Q: A forty-year-old friend of mine lived with his mother and seven-year-old daughter for the child’s entire life until his recent death. He had legal custody of the child with the exception of the two weekends a month the child was with her mother; for a period of time, these visitations included required supervision due to drug convictions and a record of abuse of her oldest child. Although the mother is currently clean and undergoing court-mandated drug monitoring, she has been in-and-out of rehab and prison for five of the child’s seven years, and has expressed little interest in being involved in her life. Through dubious means, the child’s mother obtained unsupervised custody the day after my friend’s funeral, is refusing to return the child to her grandmother, and has ignored all attempts at communication. Although a custodian in-case-of-death was not established in the custody order, it would seem to be in the best interest of the child to remain with the grandmother rather than with a mother she has never known and who appears only interested in obtaining custody now for financial reasons. Does the child’s grandmother have any recourse to obtain custody?
David K. Bifulco, Esq., from the law office of David Kennedy Bifulco P.C.: In short, yes. In all custody cases, the judge starts from the premise of what is in the best interest of the child. That is the goal of any child custody case...[Read More]
Q: I understand sports gambling may be legal in Pennsylvania as early as the start of the NFL season. I have established a business in Montgomery County and was curious whether I could apply for a license, and if so, what will be required to do so?
Michael J. Lyon, Esq., from Walsh Pancio, LLC: At the present time, no. While sports gambling is, in theory, "legal" in Pennsylvania, businesses that are not casinos are not eligible to obtain a license to operate a "sportsbook," or any program for taking sports wagers legally...[Read More]
Q: My father has been saying for years that our family business would be mine when he retires. He’s been less involved with the day-to-day in recent years, and informed me this week he’ll be closing up shop in July when our lease is up, and moving to the shore with his new girlfriend. I have family members, customers, and suppliers who can attest to this, but can an unwritten promise like this be enforced in Montgomery County?
Jeffrey S. Feldman, Esq., from The Feldman Firm, LLC: Depending upon the circumstances, yes. Unwritten promises can be enforced under Pennsylvania law under several different legal theories, each of which has its own rules and exceptions...[Read More]
Q: My friend told me to find a collaborative lawyer for my divorce. I am not really sure what that is. Can someone explain this to me and tell me if there are collaborative lawyers in Montgomery County?
Ellen S. Fischer, Esq., from the law firm of Fenningham, Dempster & Coval LLP:Collaborative Divorce is a no court alternative to the traditional litigated divorce, child custody, property distribution, and support cases. Each spouse or partner retains a collaboratively trained family law attorney... [Read More]
Q: Our 28-year-old son is bipolar and has refused to take his medication. We are dealing with the aftermath of his second interaction with the police. Is it possible to get him admitted to a care facility without his cooperation?
Brian T. Newman, Esq., from the law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.:From your question, I can tell you are good parents that truly care about your son’s well-being, but before taking action to force your son into mental health treatment, you should be aware of the process and possible consequences it can have.. [Read More]
Q: What is "full tort" and "limited tort" and what is the difference between the two?
Jimmy C. Chong, Esq., Chong Law Firm: As a personal injury attorney, when I ask a potential client who has been in a car accident if he or she has full tort or limited tort coverage, the response I receive most often is: "I have full coverage." There is a huge difference between full tort and full coverage.. [Read More]
Cary B. Hall, Esq., Law Offices of Cary B. Hall, LLC: Short answer: yes. Depending on your comments, what you post on social media sites could absolutely result in both criminal charges and a conviction).. [Read More]