Chester County Divorce Lawyer
Have You Decided to End Your Marriage?
Divorce is a difficult thing to go through. You never planned for this to happen when you made your vows, but in some situations, it is the best option. If you are facing divorce, it is important to have an experienced Chester County divorce lawyer to represent you. From filing your initial complaint to obtaining a decree from the court dissolving your marriage, we are here to guide you, advise you, and support you through every step of the process.
How Does Divorce Work in Chester County?
To begin the divorce process in Chester County, you must file a Complaint in Divorce with the court. Before a divorce decree is entered, all economic claims of the parties must be resolved, either by agreement or by court order. These matters may include property division, alimony, and attorney fees. Both spouses file a formal inventory of their assets and debts and exchange documents in a process known as discovery. If they are unable to agree on economic claims, equitable distribution (the process of dividing marital assets and debts) cannot be begun until the divorce decree is ready to be entered by the court.
What Happens When Divorcing Spouses Do Not Agree on Economic Claims?
- If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on economic claims, one spouse must move for a Hearing Officer to be appointed.
- The Hearing Officer schedules a preliminary conference in which the judge and attorneys for the parties discuss proposed settlements in the judge’s chambers. Although the spouses do not attend the conference in chambers, they must be present in the courthouse so any agreement reached between the parties can be signed the same day.
- If the parties do not reach an agreement during the preliminary conference, the Hearing Officer schedules a settlement conference and orders discovery.
- The spouses and their attorneys are present at the settlement conference, the purpose of which is to reach an agreement.
- If the parties can reach an agreement, the agreement is placed on record and the Hearing Officer issues a report and recommends that the judge enter a divorce decree. Either spouse may seek the entry of a divorce decree by the court.
- If the parties do not reach an agreement, they file a certificate of trial readiness, which puts them on the list in line for trial.
What Are the Child Custody Procedures in Chester County?
An action seeking child custody is initiated by filing a Complaint for Custody of Minor Children. Parents, any grandparents, or third parties involved in the case are required to attend a parenting class. The parties are then sent to a custody mediation session with a court-appointed mediator. Attorneys are not present at mediation. If an agreement as to custody is not reached in mediation, the parties and their lawyers attend a custody conciliation, after which the conciliator will offer settlement recommendations. If a settlement is still not reached, a temporary order that is immediately effective will be recommended by the Hearing Officer. Any party who is not satisfied with the order can file for a trial in front of a judge.
Why Choose Us?
Divorce can be a stressful and complicated proceeding, particularly when children are involved. At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to effectively address all aspects of the process. Sheryl R. Rentz has more than 25 years of experience. We offer a free initial consultation. If you are facing divorce, call us at (610) 645-0100.