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Domestic Relations

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NEWS
April 19, 1990 | By Charles Pukanecz, Special to The Inquirer
After criticizing a proposed $750,000 expansion of Bucks County's domestic relations building as a waste of money, the county commissioners have bowed to pressure from the courts and approved the contracts to build the addition. The addition was requested by President Judge Isaac S. Garb, according to commission Chairman Andrew L. Warren. "One man's request is another man's order," Warren said Tuesday. "Spending $750,000 for a couple of hundred extra square feet is just putting a Band-Aid on the problem of needed space for the whole domestic relations operation," Democratic Commissioner Lucille M. Trench said Tuesday.
NEWS
June 4, 1999 | By Meredith Fischer, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Big changes are in store for the Montgomery County Office of Domestic Relations, including a new department director and longer hours for employees, President Judge Joseph A. Smyth said yesterday. Employees now will be required to work an additional 45 minutes per day, increasing the workweek from 33 1/4 hours to 37 1/2 hours, Smyth told the county commissioners yesterday at their scheduled meeting. It will cost the county $290,000 per year to extend the hours, the county commissioners said.
NEWS
June 13, 1999 | By Mary Blakinger, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Should you clandestinely tape-record your spouse, who is behaving like a weasel, on the telephone? For domestic-relations lawyer Neil Hurowitz of Upper Merion, answering such questions has become a cottage industry. When he is not helping clients untangle the legal commitments of their unraveling marriages, he is writing about domestic relations for a general audience and other lawyers. Probably his best-known book is Divorce: Your Fault, My Fault, No Fault, initially published in 1981 by Law-Trac Press and now reappearing on bookstore shelves in its third revision.
NEWS
October 3, 1991 | By Suzanne Sczubelek, Special to The Inquirer
Joseph M. Waters, Chester County director of domestic relations, believes that a number of people in Chester County don't seek help from his office because they don't know English. Come Nov. 1, he'll start finding out just how many such clients there might be. That's when the state's first Spanish and English computerized telephone service for domestic relations will go on line in the county, providing access to clients' records and general information, including how to file a complaint about support.
NEWS
March 26, 1999 | By Rachel Scheier, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF Inquirer staff writer Anne Barnard contributed to this article
Women and cranky children filled the waiting-room chairs, while a receptionist tended to a steadily ringing phone. Another answered questions from a pregnant woman and explained to a man slouched in a chair how to schedule a hearing. Such was the scene yesterday afternoon at the Delaware County Domestic Relations Department, where employees handle huge caseloads, tending to the financial details of divorces and child-custody arrangements. Hiring and keeping qualified workers has been difficult in Domestic Relations, officials say, and that has been at the root of many of the department's recent problems.
NEWS
February 12, 1995 | By Doug Donovan, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
A day in January had just about dragged to an end when the excitement for Robert Barber began. Barber's shift as a Bucks County security guard at the domestic relations building in Doylestown was nearly finished - the clock was just ticks away from 5 p.m. - when the patriarchs of two feuding families milling about near the third-floor family courtroom started wrestling. The fight apparently had come on the heels of a custody battle waged earlier that day between the families, Barber said.
NEWS
March 6, 1986 | By Robert McSherry and Carole Fleck, Special to The Inquirer
A Ridley Park man was charged yesterday with taking money for private investigations while employed as a Delaware County domestic-relations court officer. Deputy District Attorney William J. Davies, chief of the county's special prosecutions unit, identified the domestic-relations officer as Jack Signor. Signor's age and street address were not immediately available. Davies said Signor, who does not have a private investigator's license, maintained that he was a private detective and received payments for cases from an unspecified number of clients.
NEWS
August 16, 1990 | By Robert F. O'Neill, Special to The Inquirer
Useful when they were erected behind the Media Courthouse in 1977, thousands of estranged couples sat within their corrugated aluminum walls to battle over child support. But now the two prefabricated courtrooms are no more. The structures that for 10 years served the domestic relations unit of the Delaware County courts were demolished this week. Yesterday, workers had only to pick up and haul away the piles of debris left by a bulldoze. When they are gone, there will be no evidence that the courtrooms claimed a niche in the Government Center plaza adjoining the Fronefield Building and that the sagas of many broken households were played out there.
NEWS
July 19, 1987 | By Carole C. Cary, Special to The Inquirer
Divorced fathers turned out in Media last week to criticize how the Delaware County Domestic Relations Office deals with men. Fathers' and Children's Equality (FACE) held a public hearing Wednesday at the Media Inn to air the grievances of men who feel they have been unfairly treated by the office in the areas of custody, visitation rights and support payments. "Family law has been treated as the stepchild of the courts," said Mark Dischell, a family court lawyer who was on the seven-member panel assembled by FACE to hear the complaints.
NEWS
April 9, 1999 | By Rachel Scheier, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
A former official in the Delaware County Domestic Relations Department has been suspended without pay as a result of the investigation into employees' exchanging pornographic e-mail, county officials announced yesterday. Anthony Simmons, a former deputy director of Domestic Relations who recently was reassigned as part of a major shakeup of the troubled department, admitted he received one of the messages, said President Judge A. Leo Sereni. Sereni said Simmons told him that when he received the pornographic e-mail, he confronted the sender, another worker in the department, and told him not to do it again.
