Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law Super Lawyers

May 2013 Archives

DUI & Ignition Interlock

In Pennsylvania, if you plead guilty to or are convicted of a second or subsequent DUI, one of the consequences of your conviction is that you will have to have an Ignition Interlock device installed in your vehicle. The Ignition Interlock is a piece of equipment that prohibits a person from starting a vehicle if he or she has been drinking. A driver is required to blow into the device before he or she attempts to start the engine. If there is no alcohol on the driver's breath, the vehicle will start as usual. However, if the device detects alcohol, it will prevent the ignition from firing and the vehicle will not start. Additionally, throughout the course of the drive, the device will prompt the driver to blow into it to ensure that he or she does not drink alcohol after the car is started.

Paramours and Child Custody

In a child custody case it is almost inevitable that at some point one or both parents will become involved with a new significant other. In my family law practice, I routinely encounter situations where a parent does not want to inform the other parent of who his or her new paramour is. Now, this isn't always a problem and everyone is entitled to a certain degree of privacy. However, if a relationship reaches a level where a parent wants to cohabitate with their new significant other that right to privacy becomes diminished as the safety of the child or children becomes the most important concern.

Child Support Contempt

The payment and collection of child support can be a contentious issue between parents following separation or divorce. The issue can be a sensitive one even when the obligor is making regular payments. However, if the party with the support obligation fails or refuses to make payments, the tension between the parties almost always intensifies. What mechanisms does the Court then have to ensure the obligor pays support and to ensure that the party in need receives regular payments?

Dissipation of Marital Assets

In a number of my recent divorce cases, I encountered situations wherein one party decides to remove or destroy marital assets prior to anyone filing for divorce. Obviously, when my clients found out, it caused significant conflict and added even more stress to the divorce process. The first question from my clients was, "what can we do to stop my spouse from doing this?"

Step-Parent's Rights

Occasionally, my law firm is contacted by a step-parent inquiring about his or her child custody rights after the break-up of a relationship. The child custody rights of a step-parent are quite similar to those of a biological parent in many ways. A step-parent in Pennsylvania has the right to sue a custodial parent for partial custody or visitation of the natural parent's child. This typically occurs when the parties married and lived together for a substantial period of time with the child/children and the step-parent assumed the role of supporting and caring for the natural parent's child. If the natural parent refuses to grant the step-parent access to the child, the step-parent should consider contacting an attorney and filing a complaint for partial custody or visitation.

Social Security & Divorce - Part II

In the last blog entry, I commented on some of the interplay between the Social Security system and divorce. Most notably, I discussed spousal and survivor benefits and what happens when a person divorces before or after the age of 60. However, there are a number of other novel situations that can arise depending on the circumstances of a divorce. For instance, if you are now single, but were married twice previously (each time for at least 10 years), the law permits you to choose which former spouse's benefits to claim if you do not elect to take your own.

Contact Me

If you need to speak with an attorney about an important legal matter, contact my law office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation, call 412-455-5388, or contact me by e-mail.

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Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C.

1290 Freeport Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

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