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Emerging Liability of Agencies in Wrongful Adoptions
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2013

In the vast majority of cases, adopted children do not have any significant impairments and are well adjusted. However, for some unfortunate adopted children and families, the placements become disastrous. Adoption agencies, either intentionally or negligently, fail to divulge to prospective adoptive parents all the medical and/or social background information they have regarding the adopted child and his or her family background. As these failures to disclose continue to occur, adoptive parents have turned to the courts to seek redress for these injuries. These suits, often characterized as actions for ";wrongful adoption," have been brought under a variety of legal theories, including intentional misrepresentation, fraud, intentional nondisclosure and negligence. Full Text


Oil and Gas Interests in Equitable Distribution
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2013

While family law attorneys are well versed in identifying and determining the value of marital assets pursuant to the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, the advent of oil and gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Pennsylvania has presented a new and interesting twist for family law practitioners. Now, when a new divorce client walks through our doors, it is wise for us to inquire if the potential client has an interest (marital or nonmarital) in a real property intangible asset relative to oil and gas. Thanks to the advent of development of shale oil and gas, that fraction of an ownership interest that our client's spouse owns in the family hunting camp situated in the northern tier or southwest corner of Pennsylvania may now, in fact, be the most significant and complicated asset we will deal with in that client's entire divorce proceeding. Full Text


Parenting Coordination Eliminated in Pennsylvania
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2013

Effective May 23, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1915.11-1, titled "Elimination of Parent Coordination," which states:

"Only judges may make decisions in child custody cases. Masters and hearing officers may make recommendations to the court. Courts shall not appoint any other individual to make decisions or recommendations or alter a custody order in child custody cases. Any order appointing a parenting coordinator shall be deemed vacated on the date this rule becomes effective. Local rules and administrative orders authorizing the appointment of parenting coordinators also shall be deemed vacated on the date this rule becomes effective." Full Text


Implications of Tax Law Changes for Matrimonial Cases
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2013

In January, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. While the ATRA averted going over the "fiscal cliff," it presents many tax law changes that could have a tremendous impact on family law clients. Full Text


A Death, a Funeral and the Legal Implications
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2013

Until 2005, when the amendments to the Pennsylvania Divorce Code were enacted, the law relating to death and divorce was straightforward and simple. If one party died prior to a decree in divorce being entered (and prior to all appeals on the divorce having expired), the divorce abated and it was as though no divorce had ever been filed, as in Myers v. Myers, 580 A.2d 384 (Pa. Super. 1990). This was true even if divorce grounds had been established and even if the economic claims had been resolved by a trial court with an appeal pending. The only exception to abatement was if a case was bifurcated, with a divorce decree having been entered and ancillary economic claims having been properly preserved and raised in proceedings and still pending for resolution at the time of the death, as in Pastuszek v. Pastuszek, 499 A.2d 1069 (Pa. Super. 1985). In such a scenario, the economic claims were considered vested." Full Text


Attorney and Realtor Cooperation After Clients Divorce
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2013

Here he comes, the client in immense emotional distress, freshly separated from his wife of several years or even decades. The best well-meaning matrimonial lawyer can't address all his needs, but he or she can start on some of the more important material ones. And it is in that space that an unusual partnership might emerge — between you, his divorce lawyer, and the realtor who is going assist him in finding a short-term or permanent home for the new life upon which he (and maybe his children) will be embarking. Full Text


US Tax Court Trumps State Family Court
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2013

Family law judges and lawyers beware that in assigning the dependency exemption to a noncustodial parent, Form 8332 releasing the exemption must be secured from the custodial parent. In Shenk v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 140 T.C. 10, filed May 6, the U.S. Tax Court disallowed a noncustodial father's dependency exemption claim because of the mother's failure to sign Form 8332, despite a state court's divorce decree providing the dependency exemption would be divided between the parents. Full Text