcast should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed are those of the hosts & guests, and don't necessarily represent those of the PBA. Hosts: Aaron D. Weems and Anthony M. Hoover.
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Episode 16 - Family Law Section Unveils Co-Parenting Video | Helen Casale

Law in the Family

Episode 18 - A Contested Adoption: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reverses a Parental Termination | Chelsey Christiansen
Chelsey Christiansen was court-appointed to a contested adoption case and ended up arguing before the Supreme Court on her birthday. Chelsey shares with us the unusual procedural and factual background of a contested trial and the impact of a party seeking custody of a child. Chelsey A. Christiansen focuses her practice on family and juvenile law, litigation, child custody, divorce, child support, and child advocacy. Ms. Christiansen has experience representing clients in family law matters at the mediation, arbitration, trial, and appellate level. She also has experience providing litigation support to commercial clients, including drafting pleadings and representing the interests of commercial clients in small claims court. Christiansen Prevails Before PA Supreme Court | High Swartz *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
September 22, 2022
Episode 17 - Meet Incoming Family Law Section Chair Darren Holst | Darren Holst
Incoming chair of the PBA Family Law Section, Darren Holst, joins us to discuss his goals and plans for his year as section chair and ways for attorneys across the state can benefit from being involved in the section. Darren Holst is a partner with the Pennsylvania family law firm of Howett, Kissinger & Holst PC. He focuses his practice on matrimonial law. Darren handles cases including complex divorce, child custody, and child support. He frequently finds himself in trial and appellate courts protecting the rights of his clients. Previously, Darren served as the clerk to Judge Samuel A. Kline of the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Harrisburg Area Community College, where he instructs paralegals on areas including legal research, writing, ethics and core substantive law such as contracts, torts, criminal law, real property, business law and family law. Darren Holst - Howett, Kissinger & Holst PC ( *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
August 11, 2022
Episode 16 - Family Law Section Unveils Co-Parenting Video | Helen Casale
Section Chair Helen Casale discusses the release of a co-parenting video created and produced by the Section as a resource for parents and attorneys to help develop better co-parenting relationships and better outcomes for children. Helen Casale is the 2021-22 chair of the PBA Family Law Section and a shareholder at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller in Norristown. She concentrates her practice on all aspects of family law, often taking on the most complicated cases. Helen is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has ranked as one of the top 50 female attorneys in Pennsylvania every year since 2011 by Pennsylvania Super Lawyermagazine, received the Philadelphia Busines Journal’s 40 Under 40 award and was named a Lawyer on the Fast Track by The Legal Intelligencer and Philadelphia Law Weekly. *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
July 06, 2022
Episode 15 - Dealing with Grandparents and Third Party Custody Rights | Janine Dunlap Kiah
We speak with Janine Dunlap Kiah from the SeniorLAW Center. The SeniorLAW Center is the only pro bono organization specializing in grandparent custody cases. Volunteer opportunities exist across the state from in-person pro bono representation to serving on the Center’s hotline to advise and assist parties in need. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the SeniorLAW Center’s Legal Director, Dana Goldberg: Janine Dunlap Kiah is the director for the Pursuing Justice for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Pennsylvania project at SeniorLAW Center, based in Philadelphia, PA. In this role, she manages a federally funded statewide initiative poised to increase access to legal representation, education, and resources to older adults caring for children when the biological parents are absent. Prior to joining SeniorLAW Center, Janine practiced family law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 1997. She earned her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law and a B.A. in Vocal Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. Janine resides in Philadelphia with her wife, two boisterous boys, and their black cat, Shadow. SeniorLAW Center – Protecting the Rights of Older Pennsylvanians PA Custody Statute on Standing: 23 Pa.C.S.A. 5324 Chapter 53. - Title 23 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS ( *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
June 22, 2022
Episode 14 - Dealing with Repeat Custody Filings and Frivolous Petitions | Skip Persick
