The Bucks County court performs legal services for a county of over 600,000 residents. The courthouse is located in Doylestown. The court is headed by a total of 16 judges, with 4 of them being senior judges. The court operates from the hours of 8:00 am through 5:00 pm on business days. Similar to other counties, the Court of Common Pleas in Bucks County is split into several divisions: criminal, civil, family, and orphan's law. Family law is handled in the domestic relations division of the court.
Services Offered At Bucks County Family Court
The division of domestic relations offers a number of services for individuals seeking resolution to matters of Family Law. Services offered at the court include:
- Filing cases against out-of-state, non-custodial parents: If a support agreement or other case must be filed against a parent or other party outside of the limits of the county or state
- Location services: If a non-custodial parent cannot be located, the court offers investigative services for tracking them down.
- Establishing paternity: The domestic relations devision will make use of genetic testing to seek out paternity in all cases where the children are born out of wedlock, but no paternity acknowledgement was signed.
- Interpreter services: For court attendees who do not speak English, the court will provide interpreter services.
What To Expect In Court
When your Family Law case reaches the court in Bucks County, you may not have a full hearing with a judge right away. This is common in cases dealing with spousal or child support. Bucks County's domestic relation division offers brief mediative meetings known as support conferences. These conferences are intended to create a support order that is fairly based on both parties' respective incomes. Legal representation is allowed at these hearings, though if you do not have legal representation certain arrangements will be taken to attempt to make this less unfair. Even though a support conference occurs outside of the courtroom, an attorney should be present at this stage to help protect your interests. If an agreement cannot be reached, your case may go on to a hearing.
On the day of your court hearing, you will be asked to be there at 8:30 am promptly. A domestic relations officers will continue to make attempts at resolution prior to your hearing with the judge. Failure to attend may incite contempt from the court, and can lead to incarceration or bench warrants being issued against you. Judges may issue orders even if one of the parties is not present for some matters, such as modification. It is important to note that Bucks County's Court does NOT permit children into the courtroom, and does NOT provide any child care services for the duration, so you should seek childcare services prior to your court date.
If you or a loved one is currently engaged in matters of Family Law in Bucks County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.