Achieving Special Juvenile Immigration Status In Pennsylvania

Attorney Mulligan of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, is known for his work in assisting immigrant children in obtaining custody and Special Juvenile Immigration Status (SIJS). SIJS is a legal mechanism that allows certain immigrant children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States. 

**Attorney Mulligan's approach to working with immigrant children to obtain custody and SIJS involves several key steps:** 

  1. **Assessment and Consultation:** Attorney Mulligan begins by conducting an initial assessment of the child's situation. This includes gathering information about the child's immigration status, family background, and any potential abuse, neglect, or abandonment they may have experienced. He also consults with the child's guardian ad litem or social worker to understand the child's best interests.
  2. **Custody Proceedings:** If it is determined that obtaining custody is necessary for the child's well-being, Attorney Mulligan assists in initiating custody proceedings in the appropriate court. He works closely with the child's guardian ad litem or social worker to gather evidence and present a compelling case for custody. This may involve demonstrating that reunification with the child's parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
  3. **Special Juvenile Immigration Status (SIJS) Petition:** Once custody is obtained, Attorney Mulligan helps prepare and file a petition for SIJS on behalf of the child. This involves gathering evidence to demonstrate that the child meets the eligibility criteria for SIJS, which includes proving abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents. Attorney Mulligan ensures that all required documentation is properly submitted and advocates for the child throughout the SIJS process.
  4. **Collaboration with Immigration Authorities:** Attorney Mulligan works closely with immigration authorities, such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to navigate the SIJS process. He communicates with USCIS

officers, responds to requests for additional evidence, and attends interviews or hearings as necessary. Attorney Mulligan's expertise in immigration law allows him to effectively advocate for the child's SIJS application. 

5. **Post-SIJS Support:** After SIJS is granted, Attorney Mulligan continues to provide support to the child and their guardian. This may include assisting with the adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency, providing guidance on accessing educational and healthcare resources, and ensuring ongoing legal representation if needed.

Stopping Protracted Alimony Payments

In Pennsylvania, as in many other jurisdictions, it is not uncommon for lawyers to employ various tactics to delay divorce proceedings in order to continue their client's alimony. Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a financial arrangement where one spouse provides financial support to the other spouse during or after divorce. It is intended to help the receiving spouse maintain a similar standard of living that they had during the marriage. 

While it is important to note that not all lawyers engage in such tactics, there are instances where some may attempt to prolong the divorce process to secure a more favorable outcome for their client regarding alimony. These delays can be frustrating for the other party involved and may result in unnecessary emotional and financial strain. 

However, there are several measures that can be taken to address and mitigate these delays: 

  1. **Efficient Case Management**: The court system can play a crucial role in preventing unnecessary delays caused by lawyers. By implementing efficient case management practices, courts can ensure that divorce cases progress in a timely manner. This includes setting clear deadlines for filing documents, scheduling hearings promptly, and closely monitoring the progress of each case.
  2. **Enforcement of Rules and Deadlines**: Courts have the authority to enforce rules and deadlines strictly. By holding lawyers accountable for meeting these requirements, the court can discourage tactics aimed at delaying proceedings. This may involve imposing sanctions or penalties on attorneys who engage in dilatory tactics without valid reasons.
  3. **Alternative Dispute Resolution**: Encouraging parties to engage in alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative law, can help expedite the divorce process. These methods promote open communication and negotiation between spouses, reducing the need for lengthy court battles. Lawyers who intentionally delay proceedings may be less inclined

to do so when faced with the prospect of resolving issues through alternative means. 

It is important to remember that each case is unique, and the effectiveness of these measures may vary depending on the specific circumstances. Additionally, it is crucial for individuals involved in divorce proceedings to seek legal advice from experienced and ethical attorneys who prioritize the fair and efficient resolution of their clients' cases.

