Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Child Custody - Fox v. Garzilli - Pa. Superior Court - May 13, 2005


Discussion of issue of where children should attend school

Parties share legal custody. Mother has primary physical custody.

Held, children should transfer and attend school in mother's district.

-- Trial court (TC) gave too little weight to fact that mother has primary physical custody.

-- Fact that children were doing well in father's district could not prevent mother from asking for change, where initial order was entered by agreement and without prejudice to either party asking for change. Mother agreed initially to father's district because children were already there at the time.

-- Requiring children to remain in father's district would result in substantial transportation responsbility and "burdensome commute" on mother.

-- Allowing children to go to school in district where they live would have favorable impact on their ability to establish friendships

-- Children are young, and to change schools now would be "proactive" and help avoid later problems.

-- Trial court should not have admitted hearsay testimony about children's preference

Don Marritz, MidPenn Legal Services

PFA Contempt - Commonwealth v. Haigh - Pa. Super. May 2, 2005


Defendant talked to Plaintiff (asked her about her health) during contempt hearing, in open court.

Lower court found him guilty of contempt.

Superior Court reversed. Held, no wrongful intent in talking to Plaintiff/wife in courtroom, while D shackled, P protected by deputy sheriff, P testified that she wasn’t afraid.

Issue of whether indirect criminal contempt could be found where act took place in the presence of the court was mentioned (in bold type) but never resolved.

Don Marritz, MidPenn Legal Services