We speak with Skip Persick about steps that Family Law attorneys can take in dealing with repetitive custody litigants. Lawrence J. “Skip” Persick focuses his practice on adoption, divorce, custody, support, dependency, and guardianship. Skip's experience also includes cases dealing with school discipline and the termination of parental rights. He has represented the prevailing party in many notable cases, including a Berks County decision granting compensatory and punitive damages on tort claims raised in the context of a divorce action. A former assistant public defender for Chester County, Skip has remained active within the county and also delivers annual talks on young people and the law to various secondary schools. Skip was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2022 edition of Best Lawyers in America for Family Law. He was also recognized among Suburban Life magazine’s 2022 Five-Star Attorneys for Divorce/Family Law. Lawrence J. "Skip" Persick - Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby, LLP ( Some Help in Defending Repeat Custody Filings | The Legal Intelligencer ( Cited Cases and Rules from Article: · Pa. R.C.P. 233.1 · Pa. R.C.P. 1023.1 – 1023.4 · 23 Pa. C.S.A. §5339 · 42 Pa. C.S.A. §2503 · 42 Pa. C.S.A. §2503 · Moyer v. Leone, 260 A.3d 245 (Pa. Superior 2021) · Dong Yuan Chen v. Saidi, 100 A.3d 587 (Pa. Superior 2014). · Avetyan v. Sternberg, 216 Pa. Dist.& Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 30 (Bucks Co. 2016), · Lowery-Shannon v. Shannon, 2014 Pa. Dist.& Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 3506 (Lawrence Co. 2014) a · Morgans v. Morgans, 2012 Pa.Dist.& Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 100 (Allegheny Co. 2012) · Lowe v. Lowe, 110 A.3d 211 (Pa. Superior 2015) · Coulter v. Ramsden, 94 A.3d 1080 (Pa. Superior 2014) · Coulter v. Lindsay, 159 A.3d 947 (Pa. Superior 2017) · Pa. R. Prof. Conduct 3.1 *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
May 25, 2022
Episode 13 - Arbitration in Family Law Cases | Shelly Grossman & Carolyn Zack
We discuss the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act: HB 1366. The bill was unanimously passed by the state House last year and is currently awaiting action by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Shelly Grossman is a partner with Potts, Shoemaker, & Grossman in West Chester, PA. She has dedicated her time and efforts to improving the practice of family law by authoring articles for the American Bar Association’s Family Advocate and Pennsylvania Family Lawyer. She, along with Alita Rovito, Esquire, co-authored the chapter on the Equitable Distribution Trial in Slicing Up the Pie, published by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. Shelly is a frequent lecturer on divorce, equitable distribution, and other family law issues. Carolyn Zack is a partner with Momjian Anderer in Philadelphia, PA. She serves regularly as a mediator and binding arbitrator for divorce matters, as well as a parenting coordinator for high-conflict custody matters. Ms. Zack works to improve the practice of family law by writing and teaching, as well as by actively participating in the state and local professional associations. HB 1366: Rochelle B. Grossman, Esquire - Potts, Shoemaker & Grossman ( Carolyn Moran Zack — Momjian Anderer *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
May 25, 2022
Episode 12 - What to Know about the New Support Guidelines | Michael Chilcot
Michael Chilcot speaks with us about the new Pennsylvania Support Guidelines that went into effect this year. He discusses some of the important changes to the guidelines and some changes that might not be immediately obvious, but may have serious impacts on cases. Michael R. Chilcot, Jr. is an associate with Leech Tishman and a member of the Litigation Practice Group, where he focuses on family law. Michael is based in the State College office where he regularly advises clients on family and collaborative law and real estate law. Michael R. Chilcot, Jr. - Leech Tishman: Legal Services LexisNexis Practice Guide: Pennsylvania Family Law | LexisNexis Store 2022 Update to Pennsylvania Support Rules - Leech Tishman: Legal Services *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
March 04, 2022
Episode 11 - Trying a Parental Alienation Case | Jill Scheidt
Jill Scheidt, a veteran family law attorney, recently experienced one of the starkest examples of parental alienation. She takes us through the trial as we discuss the concept of parental alienation and how it can be approached in a custody case. Since 1992, Jill has practiced in Berks County with current concentrations in family law including custody, support and divorce. Over the past 26 years, Jill has litigated a variety of cases to verdict, including premises liability, medical malpractice, motor vehicle negligence, assault, DUI and three murder cases, including one capital case. She has also taught courses in the paralegal program at the Pennsylvania State University in legal research, legal writing, civil procedure, criminal law and torts. She taught Introduction to Business as an adjunct instructor at Reading Area Community College. CITATION: A.L.B. v. M.D.L. :: 2020 :: Pennsylvania Superior Court Decisions :: Pennsylvania Case Law :: Pennsylvania Law :: US Law :: Justia *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
March 04, 2022
Episode 10 - So You Want to Start a Law Practice: Need-to-Know Tips | Christina DeMatteo
