Bryn Mawr Divorce and Child Custody Lawyers
Bryn Mawr seems to be everywhere.
In Pennsylvania, it belongs to three townships and two counties. That obviously does not include the same-named towns out in California, Minnesota, Ohio, or the original in Wales, Brynmawr! Since the name comes from the Welsh "great hill," it’s easy to see why Bryn Mawrs have popped up in different places.
Our Bryn Mawr is a small and select census-designated community. With only 3,500 people, Bryn Mawr is tucked deep in the heart of the Pennsylvania Main Line and the home to one of the best women’s universities in the country.
Bryn Mawr College was voted "one of the most beautiful college campuses in the U.S." It’s a lovely place to have a wedding when love is in the air. But when love has dried up, Bryn Mawr can be a complicated place to get a divorce.
Is Family Law More Complicated in Bryn Mawr?
Handling family law issues isn’t harder in Bryn Mawr, except when you’re taking the first step: deciphering which courthouse to file in!
For issues like divorce or child custody, you file the paperwork through the county courthouse. In Bryn Mawr, this means either Montgomery County or Delaware County, depending on your exact street address. Each courthouse has its own specific forms and offices, judges and clerks that you’ll be dealing with.
Make sure you have a Montgomery County family law attorney who knows each county’s local rules, front and back, because all of them have their own customs.
Requirements for Divorce
Either both spouses agree to end the marriage in a no-fault divorce, or one spouse claims a "ground" or legal reason for divorce. Pennsylvania has six grounds: adultery, cruelty, bigamy, criminal conviction, abandonment, or tormenting an innocent spouse. Divorce can also be granted for proven insanity.
Because of a new law passed several years ago, you don’t have to be an established "resident" of Pennsylvania to file for divorce. Many states have residency requirements (usually, you have to have been living there for six months or more), but not Pennsylvania!
To file for divorce, fill out and submit a divorce "complaint" in the designated county courthouse for where you currently live, and "serve" or legally deliver it to your soon-to-be-ex. You must file proof that you’ve served the complaint, and if there are no objections, Pennsylvania will grant your divorce after a 90-day waiting period.
If, however, your spouse raises any objections to the filing itself, the division of property, or the custody of the children, you’ll need to have a court hearing to determine who gets what. Most counties, including Delaware, strongly recommend that you have a divorce attorney to help you through this tough process.
Elements of Child Custody
In Pennsylvania, there are two elements of custody that will be decided in each divorce: legal and physical. Legal has to do with making decisions for the child; physical has to do with where the child will live after the divorce.
Legal custody can be:
- Shared - Decisions are made by both parents jointly in the child’s best interests. Pennsylvania prefers that legal responsibility be shared between both parents.
- Sole - One parent makes all the decisions.
Physical custody can be:
- Shared or joint - Both parents share the child’s time and physical possession.
- Primary - One parent has the child more than 50% of the time.
- Partial - One parent has the child less than 50% of the time.
- Supervised - One parent is monitored by the court or a designated third party when spending time with the child.
- Sole - One parent has the child all of the time. Visitation may still be arranged.
When filing a petition for child custody, you will have to pay a court-specific filing fee. The court may have hearings to question you and your children, or send you to mediation, before delivering a final custody order. Having an attorney is very helpful for explaining what’s practical and getting you the best possible outcome. The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., can answer your questions in a free sit-down, so don’t hesitate to call.
Divorce Resources for Bryn Mawr
Montgomery County Courthouse
Court of Common Pleas
2 E. Airy St,
Norristown, PA 19404
Delaware County’s Court of Common Pleas
Office of Judicial Support, Room 126
201 West Front St.
Media, PA 19063
Support Groups and Divorce Resources
School and Child Care
Bryn Mawr Family Attorney Sheryl R. Rentz
Behind the beautiful facades on the tree-lined streets of Bryn Mawr, you never know what’s happening. Every couple has their own story, and sometimes, they don’t end well.
Even couples who had their receptions at Wyndham Alumnae House are not immune to the pressures and changes that life brings. There are very real reasons why ending a marriage is best for everyone involved, but navigating the family court can be emotionally draining and confusing.
At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., our experienced divorce attorneys handle all issues that arise, including spousal support, bankruptcy, child custody and visitation, mediation, property division, and more. If you need help, call (866) 290-9292 for a free consultation.