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43 North Pine Street, Doylestown, PA  |  215-340-2207
June 2018 Newsletter

The attorneys of Williams Family Law kicked off the year in the Big Easy with a number of high-profile appearances at key industry conferences. Jeff Williams presided over the mid-year meeting of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, held at the historic Roosevelt Hotel. He then went on to introduce the keynote speaker of the winter meeting of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section. At that same event, Susan Smith and Robert Salzer presented a key session on “Six Keys to Winning a Custody Case.”

Roger Dodd (right), the keynote speaker for the
winter meeting of the Pennsylvania Bar Association
Family Law Section, is shown with Jeff Williams,
who introduced him at the event. Dodd is one of the
country’s top experts on cross examination.



Susan Smith (left) and Robert Salzer (second from left)
prepare to present “Six Keys to Winning a Custody Case”
along with their fellow panelists Hon. Daniel Clifford,
Hon. Michele P. Bononi and Jennifer P. Bierly, Esq.



Williams Family Law attorney Melanie J. Wender has been appointed to the board of the Bucks County Bar Foundation (BCBF). As the charitable arm of the Bucks County Bar Association, the foundation works to support programs, organizations and individuals who work toward social justice in Bucks County.

The group’s activities include contributions to such organizations as Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Doylestown FISH, Tabor Home, Network of Victims Assistance and the Lenape Valley Foundation. The BCBF has also presented programs on the law in local elementary schools and provided scholarships to area students.

“I am really excited to be a part of the foundation’s efforts,” said Ms. Wender. “It is behind some really great work being done in our region, and Williams Family Law has long made a pledge to improve the communities we serve through volunteering our time.”

Wender concentrates her practice in all aspects of Pennsylvania divorce and family law in Bucks, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. She is familiar with all issues surrounding the complexities of divorce, including equitable distribution, custody and support.



Williams Family Law partners Susan J. Smith and Robert J. Salzer served as faculty members at the 2018 Family Law Institute, hosted by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the educational division of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. The program was presented live on April 17 and 18 at the CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building in Philadelphia and simulcast live to 18 locations throughout Pennsylvania.

The duo, along with two members of the judiciary, participated in a panel discussion entitled “Things We Do Wrong in Custody Litigation – 6 Keys to Trying Custody Cases.” The discussion both recaps and  builds on a previous seminar the group presented earlier this year at the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section 2018 Winter Meeting in New Orleans.

Susan Smith is widely considered one of the top divorce and child custody attorneys in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Recognized by ALM publications as a “Woman Leader in the Law,” she concentrates her practice on divorce, child custody, alimony and support, equitable distribution, and complex business
valuation and asset investigation issues impacting high net worth clients.

Salzer, who holds an LL.M in Taxation, focuses his practice on financially complex, high net worth family law matters, including divorce, alimony and spousal support, equitable distribution, child support, child custody, and marital agreements. In 2017, Salzer published “Stress-Free Divorce,” one in a series of books on divorce and related issues.

  • MARCH 15: Williams Family Law sponsored the Bucks County Bar Foundation St. Patrick’s Day Event, which supported two student scholarship funds
  • APRIL-NOVEMBER: Doylestown Farmers Market, every Saturday from 8am-1pm. Music, arts, and a host of vendors offering fresh foods and homemade goods: bucksfoodshed.org
  • JUNE 25: Bucks County Bar Foundation Annual Charity Golf Outing: bucksbar.org/bar-foundation
  • JUNE 27: Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Summit: lbccc.org
  • AUGUST 13: Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce annual golf tournament: centralbuckschamber.com
  • SEPTEMBER 1: Bucks County Foodshed Alliance “Run for our Farms” 5K Run and 3K Walk: bucksfoodshed.org
  • SEPTEMBER 15: Williams Family Law sponsors “30 Years: An Evening in Black & White,” the 30th anniversary gala of the James A. Michener Art Museum: michenerartmuseum.org
  • SEPTEMBER 20-22: Bucks County Bar Association Annual Bench Bar Conference: bucksbar.org
  • SEPTEMBER 23: Williams Family Law is a sponsor for the Travis Manion Foundation 9/11 Heroes Run, supporting veterans, survivors, scholarships, and first responders: travismanion.com
  • OCTOBER 11-13TH: Annual Upper Bucks Foodie... A Culinary Adventure: ubcc.org

Please visit our blog where we share legal insights, thoughts on legal news and much more. Below are some of our most recent posts. You can find these and more at bucksfamilylawyers.com/blog.

Amendment to Pennsylvania Child Custody Statute Expands Standing

On May 4, 2018, the Pennsylvania statute setting forth the basis upon which an individual who is not the parent of the child may seek physical or legal custody of a child was amended. Prior to the amendments to 23 Pa.C.S.A. §5324, only a parent of a child, a person in loco parentis to the child or a grandparent of
a child, in certain circumstances, had a basis or right to seek some form of custody of a child.

Trump Tax Plan Eliminates Tax Deduction for Alimony Payments
The Trump Administration’s massive federal tax-reform legislation, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, was made public on Nov. 2, 2017. The $1.5 trillion plan eliminates a host of current tax deductions… and dramatically changes current alimony law.

Pennsylvania Shortens Waiting Period for No-Fault Divorces
The “no-fault” divorce recently got a slight rewrite from a bill signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf. The new law reduces the mandatory separation period for no-fault divorces from two years to one.

Finances After Divorce
While divorce is final, you and your ex-spouse may still be connected financially. A recent article in Forbes shared steps that couples need to take to become fully fiscally independent following a divorce.

Grandparents' Custody Rights

It is not widely known that grandparents may seek custody of their minor grandchildren. This can occur under the following circumstances:

  • The grandparent whose relationship with the child began with the consent of a parent or  under a court order;
  • A grandparent who assumes or is willing to assume responsibility of the child; and
  • It has been determined that the child is dependent or the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or the child has resided with the grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months and the grandparent seeks custody within 6 months of the child’s removal from the home.

Grandparents may also seek partial physical custody and/or supervised physical custody in the following situation:

  • the parent of the child is deceased;
  • the relationship with the child began either with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order and where the parents of the child have commenced a proceeding for custody; and do not agree as to whether the grandparents or great-grandparents should have custody; or
  • the child has resided for at least 12 consecutive months with the grandparent and the grandparent seeks custody within 6 months of the child’s removal from the home.

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