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Jeanne B. Costopoulos

Jeanne Costopoulos’s Answers

1,125 total


  • Since we live in new york and the child lives in pa how likely are we to gain custody of her in this type situation and how do w

    I would like to gain custody of a grand child. I live in new york and the parent lives in pennsylvania. The parent whom the child lives with emotionally and verbally abuses her (not physically , that i can prove anyway). She is slipping way behind...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    You would need to file a custody complaint against both parents in the county in which the child resides.

    The parent could file preliminary objections to your complaint based on your right to standing to file for primary physical custody. 23 Pa.C.S. 5324 states that any form of custody may be sough by a grandparent of the child who is not in loco parentis to the child:
    (i) whose relationship with the child began either with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order;
    (ii) who assumes or is willing to assume responsibility for the child; and
    (iii) when one of the following conditions is met:
    (A) the child has been determined to be a dependent child under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters);
    (B) the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or
    (C) the child has, for a period of at least 12 consecutive months, resided with the grandparent, excluding brief temporary absences of the child from the home, and is removed from the home by the parents, in which case the action must be filed within six months after the removal of the child from the home.

    If you get past the standing issue, 23 Pa.C.S. 5327(b) creates a presumption that custody shall be awarded to the parent. It would be your burden to rebut that presumption by clear and convincing evidence.

    If you do not have enough to file for primary custody, you may still be eligible to file for visitation or partial custody under 23 Pa.C.S. 5325 which states:

    In addition to situations set forth in section 5324 (relating to standing for any form of physical custody or legal custody), grandparents and great-grandparents may file an action under this chapter for partial physical custody or supervised physical custody in the following situations:
    (1) where the parent of the child is deceased, a parent or grandparent of the deceased parent may file an action under this section;
    (2) where the parents of the child have been separated for a period of at least six months or have commenced and continued a proceeding to dissolve their marriage; or
    (3) when the child has, for a period of at least 12 consecutive months, resided with the grandparent or great-grandparent, excluding brief temporary absences of the child from the home, and is removed from the home by the parents, an action must be filed within six months after the removal of the child from the home.

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  • Is it a violation if other parent does not take children on their said weekends per court order?

    I am in the process of filing for divorce and custody. I have 2 children that the custody order will be for. My soon to be ex is always doing things on the weekends, i am wondering if once we get a court order in place where he agrees to have them...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    It is not a violation not to take the children. It is considered his loss if he leaves them with you. If he consistently does not take them then you can file modify the agreement (or file a petition to modify if there is a court order in place) to decrease his custody time since he is not exercising it and it makes it difficult for you to plan ahead.

    Adultery provides a fault basis for a divorce if there is no consent for a divorce. It is also a defense to a claim for spousal support or alimony. It is not relevant with regard to distribution of marital assets and debts.

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  • I am trying to figure out if I take a new job with overnight hours will that prohibit me from getting my son every other week.

    Thinking about taking a new job with 3rd shift hours. I want to get my son every other week 50/50. I have a girlfriend with whom I have another child with living with me that would be home every night while I am at work with my son and our child.

    Jeanne’s Answer

    it depends upon the judge. If the mother objects to 50/50 it will go to court and then the judge will determine whether overnights are appropriate in light of your work schedule. I have seen it go both ways, so it really depends on the judge assigned to the case.

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  • Can I do anything to un suspend the child support and him to continue to acure child support? Any fighting chance? Or screwed?

    Child Support in PA. Three children. I have primary custody of the three and a current child support order. Order suspended on March 29, 2016 due to medically unable to work signed by a Physician Assistant. It stated that he has fibromyrsa, PT...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    If he has a doctor to back him that he is disabled then you are probably screwed unless he gets social security disability in which case you can apply for benefits for the kids.

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  • Can she open a daycare without my permission? What is my liability if there is an accident with a child?

    Divorced from wife. Papers state she has one year to refinance house and remove my name from mortgage and deed. She wants to open a daycare in the house.

    Jeanne’s Answer

    She doesn't need your permission unless the marital settlement agreement requires it. However, if you are concerned about liability you could petition the court to require her to carry additional insurance.

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  • Does children and youth have the authority to alter custody?

    Someone reported my ex to children and youth for heavy drug use and children and youth investigated and found nothing but decided to drug test her. She came back positive. They called and told me that I had to get the kids and that she is a danger...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    CYS has more power than most government agencies and can basically take your children and do what they want with them pending a hearing before a judge. Your ex's only recourse is to get the case before a judge for a hearing as soon as possible. Drug use in and of itself is not a basis to remove the children from her custody unless it can also be shown that she is a risk to the children.

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  • What do I do now since he violated our court ordered custody agreement?

    My husband and I separated. I filed for divorce almost 2 months ago. We couldn't agree and uphold an agreement so we had a conciliator and came to a custody agreement. Within the first week, he broke the agreement by not being home when I was sche...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    Keep a detailed log of when he fails to exercise custody. If it becomes a pattern, file a petition to modify the order to decrease his custody times.

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  • What is the maximum sentence for this simple assault charge?

    Hello, Real quick question. My fiancé has been charged with simple assault on me. He is a registered sex offender and has been in trouble with the law a few times. He is currently incarcerated and on probation now. He's diagnosed with mental ...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    This is more of a criminal defense question. The crime itself is given an offense gravity score. Also, he will be assigned a prior record score based on his past criminal history. The two will be applied to the PA Sentencing Guidelines to determine the ranges of sentencing. He should probably get a fresh psychological report and follow through with any recommendations of the psychologist and then prior to sentencing or during plea negotiations provide the judge and district attorney's office with evidence that he is cooperating with his treatment and doing well as this can sometimes result in a sentence in the mitigated (lower) range.

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  • My question is, if I start the divorce proceedings, will I have to pay her alimony?

    My wife came to me on Jan 1 and told me she wanted a divorce. She says she isn't getting what she needs from me. I've found on my own that she may have been with or found someone else, but I am not certain of this. I've caught her in small lies he...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    If you are residing in the same house she will not collect anything, but she could be awarded spousal support or APL if you are living separately. Alimony is support after a divorce has been entered and it is awarded after a hearing before a divorce master. It is a defense to an alimony claim that you are entitled to a divorce under the fault-based provisions of the divorce code, which include adultery. However, if you discover adultery but then get back together again anyway then you can no longer argue adultery as a defense because you stayed with her after you had knowledge of it. If she does move out and seeks support, it is calculated by deducting her net earning capacity per month from your net earning capacity per month then multiplying that number by 40% (provided there are no minor children).

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  • What advice do you have in a custody modification situation?

    I have a custody order in place with my ex wife, she decided she couldn't handle our almost 2 year old so we got a statement notarized that I keep her 5 days and she keeps her 2. Our other daughter is 6 and her mother is still following the origin...

    Jeanne’s Answer

    File a petition to modify custody and attend the conciliation conference on your own, but then get an attorney for the hearing itself because you will need to follow the rules when presenting your case. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a pro bono attorney through MidPenn Legal Services. If your case is in Dauphin County, the Dauphin County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service has a Modest Means Panel consisting of attorneys who are willing to accept cases at a reduced rate.

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