Below are a few real life case summaries that our attorneys at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC. have handled. Please read through these or reach out to our firm to discuss your own situation.
Adoption cases can be tricky for parties who are unsure of the correct procedure. Because of the importance the state and the court puts on parental rights, the daunting task of paperwork can overwhelm some parties. We were able to help a pair of grandparents formally adopt their granddaughter after years of being her caregivers by guiding them through the court adoption process. When they came to our office, they were unsure about “rocking the boat” and didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize their lives with their granddaughter or their current award of custody. But through our experience with both public and private adoptions, we were able to file a petition for adoption on their behalf. We then facilitated the child’s father’s voluntary relinquishment of his parental rights, and filed for and argued at a hearing to involuntarily terminate the child’s mother’s parental rights, ultimately finalizing the adoption.
Drug and alcohol addictions can tear families apart and add an extra dimension to custody disputes. A client of mine was grappling with the end of a years-long marriage and worrying about the safety of his young child as a result of his spouse’s substance abuse. We were able to walk him through the process of filing for divorce and custody, being the voice of reason encouraging him to move forward. By filing an emergency custody petition and arguing the facts before both a custody conciliator and later a judge, we were able to shoulder some of the unpleasant duties for our client and get him an award of primary physical and sole legal custody.
Grandparents’ rights are important to protect. Families today often include extended relatives in the child rearing process, most commonly, grandparents. In Pennsylvania, there are certain circumstances in which grandparents can file for custodial rights; either partial or primary. We helped a client fight for primary custody of her granddaughter, after the loss of her son to illness. Where she had previously been in her grandchild’s life daily, she was now limited to seeing her once every couple of weeks. We were able to present a “best interests” argument to the court regarding why the child should reside with her and not the child’s mother. We not only got our client a favorable outcome and reunited her with her granddaughter, but we were able to ease her emotional anxiety while going through the process.
Relocation in the family law world can mean moving to the next county, another state or across the country. Pennsylvania has very clear and strict statutory rules for when a party wants to relocate with the child or children. A significant relocation case that came to our firm was one where we helped our client defend the other party’s request to move across the country from Montgomery County to California. We prepared and filed his counter affidavit alerting the court of his objection and got ready for a two-day hearing. During those two days, we thoroughly presented the issues as to why the children should stay in Pennsylvania to the judge. This case also had an added wrinkle because one of the children had special needs. Ultimately, we were able to get our client what he called the “better than perfect” result. The other party was denied the right to move to California with the children and if she chose to move without them, our client was granted primary physical custody.
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For more information about family law, Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC. at (215) 523-6900.