Allentown Child Custody Attorney
Lehigh Valley Parent’s Rights Lawyers
If you’re in a tense family situation, it’s a huge benefit to have the help an Allentown child custody attorney with over a decade of experience. Obtaining custody of a child through the courts without an experienced family lawyer can be a difficult and emotionally tolling process. Here at Regan Law Firm, Attorney Kevin P. Regan strives to obtain the custody arrangements his clients desire through pre-trial negotiations or trial.
Initiating Custody Actions
A custody action begins with an attorney filing a custody complaint in the Court of Common Pleas by a parent of a minor child (not 18 or older). Custody actions generally begin after the parents attempt to resolve the custody arrangements out of court, with or without a lawyer present. Sometimes, depending on the nature of a particular divorce, parents simply do not trust each other and want their agreement entered as an order of the court. Once entered as an order, any willful violations of the custody agreement may subject the party to court sanctions. Court sanctions may include a fine up to $500.00, the payment of the attorney fees of the filing party, and/or probation or jail for up six months.
Lehigh County Child Custody Conciliation
A custody complaint must be filed in the county where the child has resided for the last six months. In Lehigh County, the parties have the option of mediation prior to the conciliation. However, the filing party usually waives mediation and requests the case be listed for conciliation. Prior to filing a custody complaint in Lehigh County, the filing party must get a custody conciliation date with the custody office. In Northampton County, prior to filing the custody complaint the filing party must first appear in Motions Court and get the Motion Court Judge to sign an Order attached to the complaint. After getting this signature, a conciliation date will be provided by the Northampton County Prothonotary’s office.
At the conciliation, the conciliator will gather basic information and attempt to get the parties to resolve their differences and enter into a final custody order. If the parties do not come to a final agreement, the conciliator will enter an interim custody order and the case will be referred to a judge for trial.
In both Lehigh County and Northampton County, there is a pre-trial settlement conference in one last attempt to resolve the case prior to trial. Generally, the parties are reminded of the impact of trial on them and the child(ren). If the matter cannot be resolved an attorney trial occurs several weeks after the conference.
The 16 Child Custody Factors
At trial, there are 16 factors the court must take into consideration. However, this list is not exhaustive as the 16th factor is simply “any other relevant factor.” At trial, the parties and any other fact and expert witnesses will testify in front of the judge. After the trial, the judge will render a decision based on the 16 factors. The custody law is gender neutral, meaning the judge’s decision may not be based on which parent is the mother and which is the father.
Litigating a custody case can be expensive, especially if medical or school experts are required to advance one party’s position. Understanding the expense and emotional strain involved in a custody case, the Allentown family law attorney at Regan Law Firm strives to obtain the goals of his clients without incurring the added expense of trial. However, if a fair resolution cannot be reached during pre-trial negotiations, we are prepared to fight for the best results possible at trial.
Contact Your Allentown Child Custody Lawyer Today
Contact the Regan Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced family law attorney in Allentown. Time is essential in child custody cases, so do not hesitate. Call us now at (484) 498-6334.