Christina DeMatteo’s career as a family law attorney has afforded her the opportunity to practice law in a range of law firms, from large firms to her current role as a solo/small firm. Christina shares with us her experience in building a thriving practice from scratch and tips that are helpful to attorneys no matter how or where they practice. Christina has been focused solely on family law since 1999. She is experienced in all areas of family law, including equitable distribution, alimony, alimony pendente lite, spousal support, child support, custody and abuse matters. Welcome - Law Office of Christina M. DeMatteo LLC ( *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
March 04, 2022
Episode 9 - Bankruptcy’s Impact on Family Law Cases | Tracy Updike
We speak with Tracy Updike, Esquire, who specializes in commercial and consumer bankruptcy as we explore the financial and legal issues family law attorneys need to be aware of should their clients or their clients’ former spouses seek personal or business protections through bankruptcy. Tracy L. Updike, Esq., is Of Counsel at Mette, Evans & Woodside in Harrisburg. She focuses her practice in the field of consumer and commercial bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. She is a frequent lecturer on bankruptcy topics at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and for the Middle District Bankruptcy Bar Association. She is an adjunct professor for Bankruptcy Law at Widener Law Commonwealth in Harrisburg. CITATIONS In re Gianakas, 917 F.2d 759 (3d Cir. 1990) - whether obligation is in nature of support so as to be nondischargeable depends on intent of parties at time of settlement agreement, which can be found by examining three indicators: first, language and substance of agreement in context of surrounding circumstances; second, parties' financial circumstances at time of agreement; third, function served by obligation at time of divorce or settlement. Farelli v. Farelli (In re Farelli), 347 B.R. 501 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 2006)- state court characterization of debtor's obligation as distribution of property was not dispositive; disparity in financial circumstances showed award of 65 percent of marital property was to provide spouse with means to support and maintain herself In re Tyndall, 360 B.R. 68 (Bankr. D. Del. 2007) - obligation to pay $500 weekly pursuant to separation agreement, despite express language in agreement that payments were not intended as alimony, were domestic support obligation Hanrahan v. Ketch, 243 A3d 219 (Pa Superior Ct. 2020) – state court had concurrent jurisdiction (born out of  a bankruptcy law change) with bankruptcy court to acknowledge and enforce former wife's debt to former husband under property settlement agreement *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
January 20, 2022
Episode 8 - Cryptocurrency Considerations in Family Law | Alex Langan
We speak with Alex Langan, an attorney, financial advisor, and professor. Alex helps us better understand the impact cryptocurrency can have as an asset and ways family law attorneys can approach obtaining discovery, valuing, and generally what to look for if cryptocurrency is an issue – or a suspected issue – in a case. Alex Langan is the Chief Investment Officer at Langan Financial Group.  As Chief Investment Officer, Alex oversees the management of investment portfolios, acts as a fiduciary over group retirement plans, and interacts with clients regarding their risk tolerance, asset allocation, financial goals and planning. *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
January 20, 2022
Episode 7 - Underutilized Discovery Tips and Tricks | Missy Boyd
We speak with Missy Boyd, a family law partner with High Swartz in Norristown, Montgomery County, about discovery tools not often utilized by family law attorneys, including the use of Request for Admissions and the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act. Links: Rule 4014 - Request for Admission, 231 Pa. Code § 4014 | Casetext Search + Citator Pennsylvania Bulletin ( Family Law Attorney | Melissa (Missy) M. Boyd | Montgomery County ( Melissa (Missy) Boyd is the head of High Swartz Domestic Relations Practice and concentrates on all aspects of family law. Among her other leadership roles, Missy is the chairperson for the Family Justice Advisory Board of Montgomery County. The FJAB works to examine and recommend ways the courts and its partners can effectively improve the County’s overall Family Court system. Missy is the past Chair of the Montgomery County Bar Association Family Law Section and is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers where she serves on the board of governors for the Pennsylvania Chapter. *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
November 17, 2021
Episode 6 - Privacy and Data Security for the Family Lawyer | Mark McCreary
We speak with Mark McCreary, a data and privacy attorney with Fox Rothschild. Mark is an expert in this field and gives us insight into the world of data privacy, hacker attacks, and ransomware, as well as practical ideas and considerations to help secure our practices and client data. Join us for a frank conversation about the risks lawyers run with client data and steps that can be taken so your firm and your clients aren’t victims of data breaches. For more on Mark McCreary: *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
