New York courts decision on equitable distribution of a husband's pension--The highest court in New York state decided that the increase in a husband's pension that accumulated after his wife filed for divorce and then discontinued it after five years was still owed to the wife, her share, when he later started his own divorce against her after her divorce was dismissed. (Mesholam v. Mesholam, 11N.Y.3d 24 (June 2008))
A Burlington County, NJ, trial court's decision about child support in 50/50 custody--In a published decision (which may be used by other trial courts for guidance), the judge set up a formula for calculating child support when the parents will share physical care of their child, taking into account overhead costs like rent and "controlled costs" like clothes and entertainment. (Wunsch-Deffler v. Deffler, January 9, 2009)
Pennsylvania courts add the following set of rules to all parenting time orders and they seem to deal with a lot of problems parents face--
Certain rules of conduct generally applicable to custody matters are set forth below and are binding on both parties, the breach of which could become the subject of contempt proceedings before this Court, or could constitute grounds for amendment of our order. If these general rules conflict with the specific requirements of our order, the order shall prevail.
Neither party will undertake or permit in his/her presence the poisoning of the minor children's minds against the other party by conversation that explicitly or inferentially derides, ridicules, condemns, or in any manner derogates the other party.
The parties shall not conduct arguments or heated conversation when they are together in the presence of their children.
Neither party will question the children as to the personal lives of the other parent except insofar as necessary to insure the personal safety of the children. By this, we mean that the children will not be used as spies on the other party. It is harmful to a child to be put in the role of "spy".
Neither party will make extravagant promises to the minor children for the purpose of ingratiating him/herself to the minor children at the expense of the other party. Further, any reasonable promise to the children should be made with the full expectation of carrying it out.
The parties should at all times consider the child(ren)'s best interests, and act accordingly. It is the child's best interests to understand that he/she is trying desperately to cope with the fact of his/her parents' separation and needs help in loving both parents, rather than interference or censure.
The parties should remember that they cannot teach their children proper moral conduct by indulging in improper conduct themselves. Children are quick to recognize hypocrisy, and the parent who maintains a double standard will lose the respect of his/her child.
Weekend and evening visitation shall be subject to the following rules:
-Arrangements will be worked out beforehand between the parties without forcing the children to make choices and run the risk of parental displeasure. However, the children shall be consulted as to their schedules.
-Visitation rights should be exercised at reasonable hours and under circumstances reasonably acceptable to the other party and to the needs and desires of the minor children.
-If a party finds him/herself unable to keep an appointment, he/she should give immediate notice to the other party, so as to avoid subjecting the children to unnecessary apprehension and failure of expectations.
-The party having custody of the children should prepare them both physically and mentally for the visitation with the other party and have them available at the time and place mutually agreed upon.
-If either party or child has plans which conflict with a scheduled visit and wish to adjust such visitation, the parties should make arrangements for an adjustment acceptable to the schedules of everyone involved.
-If a party shows up for a visit under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the visit may be considered forfeited on those grounds alone.
During the time that a child is living with a party, that party has the responsibility of imposing and enforcing the rules for day-to-day living. However, unless otherwise ordered, both parents should consult with one another on the major decisions affecting the child(ren)'s lives, such as education, religious training, medical treatment, and so forth.
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