How long will it take me to get divorced?
If neither party alleges fault and both parties agree, a final divorce decree may be entered within 90 days of the service of a complaint.  However, if one party claims fault or does not consent, the divorce process may take several years.  Complicated property issues may also prolong the divorce process.

How will my assets be divided in a divorce? 

Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, meaning that assets will not necessarily be divided 50/50. Instead, courts examine multiple factors to reach a fair resolution. These factors can be found at 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3502, and include the length of the marriage, contributions to the marital estate, sources of income of each party, and whether the party will serve as the custodian of minor children. If necessary, the court may order distribution of a portion of an estate before the divorce is finalized.   

What will happen once I file for custody of my child?
In Chester County, once a custody complaint is filed, both parties must attend parenting class.  Generally, the parents must also participate in mediation, where a neutral third person will work with the parties to settle the case.  If mediation is unsuccessful, the parties will attend a Conciliation Conference, where a Master will recommend a custody schedule.  Either party may then request a trial before a Judge.

Who will get custody of my child? 

In entering a custody order, the court examines all factors relevant to the child's best interest.  The factors which affect the safety of the child are given weighted consideration. The law sets out 16 specific factors to be considered, which are set out in 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5328. These factors include: whether either parent poses a risk of harm to the child; the parental duties performed by each parent; the child's preference; each parent's history of drug or alcohol abuse; and each parent's mental and physical condition. Neither parent receives a preference based on their gender. 

I am a grandparent. Do I have any right to custody of my grandchild? 

Grandparents have special status in child custody actions. Grandparents may be permitted to intervene in a custody action to obtain full custody of a child in certain situations, such as where they have been performing parental duties on behalf of the child. Grandparents may also have the ability to request visitation with a child in some instances, such as when the parent of the child is deceased.   

What will happen if I file for support?
The Domestic Relations Office handles support matters in Chester County.  After a complaint is filed, a support conference is held which results in a temporary order.  If either person is unhappy with the result of the conference, they may request a hearing before a Master.  Thereafter, either party may ask for a judge to review the case.

How much child support will I owe?
The Court will determine the amount of child support.  You can obtain an estimation of your child support obligation at

Can I seek a Protection from Abuse Order?
To receive the protection of such an order, the Plaintiff must establish a familial or intimate relationship with the Defendant.
I recently learned a child is being abused.  What should I do?
Information about child abuse reporting requirements is available at