November 04, 2021
Episode 5 - When COVID Vaccinations and Custody Rights Collide: A Discussion with Dori Green
Last summer Dori Green wrote an article about the intersection of COVID vaccines and legal custody rights of parents. In a short period of time, much has evolved including preliminary approval of children under 12 years of age being vaccinated and interesting Orphans Court opinion out of Chester County addressing vaccinations in an incapacitate adult child. Dori joins us to discuss the Chester County decision, pre-COVID vaccination laws and holdings, and what we may see in the courts going forward on this issue. Dori F. Green, an associate in the Family Law practice, represents individuals in matters involving divorce, custody, relocation, petitions for return pursuant to the Hague Convention, support, alimony, equitable distribution, name-change petitions, marital settlement agreements, and premarital agreements. Who Gets to Decide if a Child Can be Vaccinated? | The Legal Intelligencer ( Dori F. Green | Family Law Attorney | Norristown | Philadelphia ( *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
November 04, 2021
Episode 4 - The Biden Tax Plan: Questions, Comments, Concerns, and Opportunities | Mitchell Benson
We speak with forensic account Mitchell Benson of Savran Benson about the Biden Tax Plan and infrastructure bill and the impact of issues like the advanced child tax credit, PPP loans and tax enforcement, the potential impact on changes to the corporate tax and capital gains rates, as well as possible changes to the estate tax law. Mitchell Benson specializes in matrimonial litigation support, real estate tax planning and compliance, and tax and consulting for individuals and closely held businesses. He has been a partner with Savran Benson LLP for over 30 years. He is a member of the American Institute and Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, having served on various committees and in leadership positions. Savran Benson LLP | Certified Public Accountants and Consultants *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
November 04, 2021
Episode 3 - Secondary Trauma in Attorneys: A Candid Discussion of Mental Health in Professionals | Brian S. Quinn
Attorneys deal with an incredible amount of mental health stress and family law attorneys are no exception. In fact, family law attorneys often endue secondary trauma — trauma that is “passed” from the client to the attorney — more than almost any other practice. Brian Quinn talks about secondary or transferred trauma, the mental health challenges facing attorneys and ways to cope. Brian S. Quinn is the education and outreach coordinator for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania Inc., a lawyers assistance program established in 1988 for the purpose of helping lawyers, judges and law students recover from alcoholism, drug addiction and mental health disorders. Brian is also a licensed attorney having practiced law for over 40 years handling a variety of civil and criminal matters, including family law. *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
September 30, 2021
Episode 2 - What’s in Store for the PBA Family Law Section in the Year Ahead | Helen Casale
The chair of the PB Family Law Section, Helen Casale, discusses her initiatives to reduce conflict between separated parents, improve the practice of family law and improve the physical health and mental health of family law attorneys in Pennsylvania. Helen Casale is the 2021-22 chair of the PBA Family Law Section and a shareholder at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller in Norristown. She concentrates her practice on all aspects of family law, often taking on the most complicated cases. Helen is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has ranked as one of the top 50 female attorneys in Pennsylvania every year since 2011 by Pennsylvania Super Lawyer magazine, received the Philadelphia Busines Journal’s 40 Under 40 award and was named a Lawyer on the Fast Track by The Legal Intelligencer and Philadelphia Law Weekly. *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
September 30, 2021
Episode 1 - Is the Death of Alimony Exaggerated? | Catherine M. McFadden
Divorcing spouses do not like paying alimony. Even for a spouse who may be entitled to alimony, there are incentives to request financial consideration other than monthly alimony payments, which are often subject to termination or modification. This episode discusses how alimony has evolved in recent years and how attorneys and the courts are utilizing it in resolving cases. Catherine M. McFadden, a partner at Momjian Anderer LLC, Philadelphia, has nearly 40 years of experience in family law, including divorce, equitable distribution of marital property, alimony, child support and child custody. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer and is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. *audio editing, voice over & music by Nick DeMatteo
September 30, 2021