Deviations From Child Support In Luzerne County Pennsylvania

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines may be requested under certain circumstances. The factors that are considered when requesting a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines in Luzerne County, PA include: 

  1. **Extraordinary expenses:** If the child has extraordinary expenses such as medical bills, educational expenses, or special needs, a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines may be requested.
  2. **Shared custody:** If the child spends a significant amount of time with both parents, a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines may be requested to reflect the shared custody arrangement.
  3. **Income of both parents:** If the income of one or both parents is significantly higher or lower than what is reflected in the Child Support Guidelines, a deviation may be requested to ensure that the child's needs are adequately met.
  4. **Standard of living:** If the child is used to a certain standard of living that cannot be maintained under the Child Support Guidelines, a deviation may be requested to ensure that the child's needs are adequately met.
  5. **Other relevant factors:** Other relevant factors such as the age and health of the child, any special needs of the child, and any other relevant circumstances may also be considered when requesting a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines in Luzerne County, PA.

It is important to note that any deviation from the Child Support Guidelines must be approved by a judge and must be in the best interests of the child.

How Does a 50/50 Custody Arrangement Impact Child Support in Luzerne County, Pa?

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, child support is determined based on the income of both parents and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. When parents have a 50/50 custody arrangement, it means that each parent has the child for an equal amount of time. In such cases, the court may decide to deviate from the standard child support guidelines. 

According to Pennsylvania law, when parents share physical custody equally, the court may adjust the basic child support obligation based on: 

  • The direct expenses incurred by each parent in exercising custody - The difference between the parents' incomes 
  • Any other relevant factors 

The court may also consider the cost of providing for the child's basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. If one parent earns significantly more than the other, they may be required to pay a larger portion of these costs. 

It is important to note that a 50/50 custody arrangement does not automatically mean that there will be no child support obligation. The court will still consider each parent's income and expenses when making a determination. 

In Luzerne County, parents can use the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines to estimate their child support obligation. However, if they have a 50/50 custody arrangement or any other unique circumstances, it is recommended that they consult with an experienced family law attorney at The Mulligan Law Firm.

Custody Civil Contempt in Lackawanna County, PA

In Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, civil contempt is a legal mechanism used to enforce custody orders. When one parent violates a custody order, the other parent can file a motion for civil contempt. The purpose of this motion is to ask the court to hold the violating parent in contempt of court and impose sanctions until the violating parent complies with the custody order. 

To initiate a civil contempt action in Lackawanna County, the non-violating parent must file a motion with the court that issued the custody order. The motion must include specific details about how the other parent violated the order and what sanctions the non-violating parent is seeking. The violating parent will then be served with a copy of the motion and given an opportunity to respond. 

If the court finds that the violating parent did indeed violate the custody order, it can hold that parent in contempt of court. Sanctions for civil contempt can include fines, attorney's fees, and other punishments. However, before imposing any sanctions, the court will typically give the violating parent an opportunity to comply with the custody order. 

It is important to note that civil contempt is not a criminal charge and does not result in a criminal record. It is simply a legal mechanism used to enforce custody orders. 

In summary, civil contempt is an important tool for enforcing custody orders in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. If one parent violates a custody order, the other parent can file a motion for civil contempt and ask the court to impose sanctions until the violating parent complies with the order.

Child Support In Luzerne County

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, child support is a legal obligation that parents have to financially support their children. The amount of child support is determined by the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines, which take into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and other factors such as child care expenses and health insurance costs. 

Parents can request a child support order through the Luzerne County Domestic Relations Section, which is responsible for enforcing child support orders. The Domestic Relations Section can also help with establishing paternity and enforcing custody orders. 

If a parent fails to pay child support, they may face legal consequences such as wage garnishment, suspension of driver's license or professional license, or even imprisonment. 

It is important for parents to understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to child support in Luzerne County. 

Overall, child support in Luzerne County is a crucial aspect of ensuring that children receive the financial support they need to thrive.

If I’ve Been Separated from My Spouse for One Year in Pennsylvania, Can I Automatically Divorce?

There is much misinformation with regard to this topic. Separated spouses are not automatically divorced after living separate and apart for a year. In fact, there is no divorce circumstance in Pennsylvania where a marriage is automatically terminated after the passage of a period of time.