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NEWS
November 16, 2012
Giacomo A. DeBlasi, 98, a retired supervisor for Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia and a decorated World War II veteran, died Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Abington Hospice at Warminster. Mr. DeBlasi was born in Philadelphia. He graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1932 and attended Drexel University. He served in the Army from 1942 to 1945. Mr. DeBlasi, a staff sergeant during World War II, fought in the invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. He earned a Bronze Star, an American Theatre Service Medal, and the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal with four Bronze Stars.
NEWS
February 28, 2007 | By Kathleen Brady Shea INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Talk about multitasking. Brian C. Warren, 38, of Coatesville, was due in Chester County Court for a Domestic Relations hearing on Feb. 8. Instead, he opted for a couple of detours, authorities say, entering two separate secretaries' offices and grabbing cash and credit cards from purses underneath desks. Both secretaries reported the thefts after returning to their desks, the criminal complaint said. Investigators reviewed courthouse video surveillance and saw a man later identified by Domestic Relations personnel as Warren enter the offices and stuff "something under the front of his shirt" after leaving one of them, the complaint said.
NEWS
August 18, 2004 | By Kathleen Brady Shea INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A first-round draft pick for the NFL's Buffalo Bills in 1993, Thomas L. Smith has not played for a while, but it was not paying for a while that got him in trouble in Chester County Court. Smith, 33, a cornerback whose career ended in 2001 with the Indianapolis Colts, got cornered Monday by the legal system. He appeared in front of Chester County Court Judge James P. MacElree II, who found Smith in contempt for failure to pay $3,000 a month in child support to his son's mother, who lives in Chester County.
NEWS
July 12, 2004
One reality seems to cut across most urban legal systems in the country: Courts set up to protect children's interests usually are treated as the lowest rung of the ladder. The clientele often gets the rawest lawyers or no representation at all. Judges may be on the bench biding time until they get a more plum assignment. Budgets cuts are routine, for the family and juvenile courts and for the social services that intersect with them. And then there are the buildings, the lousy buildings.
NEWS
February 18, 2004 | By Bonnie L. Cook INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Susan Peikes Gantman, a litigator specializing in family law, was installed yesterday as a justice of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. As judges and politicians from throughout the state looked on, Gantman, 51, was sworn in to a 10-year term. She took the oath in the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown. The installation included a ceremony in which Gantman's family helped her on with the traditional black jurist's robe. "We welcome you to the court and look forward to working with you for the remainder of your term," said Superior Court President Judge Joseph A. Del Sole, who presided.
NEWS
August 12, 2003
RE YOUR Aug. 6 editorial regarding Philadelphia Family Court: While I welcome the scrutiny of our court and the services we provide to the public, it would be disingenuous to say that I agree with everything that you implied in your article. First, let me say that I respect the Women in Law Project and what it is trying to accomplish. However, to use its report as the only source of information as to what transpires with the thousands of clients in Family Court would be ludicrous.
NEWS
December 21, 2000 | By Stephanie Doster, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
For the first time in three years, Bucks County residents will pay higher property taxes next year under a $315.5 million budget that county commissioners unanimously approved yesterday. County officials initially had proposed a spending plan that included a 3-mill tax increase, but the commissioners reduced the tax increase to two mills by dipping into reserves. The county real estate tax rate will jump from 57 to 59 mills. The increase will mean an additional $16 in county tax, or about $472 a year, for a taxpayer whose home is assessed at the county average of $8,000.
NEWS
December 14, 2000 | By Brian Woodward and Nicole Barnes-Nelson, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
A group of Chester County court-appointed employees voted yesterday to unionize, making themselves the second batch of county workers to join the Pennsylvania Social Services Union in the last three months. The unofficial 58-32 tally will affect about 94 professional employees of the Domestic Relations and Adult and Juvenile Probation Departments, according to John Toland, an organizer for the union. "We had hoped for [a] 75 percent" margin, Toland said. "But 2-1 is OK; it is a pretty decisive margin, no matter how you look at it. " County Commissioner Colin Hanna said after the vote that he was disappointed, but did not say whether the commissioners planned to appeal.
NEWS
April 13, 2000 | By Nancy Petersen, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Chester County commissioners, along with the president judge, have fired their first salvo in what is expected to be a drawn-out effort to persuade courthouse employees not to join a union. A letter signed by Commissioners Karen Martynick, Colin Hanna and Andrew Dinniman, and Judge Howard K. Riley, was sent yesterday to all employees in the offices of adult probation, juvenile probation, domestic relations, court administration and the bail agency. It outlines what the county believes are the pros and cons of forming a collective bargaining unit.
NEWS
June 13, 1999 | By Mary Blakinger, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Should you clandestinely tape-record your spouse, who is behaving like a weasel, on the telephone? For domestic-relations lawyer Neil Hurowitz of Upper Merion, answering such questions has become a cottage industry. When he is not helping clients untangle the legal commitments of their unraveling marriages, he is writing about domestic relations for a general audience and other lawyers. Probably his best-known book is Divorce: Your Fault, My Fault, No Fault, initially published in 1981 by Law-Trac Press and now reappearing on bookstore shelves in its third revision.
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