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Recent Blog Posts

The Default Rule: Warrants Are Required to Search Vehicles

On December 22, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Alexander, requiring law enforcement to secure a warrant prior to searching automobiles, unless probable cause and exigent circumstances exist. Previously a warrant was not required to search an automobile after a traffic stop, as law enforcement only needed probable cause…. Read More »

Will the U.S. See its Divorce Rate Spike After the COVID-19 Quarantine Ends?

With so many American residents stuck at home with their families, prognosticators have predicted that several months down the road, the country could experience a baby boom and a divorce deluge. Unlike a cozy blizzard that keeps you home from work for a few days, a global pandemic that triggers shelter-in-place orders spreading over multiple… Read More »

Who Gets the Stimulus Check When Spouses Are Separated or Divorcing?

Going through a divorce is stressful enough, but the coronavirus pandemic spreading throughout the United States presents additional complications for spouses who have decided to split. In addition to changes that might need to be made regarding custody and visitation arrangements while travel is restricted, negotiations over property division need to address any new economic… Read More »

Communicating With Your Ex About COVID-19 Custody Issues

During a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, family becomes more important than ever, especially for children whose schedules have been disrupted by long-term school closures and the cancellation of other activities. Parents who are divorced or live apart for other reasons know the importance of maintaining healthy communication through difficult situations. Though this situation… Read More »

Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock Limited Licenses

Individuals convicted of driving under the influence, who previously would not be able to drive on a suspended license, may now qualify for an ignition interlock limited license.  Once individuals receive their ignition interlock limited license, and have the device installed, they are required to blow into the device prior to starting their vehicle. As of… Read More »

Alimony Payments as Tax Deductions

For many years, alimony payments made to a former spouse under Section 71 of the Internal Revenue Code were deductible by the payor and taxed as income by the recipient so long as certain qualifications were met. As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, for all agreements entered into for… Read More »

Child Custody For Grandparents and Others in Pennsylvania

In 2018, a law was passed that expanded the right of grandparents to file for custody of their grandchildren, if a grandparent is willing to assume responsibility for the child or the child is at risk, even if the grandparent has not previously taken care of the child for an extended period of time. The… Read More »

Purchasing a Firearm?

Before an individual is able to purchase a firearm, they must complete a firearms transaction record form.  One of the main reasons, out of a few, that individuals are denied the ability to purchase a firearm, and are eventually charged criminally, is for providing inaccurate information on the application form.  These forms are several pages… Read More »

The Constitutionality of DUI Checkpoints

The holidays have now passed us, and many of you may have realized the presence of DUI checkpoints while you were traveling for the holidays.  The United States Supreme Court has stated in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz that DUI checkpoints do not offend the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution because… Read More »

The New Law Regarding Limited Access to Criminal Records

In November of 2016, Pennsylvania passed a new law that enables an individual to have their criminal record sealed if certain prerequisites are met.  This is a different process than an expungement, as different conditions must be met and the record is “sealed,” rather than expunged.  Sealing the record means that the criminal record may… Read More »