Child Custody Hearings and the Pennsylvania Custody Court Process
The child custody court process can be complex and involve multiple hearings in Pennsylvania.
Fighting for custody of a child may be the first experience in a courtroom setting for many people. Although legal dramas on television present a simplified picture of the process, courtroom procedure is much different than that which is displayed on a screen. In the real world, the custody court process involves a methodical presentation of your case and arguments related to your suitability as a guardian.
Many parents attempt to go it alone, fighting without legal representation. However, custody court is complicated, and one misstep could lead to permanently losing your rights as a parent. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the process and make sure the correct information is presented. The Pittsburgh custody lawyers with Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC understand the turmoil that can arise during custody battles. Call (412) 471-5100 now to see how your rights can be protected.
Anthony believes that the best way to win your case is by listening to your side of the story.
Fighting for Child Custody
Child custody cases begin with filing a petition or complaint for child custody. A petition might be filed when trying to obtain custody for the first time, whereas a complaint could be in response to one party not following the rules outlined in an existing custody order. Once the case is officially in the system, it will move forward to a special hearing, or conference, before a Master. A Master is a court employee who is responsible for legitimizing any agreements that can be made during the conference. If an agreement between two parties cannot be reached at this level, the case will be brought before a judge. The case will then be labeled as a hearing or a trial, granting either 15-20 minutes or several hours in court, respectively. Trials are usually reserved for complex custody issues.
Trying to obtain child custody within the legal system can be confusing, especially without the help of a lawyer. Depending on the volume of cases being handled by the court, it can take months to reach the conference after filing a petition or complaint. It can take several more months before a case is brought before a judge. Other factors, such as the number of witnesses and the testimony of expert witnesses can also slow down the process. This is why representation is essential. It is the job of an experienced attorney to expedite the process by mediating disputes between both parties during the Master’s stage.
When a party can prove that a current or future event will put a child in immediate physical danger, the case may be brought before a judge within days of filing a court order. The party must file an Emergency Custody Petition in order to classify their case as an emergency. Proof of bodily harm is not necessary, and the danger in question is not required to be life-threatening.
Contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC LLC
A custody battle can be an emotional experience. You have not done anything wrong, and you only seek the opportunity to raise your child in a safe and loving environment. The Pittsburgh custody lawyers with Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC realize that a battle for parental rights can uproot everything you have worked so hard to establish. Anthony Piccirilli knows that parents are often unfairly denied legal rights. He has experience representing the best interests of parents and has helped countless good people obtain custody of their children.
Call (412) 471-5100 today to see how your case can reach the best possible outcome.