The Bucks County court performs legal services for a county of over 600,000 residents. The courthouse is located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. 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.
What To Expect In Bucks County's Family Law Court
The first step for filings for custody in Bucks County is making a filing with the Prothonotary. If the filing requires some court action, the filing of those separate documents will be done at this time as well. For custody in particular, filing for things such as right to entry, or modifications, will be sent to the Master's Office after a filing with the Prothonotary. After three business days, the Master's Office will have reviewed the filed documents and either sent them forward if court action is required, or, if there is an error or a problem the petitioner will be notified through the issuance of a "Problem Notice." Filings specific to custody typically include contempt, modifications, and relocation.
After 5 business days, orders and petitions that have been agreed upon will be ready for a signing by the judge, and they will be mailed to the address provided within two weeks' time. Once an order is signed by a judge, the terms of the document go into effect immediately.
Court-appointed Masters will conduct conferences in matters of custody. The conferences will be focused on negotiating an amicable settlement between the two parties seeking to establish a custody agreement. With a Master, the parties can work out settlements before engaging in the lengthy and draining litigation process. It is recommended to have an attorney at this stage. The earlier an attorney is involved the sooner work can begin for protecting your interests and your child's interests. Although support and custody are often considered together, support agreements must proceed through the courtroom, while custody can be handled by a Master. If agreement cannot be reached at a conference with a Master, then the case will proceed to the actual court and a date will be assigned to your case. Once your case reaches the courtroom, the case itself will be decided upon the standard of what the court deems best for the child, based upon facts and evidence presented in court. At times, it may be best to settle in a conference, however, some situations may be necessary to bring to the courtroom.
While conferences with a court Master are not full litigation processes, it is very helpful to have the services of a Family Law attorney. A Family Law attorney can help you prepare your case for a conference, and will represent you if your case makes it into the courtroom. The court of Family Law can be a confusing and intimidating place. You only want what is best for your family, and the services of an experienced Family Law attorney can help secure their needs.
If you or a loved one is currently engaged in matters of Family Law in Bucks County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.