Motions Court in Pennsylvania
Do You Need a Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer to Represent You?
When you see cases on TV, the parties always seem to be preparing for trial or having a trial. In reality, most court appearances in family law cases are at "Motions Court." Motions Court sessions often require a judge to plow through 15-40 cases. The Judge does not have time to consider each motion at length. Motions Court deals with many matters short of final trial. These matters include most support and alimony requests, enforcement requests, safety matters, and interim custody (which may last for months and frame all future custody proceedings). Motions Court is not a trial or hearing. You will not testify or participate. The Judge cannot get a full picture of events.
You need to have a Pittsburgh divorce attorney who knows:
- What to ask for;
- Which arguments to emphasize;
- When to settle;
- How to develop a reputation for honesty and reasonableness; and
- The preferences and priorities of the Judge.
Washington County only has one family law judge (Judge John F. DiSalle) and thus only one Motions procedure. Motions Court is only on Fridays (at 9:15 a.m.) If court is closed on Friday, the next Motions Court will be the following Friday. Five days' notice is required (except for consent orders). Motions are heard in Courtroom #3. Uncontested and consent motions are heard first. All Motions must be signed in open court, so no dropping off of Motions.
Allegheny County has 15 separate judges who handle Family Law cases. Your particular judge is denoted by the "judicial suffix" on your case number. This is the final 3 numbers of your case from 001-016 Ex: 008. Unfortunately, the Family Division does not have a great sense of humor and does not use 007. We will list the various judicial motions procedures in an upcoming article called the "Judges Corner."
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