Posts Tagged ‘custody lawyer reading pa’

Spotlight Issue: Social media and family law

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

You may not realize the significance of social media posts in your Berks County family law case until it is too late. For that reason, think before you post! Having a social media presence is expected and common these days, but when you’re embroiled in a contentious custody, divorce or support case, what you post on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other sites, could negatively impact your chances of success.

Let’s examine some possible scenarios.

You’ve made an argument in domestic relations that your support obligation should be reduced because your hours were cut at work. But, the week before your modification hearing, you post pictures on Facebook of the new vehicle that you just purchased. The attorney for your ex brings those pictures to the conference officer’s attention and argues at the conference that your support obligation shouldn’t be reduced because there obviously hasn’t been a significant change in your circumstances. The conference officer agrees and recommends to the judge that the support order not be amended.

You’ve filed a petition asking the court to grant you more custodial time with you children. However, the last 3 weekends that you’ve had your children, you hired a babysitter to stay with them and went out with your friends. You also posted pictures on Instagram while you were out. The attorney for your ex brings those pictures to court and argues that you aren’t taking advantage of the time that you currently have with your children and that modifying the custody schedule would not be in the best interest of your children. The judge denies your modification request.

You’re in the middle of a difficult divorce and negotiations have been ongoing. Your attorney tells you that you are finally getting close to a resolution and it looks like you’re going to end up keeping the marital residence, which is what you really want. Late at night you decide to write a tweet talking about karma which is obviously about your ex even though you don’t mention any names. You get a call from your attorney the next day that the deal is off.

How can you prevent the above situations from happening? Well, aside from the obvious answer of not making the posts in the first place, we have a couple of tips to keep in mind. Be sure that all of your social media accounts have high “privacy” settings so that strangers can’t access your pages. Remember that social media posts and text messages are very easily preserved and can be used against you in court. Be aware that social media posts can inflame emotions and make negotiations in Berks County family law cases more difficult. If you’re questioning whether it’s a good idea to post something, it probably isn’t.

The scenarios we’ve discussed may seem extreme and obvious, but similar situations are not uncommon and it’s important to think about how something you post on social media could affect your own case. If you’re already involved with divorce, support or custody case in Reading, PA or are about to be, it’s important for you to have a Berks County family law attorney who pays attention to the details of your case. Contact our knowledgeable attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at

Spotlight Issue: Berks County emergency custody petitions

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

What do you do if you do not have a current custody order and your child’s other parent is not allowing you to see your child? In Berks County, you will need to file a custody complaint as soon as possible. The good news is that once your complaint is filed, you will be scheduled for a custody conference. The bad news is that the conference will be scheduled a couple of months in the future. Are you supposed to simply wait for the conference date to be given time with you child? NO! You are able to file an emergency custody petition in Berks County to ask a custody judge to immediately give you time with your child.

How does the emergency custody petition process work? First, you will meet with an ENM Law attorney to determine whether or not your situation requires an emergency custody petition. If the answer is “yes,” then your ENM Law attorney will file a petition asking that the custody judge grant the emergency relief that you are requesting. The other parent must be given 48 hours notice of the date and time that the petition will be presented. If your case has already been assigned to a custody judge then your petition will generally be heard by that same judge. However, if your custody judge is not available then the petition can be presented to the emergency motions judge.

At the emergency petition hearing, your ENM Law attorney will present the judge with the circumstances surrounding your request for emergency relief and argue for the best outcome. If the judge grants your request then a temporary order will be issued pending the decision at the scheduled custody conference.

A recent Berks County custody client came to Attorney McAllister for help because the custodial parent was refusing to allow our client to visit with his child. The first step Attorney McAllister took was to file a custody complaint in Reading, PA. A custody conference was scheduled as a result of that complaint, but it wasn’t to be held for a couple of months. Faced with the alternative of his client not seeing the child until the conference date, Attorney McAllister filed an emergency petition asking that the judge immediately grant his client time with the child pending the conference. Thanks to the hard work of Attorney McAllister, the custody judge granted our client significant periods of custody.

