Berks County Divorce Lawyers

Berks County Divorce Procedures

In Berks County, PA an action for divorce begins with a Berks County Divorce Lawyer preparing and filing a Divorce Complaint with the Berks County Court of Common Pleas located at the Berks County Courthouse in Reading, PA. The Divorce Complaint is then served upon the Defendant by certified mail. Before a Divorce Decree ending the marriage can be entered, the divorcing spouses must resolve all economic issues relating to the divorce action such as whether spousal support should be awarded, or how marital property and debts should be distributed. These issues must be resolved by agreement or Order of Court prior to the finalization of the divorce.

In many cases, the divorcing spouses with the help of their Berks County Divorce Attorneys are able to settle the related issues and sign a formal Marriage Settlement Agreement. However, when plaintiff and defendant to a divorce action cannot come to an agreement, the parties will engage in the formal legal process of equitable distribution of property through the Berks County Family Court. The process begins with an exchange of documents relating to the marital assets and debts. Thereafter, upon motion, a Berks County Divorce Master may be appointed who is a Berks County Family Law Attorney. The Divorce Master will conduct informal mediation sessions in an attempt to amicably resolve the divorcing parties' economic issues.

If no resolution to the divorcing spouses' economic issues is reached during mediation, the Divorce Master will hold an evidentiary hearing and issue a Recommended Order to a Berks County Court Family Judge resolving the divorcing spouses' economic issues. Both the Plaintiff and the Defendant then have twenty (20) days to file objections (formally known as exceptions) to the Berks County Divorce Master's Recommended Order. If no objections are filed a Berks County Family Court Judge will approve the Berks County Divorce Master's Recommended Order, and the divorce will be concluded. If objections are filed, the Recommended Order as well as written legal briefs and oral argument will be reviewed and considered by a Berks County Family Court Judge who will then issue a Final Order of Court resolving the parties disputed issues and concluding the divorce case.

Berks County Support Procedures

In Berks County, Pennsylvania to begin an action for child support or spousal support the Plaintiff must file a Support Complaint with the Berks County Domestic Relations Office located at the Berks County Courthouse in Reading, PA. Thereafter, a Domestic Relations Conference will be scheduled wherein a Berks County Domestic Relations Officer (DRO) will utilize the Child Support Calculator from the Pennsylvania Automated Child Support Enforcement System (PACSES) computer system to calculate the child support amount. The DRO will also calculate an amount for spousal support. He or she will then recommend the total of the two as a proposed order to the plaintiff and defendant in the support action. If an agreement cannot be reached, the DRO will enter an Interim Order and schedule a de novo (new) hearing before a Berks County Support Hearing Officer.

The Hearing Officer is a Berks County Support Lawyer who will conduct a hearing with testimony taken, documents entered into evidence, and legal arguments made by the parties' Berks County Support Attorneys. The Berks County Support Hearing Officer, will then make a recommendation of appropriate child and/or spousal support. If either party is dissatisfied with the recommendation of the Hearing Officer, a further appeal to a Berks County Family Court judge may be taken. A Berks County Family Court Judge, after hearing both sides, will then determine the amount of child and/or spousal support, and issue a Final Order of Court.

Berks County Child Custody Procedures

In Berks County, a Complaint must be filed with the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County to begin any action for child custody, including a law suit for partial custody, visitation, grandparents' rights or modification of an existing Custody Order. Thereafter, the plaintiff and defendant in the custody action must attend the Children in the Middle program. The parties are also required to attend a Custody Mediation session with a court-appointed mediator.

A Berks County Child Custody Attorney, acting as the Mediation Officer, will attempt to mediate a child custody agreement. If no agreement is reached between the parties during mediation the case will move forward to a Child Custody Conciliation Hearing.

A Berks County Child Custody Lawyer will act as the Conciliation Hearing Officer and hold a hearing to determine an appropriate child custody schedule for the plaintiff and defendant. It is very important to be represented by a Berks County Child Custody Attorney at this proceeding. Following the hearing, the Conciliation Hearing Officer will issue a Recommended Custody Order to a Berks County Court Family Judge. Both the Plaintiff and the Defendant will then have twenty (20) days to file objections (formally known as exceptions) to the Recommended Custody Order. If no objections are filed a Berks County Family Court Judge will approve the Hearing Officer's Recommended Order and the child custody dispute will be concluded. If objections are filed, a Berks County Family Court Judge will conduct a hearing to review the Conciliation Hearing Officer's Recommended Order and schedule the matter for a child custody trial.

Our Berks County Family Law Lawyers

To learn more about our Pennsylvania family law firm, and to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our experienced Berks County family law lawyers, click here to schedule an appointment or telephone our office toll free at 1-844-827-4529 (1-844-VARI-LAW).

Our law offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and evenings by appointment.

Appointments are available in our Pittsburgh (Allegheny County), Cranberry Township (Butler County), Canonsburg (Washington County), Clearfield (Clearfield County) and Reading (Berks County) offices. Appointments may also be available at other meeting locations if special arrangements are made in advance with our office. Ask the secretary scheduling your appointment for details including appointment locations.

Want to Learn More?

If you would like more information on family law topics, click on our Family Laws section or read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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