In re Adoption of B.G.S.

In the case of In re Adoption of B.G.S., on September 9, 2019, Transitions Adoption Agency Agency filed a petition to terminate Father’s parental rights to Child. At the conclusion of the hearing on the petition, the Orphans’ Court granted the petition. Father appealed, and the Superior Court reversed. The Court ruled that Father did … Read more

State v. E.J.H.

A judge in the Chancery Division sua sponte dismissed a complaint charging contempt for violating a temporary restraining order just as the defendant was about to plead guilty to the charge. In State v. E.J.H., the Appellate Division reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The lower court ruled that there was no factual basis for … Read more

In re Jabbour

The Superior Court clarified the time frame during which a spouse can revoke their choice to receive a one-third share of their deceased’s spouses’s estate, commonly called the “spousal election” in In re Jabbour. Here, the surviving spouse filed the spousal election in an “abundance of caution because she did not have sufficient information about … Read more

In re Passarelli Family Trust

Three cheers for Justice Donohue! Clearly, she has heard of this newsletter and wants to make our lives easier. The Justice perfectly summarized the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s holding from In re Passarelli Family Trust in the opinion’s first paragraph, making life oh so much easier for yours truly. Justice Donahue wrote that the Supreme Court was … Read more

S.B. v. SS.

S.B. v. SS. involved a contentious custody dispute. After a twenty-three day trial, Father was awarded custody of Child. A few weeks before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied allocatur, Mother’s attorney held a press conference on YOUTube, expressing Mother’s fervent disagreement with the trial court’s findings and orders. While Child was not named during the … Read more

Z.F.1. v. Bethanna

In Z.F.1. v. Bethanna, the Superior Court heard the Defender Association of Philadelphia’s appeal after a jury found it liable for damages for failing to provide adequate representation as guardian ad litem to two children in foster care. The Defender Association asked the Court to hold that a guardian ad litem should be immune to … Read more

In re D.G.

The matter of In re D.G. involved a mother’s appeal from the Orphan’s Court order terminating her parental rights. The case is a companion of sorts to In re D.N.G., 230 A.3d 361 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2020) because D.N.G. and D.G. are siblings. The same attorney was appointed to represent each child’s legal interests, pursuant … Read more

Hanrahan v. Ketch

A husband and wife divorced and entered into a property settlement agreement that compelled the wife to make payments to the husband. But soon thereafter, she declared bankruptcy and sought to discharge her obligation to the ex-husband. In Hanrahan v. Ketch, the Pennsylvania Superior Court was asked to determine if the wife’s debt owed to … Read more

In re Adoption of K.M.G.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court used In re Adoption of K.M.G. as a vehicle to answer the question: “[W]hether reviewing courts must determine sua sponte whether a conflict existed in an attorney’s representation of a child’s best interests and legal interests and whether counsel’s advocacy for the child’s legal interests included placing the child’s preferred outcome … Read more

In re Adoption of a Child by C.J.

In re Adoption of a Child by C.J. required the Appellate Division to assess whether the Chancery Court properly found that a biological mother failed to affirmatively assume the duties of a parent. The Court began by noting that the termination of parental rights implicates fundamental liberty interests, which are protected by the United States … Read more