pennsylvania adoption law

Pennsylvania Adoption Law Now Allows Adoptees Rights to Their Birth Certificates

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Until now, adoptees over 18 couldn’t apply for their birth records because their adoption records were sealed. Folks that have not been adopted have always had this ability, but sadly, it was not so easy for those that were released by their birth parents. For 33 years, adoptees have been required to petition the courts […]

Can you legally park or store trucks or heavy equipment in a residential area?

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Residential neighborhoods often are protected by zoning ordinances and restrictive covenants. Zoning ordinances are created by municipal governments by cities, townships and boroughs. They regulate use of land, declaring certain areas to be residential, others commercial and others industrial. Special enterprise, agricultural, educational or medical zones may exist in some municipalities. Restrictive covenants are different. […]

Can you be guilty of "driving under the influence" without actually driving?

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It is safe to assume that most Pennsylvania drivers realize that it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. But some of the details and workings of the Pennsylvania statute may surprise you. For example, while the crime is called “Driving Under the Influence,” you can actually commit the crime without doing any […]

Can you be guilty of “driving under the influence” without actually driving?

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It is safe to assume that most Pennsylvania drivers realize that it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. But some of the details and workings of the Pennsylvania statute may surprise you. For example, while the crime is called “Driving Under the Influence,” you can actually commit the crime without doing any […]

Can you be denied unemployment benefits for “willful misconduct”?

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Pennsylvania’s unemployment statute provides that employees fired for “willful misconduct” are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Recently, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court found that breaking one company rule was enough to constitute “willful misconduct.” In the case before the court, a truck driver hit a light standard while backing up, causing an undetermined amount of damage […]

Can the failure to wear a seat belt be admissible as evidence in automobile accident lawsuits?

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Pennsylvania’s current child passenger restraint laws require that any person operating a passenger car, truck, or motor home is obliged to fasten all children under four years of age in an approved child passenger restraint system. Whether the child is in the front or back seat or even in the cargo area, an approved restraint […]

Can the creation of guardianship by a parent be challenged?

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It is wise for parents to name legal and physical guardians of their minor children to serve in the event of their deaths. But the creation of a guardianship by a parent is not always controlling. Pennsylvania law provides that all custody cases must be decided in the best interests of the child. Anything which […]

Can the Amish practice dentistry without a license?

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The Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry recently ordered an Amish man to stop practicing dentistry, and fined him the maximum allowable fine of $1,000 for his former conduct. The Amish man, a farmer with 10 children, regularly performed tooth extractions on people in his Amish community. When proceedings were commenced against him by the Pennsylvania […]

Can separated or divorced parents be required to contribute to the costs of their children's college or private school?

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In the early 1990s, several Pennsylvania courts and the Pennsylvania legislature attempted to require separated or divorced parents to contribute toward their children’s college costs. In 1995, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that since child support obligations cease when the recipient child reaches his or her 18th birthday, no extension of additional obligations for college […]

Can separated or divorced parents be required to contribute to the costs of their children’s college or private school?

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In the early 1990s, several Pennsylvania courts and the Pennsylvania legislature attempted to require separated or divorced parents to contribute toward their children’s college costs. In 1995, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that since child support obligations cease when the recipient child reaches his or her 18th birthday, no extension of additional obligations for college […]

Can receiving a personal injury settlement increase your child support payments?

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A Pennsylvania father who worked as a laborer for a paper company was recently required to increase his child support payments when he settled a personal injury claim. The father was initially ordered to pay $200 per month toward the support of his 10 year-old daughter. At the time the order was issued, the father […]

Can persons sentenced to life imprisonment be eligible for parole?

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In Pennsylvania, persons convicted of premeditated murder must be sentenced to life imprisonment or death. Once sentenced to life imprisonment, they are not eligible for parole, but must serve the entire life sentence unless they secure commutation directly from the Governor. While sentences short of life imprisonment are subject to parole, prisoners are not eligible […]

Can I get a refund of a real estate deposit?

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The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently required the sellers to refund most of the potential buyers’ deposit in an aborted real estate transaction, even though the buyers breached the contract of sale and the contract itself provided for forfeiture of the down payment. What happened? Pedro and Magdalia Matos entered into a written contract to sell […]

Can driving violations from out-of-state be reported to your home state?

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The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a member of the Driver License Compact. The Compact is an agreement among some of the states of the United States to engage in mutual enforcement of penalties for serious driving violations. Thirty-nine states have signed the Compact, including Pennsylvania. The 11 states that have not signed are Alaska, Georgia, […]

Can a traveling employee who is injured on the road be entitled to workers compensation benefits?

Employees injured within the scope of their employment are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Recently, a Pennsylvania court found that an electronic technician was still within the scope of his employment when he was injured while removing debris from a highway. The technician was traveling to various job sites for his employer. When he encountered […]

Can a Pennsylvania township charge a license fee for billboards?

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When townships issue licenses for building, development, and sign-posting activities, they are permitted by Pennsylvania law to charge license fees. Such license fees are considered to be compensation to the township for costs expended in the regulation of the activity in question. Taxes, by contrast, produce much higher revenue than what is expended by the […]

Are you entitled to unemployment compensation if you quit your job for “necessitous and compelling” reasons?

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Where an employee quits his or her job for a “cause of necessitous and compelling nature,” the employee may be entitled to unemployment compensation. In a case recently before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, a hatchery worker quit his job after completing an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. The employee testified that program counselors advised […]

Are thermal detection devices used by law enforcement an invasion of privacy?

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When a confidential informant advised Pennsylvania law enforcers that a suspected drug dealer was growing large quantities of marijuana in his home using artificial lights, a drug task force used a thermal detection device to confirm the report. The device, called a WASP, distinguishes appreciable and noticeable amounts of heat. Using the device, the task […]