Pennsylvania Child Custody Court
Child Custody Courts in Western PA
Some parents may believe that there are child custody courts that handle disputes concerning their child custody matters. In reality, all legal matters regarding Western Pennsylvania child custody cases are directed through the Family Divisions of the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas. Each county utilizes a slightly different procedure, in some instances initial child custody hearings are headed by Child Custody Hearing Officers/Conference Officers, and in some instances cases are handled by special Child Custody Masters. Regardless of their title, these people are empowered to serve as representatives of the Family Court Judges of the Courts of Common Pleas.
Additionally, many counties require an educational seminar and mediation between the parents to try to resolve custody issues before proceeding to a child custody conference or hearing. Called the Generations Program in Allegheny County, this process involves only the parents and a mediator (without attorneys present) to try to agree to a custody schedule, which is memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding, and will be adopted by the Court.
If agreement is not reached at mediation, the child custody case will proceed to the first court-like hearing in front of the Master or Hearing Officer. When appearing in front of the Master or Conference Officer, your PA Child Custody attorney will present the facts of your case and various forms of evidence, including testimony, medical records, and occasionally the preference of the child. The Child Custody Hearing Officer will then look at the facts of the case presented by each party, and will weigh several statutory factors to decide which custody schedule is in the child’s best interest. If either party is not satisfied with this outcome, it may be appealed to a family court Judge in the County Court of Common Pleas.
Information about the different county processes and rules in PA custody cases can be found on our Family Law Procedures by County pages.
Contact Our Western PA Child Custody Lawyers Today!
Contact our Pittsburgh child custody lawyers to speak with one of our experienced Allegheny County custody lawyers and learn how we can help your family. You may also telephone our PA custody law firm in Pittsburgh at 412-281-9906, Southpointe (Canonsburg, Washington County) at 724-436-5500, Cranberry Township (Butler County, PA) at 724-776-9906, Clearfield at 814-290-9587 or toll-free at 1-844-VARI-LAW.
Appointments may also be available in other meeting locations throughout Pennsylvania upon advance arrangements with our office. Ask the secretary scheduling your appointment for details including appointment locations.
Our Western PA family law office routinely accepts custody cases in Allegheny County,Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. Our Pittsburgh child custody attorneys accept custody cases in other PA counties such as Armstrong County, Erie County, Fayette County, Greene County, Somerset County and Venango County on a case-by-case basis.
Click the following link to learn more about Pennsylvania child custody laws.