If you think that you may need an emergency custody petition filed in Reading, PA, contact our knowledgeable Berks County custody attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at

Spotlight Issue: Custody rights of grandparents in Pennsylvania

Friday, March 31st, 2017

What custody rights do grandparents have in Pennsylvania? PA law sets forth the criteria to determine whether a grandparent can petition the court for any type of physical custody of a child (including full custody):

- The grandparent’s relationship with the child must have started with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order;
- The grandparent must be willing to assume responsibility for the child; and
- One of the following conditions must be met:

1- the child is declared dependent by the courts
2- the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or
3- the child has lived with the grandparent for a period of at least 12 consecutive months and is then removed from the home by the parents – the action must be filed within six months of the child’s removal

If a grandparent in Pennsylvania is requesting only partial physical custody or supervised physical custody then the grandparent must show one of the following situations exists:

- If a parent of the child is deceased then a parent or grandparent of the deceased parent may file for custody
- The parents have commenced and continued divorce proceedings
- The child has lived with the grandparent for a period of at least 12 consecutive months and is then removed from the home by the parents – the action must be filed within six months of the child’s removal

**Note – Pennsylvania previously allowed grandparents to seek partial physical custody or supervised physical custody where the parents of the child were separated for 6 months, but the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently ruled in D.P. v. G.J.P. that this portion of the statute to be unconstitutional.

As in all custody cases, the courts use a “best interest of the child” standard to determine whether or not a grandparent should be granted custody rights of a child.

If you are a grandparent seeking custody or your child’s grandparent has filed a custody action against you, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney on this lesser-known area of law. Contact our Berks County custody attorneys today at 610-372-5128 or email us at

Spotlight Issue: Child tax credit and custody

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Tax season is approaching and you may be asking how your child custody arrangement affects your taxes. Your custody arrangement may have a very specific impact on whether or not you can claim a child tax credit. The child tax credit allows a parent to claim a credit for each dependent child. But what happens if the child’s parents are separated or divorced and are not filing their taxes jointly? Who gets to claim the child in that situation? The IRS says that generally speaking, the parent who has the child for the majority of the overnight time is the one who is eligible for the credit. This would generally be the parent with primary physical custody. But what happens when the parents have 50/50 physical custody? If the child stays with each parent for an equal number of nights then the parent with the lower adjusted gross income is considered the custodial parent and is able to claim the child tax credit. However, please note that even if the custody arrangement is called joint custody, if the parents have an unequal number of overnight visits then the parent will the greater number will be considered the custodial parent for tax purposes. While these are the general rules, the parties can make different arrangements which could be ordered by the court in a marital settlement agreement. While taxes are certainly not a determining factor what deciding on custody arrangements, the tax consequences are something to keep in mind and should be discussed with your attorney.

If you are in need of custody advice, please contact our Berks County family law attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us

**This article is not intended to give tax advice and if you have questions about whether or not you are able to claim a credit, you should consult a tax professional.

ENM Law News: Successful custody outcome

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

A client recently came to our office to consult with our experienced Berks County custody attorneys. This father had lost most of his custody rights two years prior and was restricted to seeing his child two nights per month. The client was hoping to be granted permission to take his child on vacation over the summer. Attorney Ebner diligently represented this father and convinced a Berks County custody judge to allow her client to take his child on a five day vacation over the summer with the possibility of a second vacation being permitted. This client looks forward to having his custody time increased in the future.

Even if you’ve had a bad custody outcome in the past, our knowledgeable Berks County custody attorneys may be able to help you increase your custody time with your child. Call us today at 610-273-5128 or email us at so that we can evaluate your case.

ENM Law News: Successfully Defended against Emergency Custody Petition

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

An Emergency Custody Petition was filed against our client alleging that she was neglecting her children
because she works full-time and attends school. Because of the work of our child custody attorneys,
the Petition was denied without testimony even being taken. The petitioner was attempting to disrupt
the established custody arrangement and this would not have beneficial for the children. Further, by
filing an Emergency Custody Petition, the petitioner was trying to circumvent the proper procedures
outlined by the Berks County custody court. The proper procedure would have been to file a Petition
for Modification of Custody at which point the parties would have been scheduled for a conciliation
conference. Our family law attorneys will help you fight for custody of your children. Contact us today.