Clearfield County Divorce Lawyers
Clearfield County Divorce Procedures
In Clearfield County, Pennsylvania an action for divorce begins with a Clearfield County Divorce Attorney preparing a PA Divorce Complaint, filing it at the Clearfield 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 Clearfield County Court will conduct the Equitable Distribution process. The process begins with the Clearfield County Divorce Lawyers filing a formal listing of the marital property and debts and then, upon motion by either party’s Clearfield County Divorce Attorney and payment of Master’s fees, the case will be assigned to a standing Clearfield County Master in Divorce.
Prior to the case being heard by a Clearfield County Divorce Master, a Pre-Trial Conciliation Conference will be held by a Clearfield County Court Judge and will be attended by the Clearfield County Divorce Lawyers for both parties. The conference is an attempt by the Clearfield County PA Judge to mediate the differences between the divorcing Clearfield County spouses regarding division of marital property and alimony. If unsuccessful, the matter proceeds to a hearing before a Clearfield County Divorce Master whose recommendation to a Clearfield 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.
Clearfield County Support Procedures
In Clearfield County, PA a Complaint for Support must be filed with the Clearfield County Domestic Relations Section to begin an action for child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite (APL), or alimony. If the parties and their Clearfield County Support Lawyers are unsuccessful in settling the support issues, a support conference will be conducted by a Clearfield County Hearing Officer. The object of the conference is to attempt to reach a settlement through mediation and, as such, all parties must be present. If an agreement is reached at the support conference, the terms will be confirmed and the parties will sign a Consent Agreement and a Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas Order of Court will follow.
In the event an agreement cannot be reached, a Recommendation will be made by a Clearfield County Hearing Officer based on the PA Child Support Guidelines and/or the PA Spousal Support Guidelines. An appeal of the Recommendation can be made by filing a Request for a de novo hearing and requesting that the matter be heard by a Clearfield County Court Judge. The Recommendation made by the Hearing Officer remains in effect as an interim order pending the final Order of Court from the Clearfield County Judge.
Clearfield County Child Custody Procedures
In Clearfield 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 PA Custody Complaint or Petition by a Clearfield County Child Custody Attorney.
Thereafter, a Custody Conference will be held within approximately 30 days. The parties, together with their Clearfield County Custody Lawyers, will meet and attempt to reach an agreement. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Court will schedule a mediation session before a Clearfield County Custody Mediator. Prior to the mediation, 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 Clearfield County Lawyers in an attempt to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. A vast majority of child custody cases in Clearfield County are resolved through the mediation process. If no agreement is reached, the Mediator will file a report with the assigned Clearfield County Court Judge and the case will proceed to a Pre-Trial Conference. At the Pre-Trial Conference, the judge will review the parties pre-trial memorandums and any reports with the Clearfield 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 Clearfield 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 session. 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 Clearfield County Family Law Attorneys
Our Clearfield 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 Clearfield 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 Clearfield and DuBois as well as consultations by telephone.
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).