Big Change for Allegheny County PA family law

Family Division litigants in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania are now subject to a new requirement. As of June 22, 2015, all Motions must now include a certififcation that the litigants have "met and conferred" in an attempt to resolve the matter, prior to going to court.

As a matter of course, we generally attempt to work out matter prior to litigation. So, this Order effects us less than many other practioners. In fact, we informally call it the "everybody should be more like Avram rule". Still, it may be a pain when opposing counsel (or the opposing party) is unwilling or unable to confer. It remains to be seen if this new rule "sticks", because some prior adminstrative changes (involving Praeipe's for Appearance and citiation to legal authority) have only been honored in the breech.

A copy of the Administrative Order is found below:

ADMINSTRATIVE ORDER OF COURT AND NOW, this 17th day of June 2015, it is hereby ORDERED that effective June 22, 2015, litigants in matters heard in the Family Division—Adult Section shall be required to meet and confer prior to the filing and presentation of a motion as set forth below.

1. Litigants are to confer prior to the filing and/or presentation of any motion before the Court and are to attempt, in good faith, to reach amicable resolution of the issues involved. (Litigants include: Counsel representing a party and parties who are self represented.)

2. Each Motion filed shall contain a certificate of compliance setting forth a brief statement of the extrajudicial means employed to resolve the dispute, in substantially the form attached.

3. Failure to comply with this rule may result in sanctions. Good faith efforts toward amicable resolution shall be considered as a factor in determining whether or not the requested relief is appropriate, the propriety of sanctions, or in determining the exigency of circumstances, if relevant.

4. In the event that any party is self-represented in a matter where any party involved in the matter is either a protected party in a PFA, or has been the subject of domestic violence allegedly perpetrated by the opposing party at any time within the past 24 months, the Party must state so in their certificate and said reason shall be sufficient for purposes of this rule in excusing the requirement to confer in advance.