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Know your judge: Kathryn Hens-Greco

If your Allegheny County Pennsylvania case has a judicial suffix of "004", then you have Judge Kathryn Hens-Greco as your judge.

Brief Biography

Judge Hens-Greco got her undergraduate degree from Le Moyne College in 1979. She then graduated from the Antioch School of Law in 1985.

She co-founded the Law Office of Kathryn and Sam Hens-Greco in 1987 and was a partner with the firm of Stokes Lurie Cole between 1996 and 2005.

In 2005 she was elected to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Judge Hens-Greco was assigned to the Family Division and she has served in that post for the 10 years. From 2005-2008 she heard only adult Family Division cases. Since 2008, Judge Hens-Greco has also heard Juvenile cases.

In 2010, Judge Hens-Greco appointed chair of the statewide Psychotropic Medications Workgroup ("PMW"). The PMW was formed in response to the number of juvenile litigants receiving psychotropic medications.

She was the Administrative Judge for Family Division between 2011-2013. In 2014, Judge Hens-Greco was honored with the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges Commission for her role in developing the Commission's position regarding unwarranted strip searches of "dependent" children in residential settings.

In addition, Judge Hens-Greco has served on the Supreme Court's Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee and the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee and the Statewide Leadership Roundtable.

Allegheny County has a "one judge - one family" rule, which technically means that one judge will hear your entire case, including divorce, custody, support, protection from abuse and the like. Practically speaking, you will most often appear in front of "Hearing Officers" and "Masters" during the course of your case. However, the judge assigned to your case is still a very important consideration.

Contact information:

Honorable Kathryn Hens-Greco Adult Section, Family Division Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County 440 Ross Street, Suite 5077 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 412-350-6284 412-350-6283 (fax) COMMUNICATING WITH THE COURT If you have questions about court procedure, you may direct them to the Judge’s secretary, tipstaff or law clerk. If you have questions about your case, the correct way to request action is to file and serve on the opposing party (the other side) a motion or other written submission in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Court Decorum (for self-represented parties)

Due to limited seating, third parties may be asked to remain in the hall outside the motions courtroom. No children are permitted in the courtroom. Proper childcare arrangements should be made. Cell phones, beepers, pagers and other electronic devices MUST be turned completely off before entering the courtroom. 5 Conversation should take place in the hall, not in the courtroom. Should you leave the courtroom before your case is called, please alert the tipstaff.

Court Decorum (for attorneys)

All Court proceedings shall be conducted in a dignified, formal, and respectful manner. All argument and objections shall be addressed directly to the Court. Counsel and pro se litigants should rise when addressing the Court. This Court maintains a zero tolerance policy toward incivility. This includes all communication with judicial staff and court personnel.

This Court encourages and seeks to facilitate settlement of disputes. Blank consent forms are available from the tipstaff or secretary. You may use the hallway and other appropriate public areas of the Family Law Center (FLC), to attempt to reach agreement.

Please do not use the courtroom for this purpose, as observers who talk during court proceedings will be asked to step outside. So that you will not miss the calling of your case when attempting to resolve it, alert the tipstaff in advance and the Court will make every effort to call your case promptly when you return.

All cell phones, audible pagers, or other electronic devices must be turned completely off before entering the courtroom. Counsel table is reserved for lawyers and their clients, unless the Court states otherwise. Ordinarily, children should not attend sessions of court. Litigants and witnesses are responsible for making appropriate child care arrangements.

The Children’s Room on the first floor of the FLC can be a valuable resource for litigants with children. If the Court wishes to speak with children involved in a proceeding, special arrangements should be made, and a responsible adult should be prepared to supervise the children until they are called in to speak with the Court. 2 If clients are present during motions or arguments on exceptions, counsel should so advise the Court. It is counsel’s responsibility to ensure that clients observe the Court’s rules regarding court decorum.

The FLC strives to ensure that the public and court staff will be safe and secure during court proceedings. If you feel that a sheriff’s deputy’s presence might be advisable at an upcoming proceeding, please notify the tipstaff as far in advance of the proceeding as possible

Scheduling

Court will begin at the appointed time. Counsel, parties, and witnesses are expected to be prompt. Lateness may result in the imposition of sanctions, including fines and/or counsel fees, or beginning the proceedings without waiting for latecomers. Except in rare circumstances, this Court will not consider counsel’s attendance at another proceeding to be a valid excuse for lateness.

Please contact chambers if you will be unavoidably delayed. Judge Hens-Greco encourages settlement. If counsel for all parties believe that meeting with the Court on the day of a trial or hearing prior to the proceeding may help resolve the dispute, counsel should inform the tipstaff as early as possible. Any such meeting will be scheduled so as not to delay the trial or hearing.

For example, if trial is to start at 9:30 a.m., counsel should endeavor to schedule the meeting at or before 9:00 a.m. In all cases, but particularly in custody cases, counsel should be mindful of the time allotted for trial and should plan accordingly. Additional trial time may not be available for several months.

Counsel should immediately provide the Court’s secretary with a courtesy copy of any orders scheduling or changing the date of an appearance directly before the Court. In the event a matter is settled prior to trial, counsel shall promptly notify the Court so the matter can be removed from the Court’s calendar. Continuances, even if consented to, will not be granted within 30 days of a scheduled hearing date, except for good cause properly set out in a motion for continuance.

PFA Procedure

Final PFAs with a 004 suffix are initially scheduled for a PFA Domestic Relations Officer conciliation in the PFA office within ten (10) days after the temporary PFA has been granted. If no agreement is reached, conciliation may be held with the Court. If no agreement is reached at the judicial conciliation and a final hearing on the record is necessary, the Court will conduct the hearing on that day or the next available date.

Procedures Involving Children

The Court will take special care when taking testimony from a child, to shield the child from harassment or embarrassment. Counsel should ensure that questions are stated in a form that is appropriate to the witness's age or cognitive level, including the use of appropriate language, grammar and sentence structure. The Court will intervene to ensure that questioning is not misleading, age-inappropriate, or repetitive.