Monday, April 03, 2006

child support - standing of child to enforce parents' support agreement

Chen v. Chen - Pa. Supreme Court - March 20, 2006 - concurring (Cappy) - consurring (Castille) - concurring (Saylor and Eakin)

Stating that it was applying contract principles, the court held that a child is an incidental beneficiary rather than a third-party intended beneficiary of her parents' property settlement agreement (PSA) concerning payment of child support, citing Restatement (2d) Contracts sec. 302, adopted in Guy v. Liederbach, 459 A.2d 744 (Pa. 1983). The Court held that a child does not have a legally enforceable interest/standing under the parents' PSA. The child has a right to be supported but not a right to receive direct individual payments.

custody - standing - adoptive grandparent - parents separated

Little-Stepp v. Cancilla and Little-Stepp - Superior Court - March 31, 2006

Citing Peters v. Costello, ___ A2d ___ (2005 Pa. Lexis 3199, December 30, 2005), the Superior Court held that non-biological grandparents who
a) stand in loco parentis to one of the parents of a child with respect to whom they seek grandparental visitation rights, and
b) who otherwise quality to seek partial custody/visitation,
have standing to seek visitation under the Grandparent Visitation Act, 23 Pa. CS 5311-13.

In n. 2, however, the Court noted that "'mere grandparental status alone' does not confer standing under the Act....One must meet the other requirements of the specific section upon which one is relying for standing. For instance, section 5312...requires that the parents' marriage be dissolved or they are separated....[I]n Malone v. Stonebrook, 843 A.2d 1278 (Pa. Super. 2004), this Court held that the biological paternal grandmother had standing under section 5312 in a case where [as here] the parents of the child as issue were never married and had no ongoing relationship."