Monday, May 21, 2007

custody - standing - step-grandparents - parents not separated

Helsel v. Puricelli - Superior Court - May 21, 2007

A step-grandfather is not a "grandparent" under the the Custody and Grandparents Visitation Act (GVA), 23 Pa. C.S. 5301 et seq.

Even if he were, he would not have standing under the facts of this case, in which the parents, who had been separated for more than 6 months at one time, were back together as an intact family at the time the step-grandfather filed his action. Sec. 5312 allows a grandparents to seek "reasonable partial custody or visitation" where the parents "have been separated for six months or more..." The court held that the "GVA only applies where parents separated at least six months before the filing of the custody petition and remain separated at the time the petition is filed."

custody - standing

Morgan v. Weiser - Superior Court - May 7, 2007

Biological father whose parental rights were terminated does not stand in loco parentis to the child, given that, after the termination, he had minimal partial custody of child, paid minimal child support, and did not live with the child in a familial setting at any time. His contact with the child was "akin to babysitting and caretaking."

attorneys fees - reasonableness

McMullen v. Kurtz - Superior Court - May 17, 2007

Legal fees in a contract must be reasonable even if the contract providing for the award of such fees does not specify that they must be reasonable. A reasonableness requirement is "implicit in the agreement."

In determining reasonableness, the court must consider, inter alia, how complicated the issues the issues in the underlying case were.