Our office can assist you with applying for child support and/or spousal support if you are a resident of Chester County. The Office of Domestic Relations requires an intake application which can be filled out at their offices at 201 W. Market St., West Chester, on the third floor. The form is online here.
A support conference will be scheduled within several weeks of the application and served upon the children’s father. If you are married, you may be entitled to spousal support as well. At the conference, both parties are required to provide past tax returns and paystubs as well as healthcare and childcare costs.
A statutory framework will set the amount of support required based on the determined income and normally is ordered as a wage attachment of the obligor. There is the option to appeal this assessment if either party is unsatisfied with the evidence presented.
The law office of Hudson L. Voltz, PC is available to represent you at all levels of support and also makes every effort to reach an agreement without the necessity of court interference. Our office has the technology to “run the numbers” in accordance with the rules relating to support and can provide you with a range of expectations so that you can consider various options and be prepared as you begin the process. Our office also handles modifications of support orders as well as termination petitions.
- How do I get a custody order for my child?
In Chester County, a custody complaint must be filed with the Prothonotary at the Court House in West Chester to initiate the proceedings. The complaint is served upon the other parent and a custody conference is scheduled – usually within 6 to 8 weeks. If there is already an agreement between the parents, a custody order can be filed as an agreement and thereby become enforceable through the courts and police.
It is critical that a custody order be in place to protect the rights of both parents throughout the life of the child through the age of 18, or graduation from high school, whichever is later. A typical custody order addresses visitation, transportation, vacations, holidays, and special needs.
An attorney from the law office of Hudson L. Voltz, PC can support you throughout this process which focuses at all times on the “best interest of the child.” Our attendance at a custody conference is highly recommended so that all issues are addressed in the Order to minimize further litigation later.
We make every effort to work with both parties to reach an agreement. However, if that is not possible, our attorneys are ready to proceed to custody trial. Many times, emergencies arise that must be handled immediately and experience and compassion are required to resolve issues.
Our creative solutions and communication with all parties help minimize court time and get relationships between parent and child back on track. We also work with custody evaluators when cooperation is not possible.
If the other parent is threatening to move from Chester County with your child, it is critical that you file for custody before they leave or you may have to address custody from their new location.
- How do I file for divorce?
Once you have determined that the marriage cannot be saved, and that counseling is not productive, the law office of Hudson L. Voltz, PC can assist you with filing for divorce in Chester County. Pennsylvania does provide for no-fault divorces but many considerations will need to be addressed depending on the marital assets and debts.
As a very general matter, assets and debts acquired by either party from the date of marriage through the date of separation will need to be divided – either through agreement, or through the court. Real estate can be a difficult matter if the property does not have sufficient equity to refinance and buyout one of the parties.
Our office has over 35 years of combined experience in negotiating marital settlement agreements so that you can move forward with your life. Alimony is also addressed through divorce and numerous factors must be considered.
Our office can evaluate your particular situation and provide advice on whether or not a settlement offer makes sense for your future. If an agreement is not possible, our attorneys are experienced in proceeding through the courts and addressing Masters to decide the fate of the marital estate and its division among the parties.
Many times, parties will decide to see mediators initially in the hopes of working out a divorce settlement. Mediators cannot prepare the legal paperwork necessary to submit your agreement to the courts for approval. Our office will convert your agreement into the necessary documents so that you can get divorced as efficiently and quickly as possible.
- How do I remove my spouse from our residence?
If you do not qualify for a Protection from Abuse Order (contact Domestic Violence of Chester County if you believe you may be the victim of abuse at 610-518-5900 ), you may still be able to petition the court for exclusive possession of your home through divorce if your spouse is not contributing to the bills and is causing significant disruption daily to you and your children.
It is important to note, however, that exclusive possession of the home means you will be responsible for the rent/mortgage/utilities etc. and the excluded spouse will still have rights to equity in the home should it be sold. You may be entitled to some relief with regard to the mortgage depending on an analysis of your rights to support (See How do I file for Support).
If you have questions about divorce or would like to discuss your family law case with an experienced attorney, contact the law firm of Hudson L. Voltz, P.C. at 610-518-9500.