Category: Personal / Family

Beneficiary Designations and Divorce

One potential consideration of divorcing spouses is changing beneficiary designations on insurance policies, IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.   Usually, this is simply a clerical change that can be done by revising a beneficiary designation form.    Notwithstanding the ease of completing such forms, historically many divorced individuals failed… Continue reading

A Charter School Limitation

The concept of the charter school is relatively recent; it has grown from the belief of many that the public schools are failing to provide the education they should and that the privately-owned charter school will provide a superior experience.  There is also the expectation… Continue reading

A Child’s Duty to Support a Parent

It is well known that parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children at least through the age of 18 or graduation from high school, whichever comes later.  A less well known topic concerns whether adult children have a reciprocal obligation to support… Continue reading

Recent Animal Rights Rulings

Recent Animal Rights Rulings The Case of the “Gothic Cat”.  By statute in Pennsylvania it is a crime to maim, mutilate, torture or disfigure an animal.  In Commonwealth v. Crawford a woman was sentenced to six months of home confinement and electronic monitoring for violating… Continue reading

Family Law Update: Changes in Custody Laws

In November 2010, former Governor Rendell signed a new custody law that went into effect in January of this year.  The purpose of the new law is to modernize custody laws in the Commonwealth, which most practitioners agreed were long outdated, and to create a… Continue reading

Pardon v. Expungement

Governor Ed Rendell will be leaving the Governor’s Mansion next month to make way for Governor Elect Tom Corbett.  One of the Governor’s powers is to grant pardons of convicted criminals.   Usually a change in the executive administration brings with it a rash of pardons… Continue reading

The Terri Schiavo Story Five Years Later, Still an Avoidable Tragedy

It is hard to believe that it has been five years since a court battle erupted in Florida in which a severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo,  passed away while in hospice care. She died nearly ten days after her feeding tube was ordered removed from her… Continue reading

Curb That Frisky Pup!

A woman who was inspecting a house, which was listed for sale in Philadelphia, was attacked and badly injured by the next door neighbor’s 118-pound Rottweiler dog; as a result she instituted litigation (Schickram v. Boss Pet Products) against the dog’s owner, the manufacturer, and distributor… Continue reading

Cell Phone Records and the Fourth Amendment

On February 12, 2010, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument on what is, surprisingly, an issue of first impression:  can the federal government subpoena a person’s cell phone records from its mobile phone provider without a showing of probable cause that the… Continue reading

The Law of Broken Engagements

In case you were ever wondering about this, engagement rings are treated as “conditional gifts” under Pennsylvania law.  As a legal matter, the purchaser/giver of the ring is entitled to recovery of the ring, if the engagement is called off.  In case you were further… Continue reading