Category: Court Decisions

Statutory Share for Surviving Second Wife Trumps Intervivos Trust Formed before Marriage

January 14, 2016 | Blog, Court Decisions, Divorce, Prenuptial Agreements

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

The Superior Court addressed a novel question in Trust under Deed of David P. Kulig, 2015 PA Super 271 (December 24, 2015), a dispute between the second wife of a decedent and the children of his first wife. The decedent David Kulig formed a revocable trust while married to his first wife Joanne, providing that his children would receive the principal balance of the trust upon his death if Joanne […]

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Contracting Party Who Assumed Risk Could not Rescind Marital Settlement Agreement for Mutual Mistake

January 13, 2016 | Blog, Court Decisions, Equitable Distribution, Settlement

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

In Orris v. Orris, No. 340 WDA 2015 (September 30, 2015), a non-precedential decision, the husband and wife entered into a marital settlement agreement after Wife procured an appraisal of the timber rights associated with marital property. In the agreement, Husband surrendered the timber rights to Wife in exchange for the marital residence. Subsequently, after the divorce was finalized, Husband presented a petition to rescind the agreement on the grounds […]

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Post-Settlement Reconciliation Does Not Abrogate Settlement Agreement

January 13, 2016 | Blog, Court Decisions, Equitable Distribution

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

In Semulka v. Semulka, No. 1302 WDA 2014 (August 31, 2015), the Superior Court in a non-precedential opinion considered whether a marital settlement agreement could be enforced after a former husband and wife reconciled their marriage, and then broke up again. More specifically, Husband and Wife signed an agreement after Wife filed a divorce action, and in that agreement, Husband was obligated to pay $40,000 cash to Wife in three […]

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Divorced stepparent who sought custody is responsible for child support

January 12, 2016 | Blog, Child Support, Court Decisions

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

An evolving definition of family is challenging our courts to consider who may legally participate in child-rearing, and who is financially responsible.  The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania took a step on December 29, 2015, by issuing its opinion in A.S. v. I.S., 108 A.3d 1280 (2015).  In its majority opinion, the Court held that a step-parent who vigorously litigated for custody rights (even though he was not biologically related to the […]

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