For updates on court operations during the Coronavirus pandemic, and for a complete list of Orders, please visit: https://www.courts.phila.gov/covid-19

Court of Common Pleas, Family Division - Domestic Relations

  1. While the Philadelphia Family Court BUILDING shall REMAIN GENERALLY CLOSED to the public, services and court proceedings shall be expanded as set forth hereafter. Family Court services, conferences, hearings, and court proceedings shall generally be conducted through the use of advanced communications technologies as defined in the General Statewide Judicial Emergency Orders issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on April 28, 2020 (Nos. 531 and 532 Judicial Administration Docket). Family Court reserves the right to require parties and/or counsel and necessary witnesses to participate in person at proceedings held in the Philadelphia Family Courthouse, if necessary.
  2. Supervised physical custody at the Family Court Nursery shall remain suspended pending further order of court.
  3. Suspension of Time Requirements. The suspension of time requirements, time limitations, or filing deadlines imposed by this Court’s Orders in connection with the Judicial Emergency will expire. Legal papers or pleadings required to be filed between March 16, 2020 and June 15, 2020, shall be deemed to have been filed timely if they are filed by the close of business on June 15, 2020.
  4. Rescheduling of Events – All matters that were given a date certain by notice issued prior to March 16, 2020 for any date from March 17, 2020 through December 31, 2020, are hereby administratively canceled and will be rescheduled. Parties will receive notification of their rescheduled hearing date(s). This does not apply to cases designated as protracted, which remain as scheduled.
    1. Please note that these rescheduled proceedings will be conducted through the use of advanced communication technology, including audio and video conferencing. As such, it is imperative that litigants provide the court with their most up to date contact information, specifically email addresses and phone numbers. Litigants may send their updated information to PhilaCSC@pacses.com. Please include DR or PACSES case number on all correspondence. Upon receipt, DR staff will update member information accordingly.
  5. Filing. All legal papers may be filed, as applicable, through the following electronic filing systems, which will be fully operational: Criminal Electronic Filing System, PACSES, and PACFile. Legal papers may also be mailed or emailed to the applicable filing office as set forth hereafter. For the protection of court staff and court users, filing of legal papers in person at filing offices is suspended until further court order.
  6. Legal Assistance If you require legal assistance in child custody, protection from abuse, or divorce matters and meet income eligibility requirements, you may contact
    1. Philadelphia Legal Assistance at 215-981-3838, Monday through Thursday, from 9:30 am to noon. PLA cannot provide representation in every case but will provide guidance to all eligible clients.
    2. Parties seeking legal representation may also contact the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Referral Service:

      Philadelphia Bar Association
      Lawyer Referral and Information Service
      1101 Market Street, 11th Floor
      Philadelphia, PA 19107
      Telephone: (215) 238-6333

Please select an office or department from the list below to view detailed information regarding operational procedures in place while the Family Court Building remains closed to the public:

Until further notice, child support payments made not be made in-person at the Family Court Building. Please use one of the payment options below:

Ways to Pay Your Child Support

n-Court (online) - www.phillychildsupportpay.com

n-Court (telephone) - 1-866-993-6019

- This vendor deals solely with credit card payments and each transaction carries a 3% processing fee. Once payment is made, the court is immediately notified so the individual''s case(s) can be noted and further action taken if necessary.

PA SCDU (mail)

PA SCDU
PO Box 69110
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9110

- Please print the defendant's name and ten (10) digit PACSES member ID.
- DO NOT MAIL CASH

PA SCDU (telephone) - 1-800-955-2305
- This option is credit card based and carries a 2.95% processing fee for each payment under $700. Any payment over $700 is charged a flat fee of $20. This transaction will reflect on our system in 1-2 business days.

Expert Pay www.expertpay.com
- This option links to your bank account. It takes approximately a week to set up and is free of charge. Once your account is ready, you can set up automatic withdraw or complete the transaction on demand. The transaction will reflect on all systems the following day.

Other Options Include:

E-Childs Pay www.e-childspay.com

MoneyGram www.moneygram.com

Litigants seeking assistance with domestic relations matters may contact Family Court Domestic Relations Customer Service representatives at 215-686-7466 between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday (except holidays).

Litigants may obtain information about their support cases at www.childsupport.state.pa.us

CORRESPONDENCE to the Customer Service Center should be addressed to:
Family Court Customer Service Center
1501 Arch Street - 8th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: (215) 686-9191

E-mail: PhilaCSC@PACSES.com

Emergency Custody Petitions may be filed as follows:

  1. An Emergency Custody Petition, setting forth all relevant information, shall be completed by Petitioner and verified. One of the following shall also be submitted with the Emergency Petition:
    1. A Complaint for Custody, if a Custody Complaint has not been filed; or
    2. A Petition to Modify Custody, if a custody order has been issued and the Emergency Petition seeks to modify the custody order; or
    3. A Petition for Contempt of Custody if the Emergency Petition alleges that the current custody has not been complied with;
  2. Every Emergency Custody Petition must be accompanied by the following:
    1. A fully completed Domestic Relations Information Sheet; and b. A Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification
  3. The Emergency Petition must be forwarded to Family Court by email to the following email address: custodyemergency@courts.phila.gov
  4. The Petitioner must provide a telephone number at which they can be reached by court staff.
  5. The Emergency Custody Petition and attachments are available at: https://www.courts.phila.gov/pdf/forms/domestic-relations/Petition-for-Emergency-Relief-and-Attachments-Custody-COVID-19.pdf
  6. The Emergency Custody Petition will be reviewed by the designated Judge.
  7. Custody emergencies warranting immediate Court intervention will be narrowly construed during this period.
  8. After review, the Petitioner will be notified by reply email and/or telephone whether the Petition is appropriate for filing in accordance with the General Statewide Judicial Emergency Orders.
  9. If acceptable for filing, the Petitioner will be provided with instructions regarding filing and service.

