Elk County Divorce Lawyers
Elk County Divorce Procedures
In Elk County, Pennsylvania an action for divorce begins with a Elk County Divorce Attorney preparing a Pennsylvania Complaint in Divorce, filing it at the Elk County PA Courthouse, and serving it upon the defendant in the divorce action by certified mail. The Pennsylvania Divorce laws require that spouses come to an agreement regarding the division of the marital property and debts or that an order for equitable distribution of the marital assets and liabilities be entered by the court prior to the entry of a PA Divorce Decree.
Most marital property division cases are settled with a Consent Order of Court or a written Marriage Settlement Agreement. However, when parties to a PA divorce cannot come to an agreement, the Court will conduct the Equitable Distribution process. The process begins with the Elk County Divorce Lawyers filing a formal listing of the marital property and debts and then, upon motion by either party’s Elk County Divorce Attorney and payment of Master’s fees, the case will be assigned to a standing Master in Divorce.
Prior to the case being heard by a Master, a Pre-Trial Conciliation Conference will be held by the Elk County Master and will be attended by the Elk County Divorce Lawyers for both parties. The conference is an attempt by the Elk County PA Judge to mediate the differences between the divorcing Elk County spouses regarding division of marital property and alimony. If unsuccessful, the matter proceeds to a hearing before a Elk County Divorce Master whose recommendation to a Elk County Court Judge will become a Final Order unless either divorcing spouse files timely Exceptions to the Master’s recommendation. If exceptions are filed, the judge will issue a Final Order.
Elk County Child Custody Procedures
In Elk County, all actions for child custody, including partial custody, visitation, grandparents’ rights, relocation, enforcement, contempt, or modification of an existing custody order, begin with the filing of a Pennsylvania Custody Complaint or Petition by an Elk County Child Custody Attorney.
Thereafter, a Custody Conference will be held within approximately 30 days before an Elk County Custody Conciliator. The parties, together with their Elk County Custody Lawyers, will meet with the Custody Conciliator and attempt to reach an agreement. The Custody Conference is informal, is not recorded and no testimony is obtained from either parties or witnesses. If no agreement is reached, the Elk County Custody case will be scheduled for a Pre-Trial Conference with an Elk County Court Judge. At the Pre-Trial Conference, the judge will review the parties’ pre-trial memorandums and any reports with the Elk County Child Custody Lawyers and make recommendations for settlement in an attempt to mediate the dispute. If unsuccessful, a custody trial shall be scheduled by the Elk County judge.
Children should not attend the Elk County custody conference or any pre-trial conferences unless an Order is entered specifically requiring their presence. In some cases, children may be required to testify in an Elk County child custody trial; however, each case is unique and this decision must be made considering the best interests of the minor children including their age and whether the benefits of their testimony would outweigh the harm of forcing them into the middle of the child custody court action.
Our Elk County Family Law Attorneys
Our Elk County Family Law Attorneys will guide you through the process of obtaining a PA Divorce Decree as well as resolving any associated matters such as division of marital property through Equitable Distribution or agreement, Child Support, Spousal Support, Alimony, and all types of Child Custody cases including establishing an initial order, modification, enforcement, relocation, contempt of child custody court orders, and grandparents’ rights.
To learn more about our Pennsylvania family law firm, and to schedule a consultation to speak with one of our experienced Elk County family lawyers, call us today at 814-290-00587, toll free at 1-844-VARI-LAW or send us an e-mail. We offer in person appointments in Brookville, DuBois, and Clearfield or you may consult with us via telephone.