Jefferson County Divorce Lawyers
Jefferson County Divorce Procedures
In Jefferson County, Pennsylvania an action for divorce begins with a Jefferson County Divorce Attorney preparing a PA Divorce Complaint, filing it at the Jefferson 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 Jefferson County Divorce Lawyers filing a formal listing of the marital property and debts and then, upon motion by either party’s Jefferson 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 Jefferson County Divorce Master, a Pre-Trial Conciliation Conference will be held by a Jefferson County Court Judge and will be attended by the Jefferson County Divorce Lawyers for both parties. The conference is an attempt by the Jefferson County PA Judge to mediate the differences between the divorcing Jefferson County spouses regarding division of marital property and alimony. If unsuccessful, the matter proceeds to a hearing before a Jefferson County Divorce Master whose recommendation to a Jefferson 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.
Jefferson County Child Custody Procedures
In Jefferson County, Pennsylvania 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 Custody Complaint or Petition by a Jefferson County Child Custody Attorney.
Thereafter, a Custody Conference will be held within approximately 30 days. The parties, together with their Jefferson County Custody Lawyers, will meet 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 the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Court will schedule a mediation conference before a Jefferson County child psychologist.
Prior to the mediation conference, the parties are required to complete a child custody questionnaire and pay a mediation fee. At mediation, the Mediator will talk with the parties and their Jefferson County Lawyers in an attempt to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. A vast majority of child custody cases in Jefferson County are resolved through the mediation process. If no agreement is reached, the Mediator will file a report with the assigned Jefferson County Court Judge and the case will proceed to a Pre-Trial Conference. At the Pre-Trial Conference, the Jefferson County judge will review the parties pre-trial memorandums and any reports with the Jefferson 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 judge.
Children should not attend the Jefferson County custody conference or any pre-trial conferences unless an Order is entered specifically requiring their presence. Children are required by Order to attend the mediation. In some cases, children may be required to testify in a 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 Jefferson County Family Law Attorneys
Our Jefferson 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 an appointment to speak with one of our experienced Jefferson County family lawyers, call us today at 814-290-0587, toll free at 1-844-VARI-LAW or send us an e-mail. We offer in person appointments in both Brookville and DuBois as well as appointments by telephone.