The one year separation period, however, is important. After spouses have been separated for a year, one spouse may ask the Court to grant their divorce. If the other spouse does not object or does not notify the Court that there are economic issues that need to be resolved (including but not limited to issues related to property distribution or support for a dependent spouse), the Court can grant the divorce decree.

Spouses who both agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken and consent to the entry of a divorce decree can be divorced more quickly. Pennsylvania allows for the entry of a divorce decree after 90 days have passed from the date the Defendant in the divorce action was served with the divorce complaint. Much like with the “separation divorce”, this only happens when there are no economic issues that require resolution by the parties. 

Please contact the Mulligan Law Firm to discuss all of your family law needs. 

Guardian AD Litem and Confirmatory Bias

Do you believe that you are not being treated fairly by the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) appointed to your custody case? How could this be happening when the GAL was appointed to do what is in the best interest of the child and to conduct themselves in a fair and impartial manner? Unfortunately, these feelings are not unusual and certainly not unique to your case

Oftentimes a GAL will have a tendency to process and gather information by looking for, or interpreting information that is consistent with his or her beliefs. This biased approach to decision making is generally unintentional and often results in ignoring information inconsistent with that person's beliefs. Clearly this is a problem. Cases like this could be the result of "confirmation bias". Confirmation bias happens when a person (GAL) gives more weight to evidence that confirms their beliefs and undervalues evidence that can disprove their theory of the case. Essentially the GAL has rushed to judgment

One explanation for why humans are susceptible to confirmation bias is that it is an efficient way to process information. Humans, including GALs with heavy case loads, are inundated with information and data in the social world and cannot possibly take the time to carefully process each piece of information to form an unbiased conclusion. Human decision making is oftentimes limited to interpreting information from their own view point. People tend to process information quickly to protect themselves and others. It is adaptive to rely on instincts to keep other individuals out of harm's way. This analysis and way of thinking clearly does not make it right

Unfortunately, this bias often results in a distorted and unfavorable picture of parents in high conflict custody cases. If you believe that you are being treated unfairly by a custody GAL, don't hesitate to contact the Mulligan Law Firm. We have over 30 years of family law experience and can assist with identifying the issues surrounding confirmatory bias. Call us at 570-703-0269

Mental Health and Child Custody Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Superior Court held that the “best interest of the child” standard does not trump the privacy of a person concerning his or her medical and mental health records. A recent Superior Court decision held that in child custody proceedings the Court may not force or order a party to provide his or her mental records to the other party or the Court. The Superior Court’s decision is based in part on the HIPPA federal law concerning privacy of one’s medical records. The Superior Court maintained that there are less intrusive ways for a Court to evaluate a party’s mental health status. 

The Court could, however, Order a mental health examination pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1915.8. Ordering an evaluation is one thing, but is the mental health evaluator allowed to disclose the findings and or the records that he or she based their decision on? These are all interesting questions which require the skill of a seasoned and experienced custody lawyer.

Call The Mulligan Law Firm for a free consultation at 570-703-0269 because "when it comes to family, experience matters”.

Can A Protection From Abuse Order In Pennsylvania Be Extended? Yes

An emergency PFA Order can be obtained from a Magistrate for emergency relief and only until the next business day when the Courts are in session. At that point you must appear before the Court and request a temporary PFA. The Temporary Order can stay in place for up to 10 business days within which time the Judge schedules a final hearing.

At the time of the final hearing, the Court will entertain testimony and evidence. At the conclusion of the final PFA hearing, the Judge will decide whether the PFA should be made permanent. The final Order of protection can last up to 36 months. You can file to extend the final PFA Order by returning to the courthouse and requesting an extension. The Judge can extend the PFA Order if he/she believes that:

  1. The abuser committed one or more acts of abuse while you had the final order in place - essentially a violation, or,
  2. The abuser behaved in other ways that indicates a continued risk of harm to the Plaintiff.

These cases are unique and depend on the facts. Therefore, you should meet with an experienced Family Law lawyer to review your case.

Call the Mulligan Law Firm at (570) 703-0269 to schedule a consultation today!