In Allegheny County, any person involved in a child custody dispute must enroll in Generations, an alternative dispute resolution program that includes an educational seminar and mediation session. To learn about the educational seminar, please click here. To learn about the mediation session, please click here. To learn about waiving the mediation session due to issues of domestic violence, please click here. To learn about the custody conciliation, please click here. To learn about psychological/home evaluations, please click here.
If you and the other party are unable to come to an agreement at the custody conciliation, you may be ordered to appear at a partial custody hearing. A party requests a partial custody hearing after an unsuccessful conciliation by filing a praecipe at the Child Custody Department.
Cases heard by the Partial Custody Hearing Officer involve matters dealing with partial custody/visitation only. In order to proceed to a partial custody hearing, you must prepare and file a pre-trial statement ten days in advance of the hearing date. The original must be filed with the Department of Court Records, a copy must be served on the other side and opposing counsel if represented, and a copy must be delivered to the Custody Department.
The pre-trial statement shall include the following: a narrative statement of the facts, which will be proven; the current custody schedule; the name of each person whom you intend to call at trial as witnesses, including experts, and a report from each of the listed expert witnesses; a list identifying all of the exhibits, which you plan to offer into evidence; a proposed partial custody schedule and proposed order.
At the time of the hearing, you may bring an attorney if you are represented. The parties may come to an agreement; if not, the Partial Custody Hearing Officer will issue a report, recommendation, and interim order to both parties. If neither party files exceptions within twenty days, the order will become final.
To speak with an experienced Allegheny County child custody attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.