Emergency filings OTHER THAN CUSTODY EMERGENCY OR PROTECTION FROM ABUSE may be emailed to the following email address: DRClerkEmergency@courts.phila.gov.

  1. How To File: In addition to the ability to electronically file Complaints for Support and Petitions to Modify Support through PACSES, non-emergency filings other than Interstate child support matters may be filed via mail or email:
    1. Self-represented parties may directly file complaints for support and petitions to modify support online at the following PACSES address: www.childsupport.state.pa.us.
    2. Mail – non-emergency filings may be made by mail to the Office of the Clerk of Family Court, 11th Floor, 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
    3. Email – non-emergency filings may be emailed to the following email address: DRClerkRoutine@courts.phila.gov
  2. Filing Fees: Payment of all applicable filing fees, or in the alternative a fully completed Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”), must be received by the Office of the Clerk of Family Court simultaneously with a mailed filing, or within three (3) business days from an emailed filing. All filing fees must be in the form of a money order or attorney’s check (no personal checks), MADE PAYABLE TO THE OFFICE OF JUDICIAL RECORDS, and must be mailed (along with the legal filing, if applicable) to the Clerk's office, addressed as follows:

    Office of the Clerk of Family Court
    1501 Arch Street, 11th Floor
    Philadelphia PA 19102
    ATTENTION: FILING FEES (if payment is included)

    IMPORTANT: If, after Court review, the IFP petition is denied, payment of all applicable filing fees must be made via mail within twenty (20) days from notification by the Clerk’s office to the Petitioner that the IFP petition has been denied.

    IF THE FILING FEE IS BEING MAILED SEPARATE FROM THE LEGAL FILING, BE SURE TO INCLUDE THE DOCKET NUMBER IN THE MEMO PORTION OF THE MONEY ORDER.

  1. Custody and Local (Non Interstate) Support Cases: self-represented litigants seeking assistance to file complaints and petitions in child custody and/or non-interstate child support matters may contact the Family Court Intake Unit at 215-686-6311, extensions 19220 and 19221, between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday (except holidays).
    1. Intake Unit personnel will conduct an interview and obtain a valid phone number and mailing address for each petitioner.
    2. Intake Unit personnel will mail the appropriate pleading to the filing party with instructions on how to complete and return the same, in addition to how to pay the applicable filing fee. At petitioner’s request, a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis will be mailed along with the underlying pleading. (Note that domestic relations forms can also be accessed at www.courts.phila.gov/forms under the “Court of Common Pleas Family Court – Domestic Relations” heading.)
  2. Interstate Support Cases: Self-represented Philadelphia residents who require assistance with the preparation and filing of child support establishment/modification pleadings against parties who reside outside Philadelphia may contact the Intergovernmental Affairs Filing Unit to schedule an appointment by email at philainterstate@pacses.com or by phone at (215) 686-4004, option number 2.
  3. Forms and additional information (including a schedule of Family Court Filing Fees) are available on the First Judicial District website at https://www.courts.phila.gov/forms and under the “Forms” section of the this website.

Emergency Temporary Protection from Abuse Hearings and Orders: Emergency PFA relief will be available Monday through Thursday at the Stout Center for Criminal Justice beginning daily at 5:00 P.M. and until 8:00 A.M. the following day, and weekends from Friday at 5:00 P.M. to the following Monday at 8:00 A.M.

Temporary PFA Filings:

  1. Pre-prepared, verified PFA filings:
    1. IMPORTANT: Preparers of the petitions must provide a valid email address and telephone number for the Petitioner (and counsel, if applicable) to the Domestic Violence (DV) Unit to process the petitions.
    2. PFA Petitions and Proposed Temporary Orders properly completed pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6101, et seq, and Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 1901.3 and 1905, must be emailed to the following email address for referral to and consideration by the Court: TempPFA@courts.phila.gov.
  2. Petitioners who require assistance in preparation and filing (self-represented):
    1. IMPORTANT: Petitioners must be prepared to provide a valid email address and telephone number in order for the Domestic Violence (DV) Unit to prepare and process their petitions.
    2. Assistance to prepare and file Protection from Abuse petitions is available telephonically Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
    3. Self-represented petitioners are directed to call the following intake number for the Domestic Violence Unit: 215-686-6311, ext. 19217 during this time only.
    4. DV Unit personnel will conduct a brief intake interview and obtain a valid email address and telephone number for each Petitioner; each Petitioner must also provide other electronic (audio/visual) means by which they can be contacted in order to participate remotely at the hearing on their petition
    5. Thereafter, each Petitioner will receive a telephone call from the DV Unit for a more detailed interview. Based upon that interview, the DV Unit will then prepare a proposed PFA Petition and email a copy of said proposed petition to the Petitioner.
    6. Assuming Petitioner is in agreement as to the contents of the Petition, the Petition must then be signed electronically by the Petitioner (via a link embedded in the email from the DV Unit).
  3. Temporary PFA Hearings: Temporary PFA hearings will be conducted through advanced communication technology from 9:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday (except holidays). If a Temporary PFA Order is entered, the order will be available for pickup by petitioner (or counsel, if applicable) from 4:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, in the Family Court lobby. In addition, petitioners (and counsel, if applicable) shall receive a copy of their Temporary Order via First Class mail.
    1. Staff in the Domestic Violence Unit will be available telephonically from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, to assist in the preparation of a Petition for Protection from Abuse.
    2. b. In order to ensure there is adequate time to complete, execute, and file a verified petition and participate in a hearing via advanced communication technology on the same day, it is imperative that self-represented petitioners contact the DV Unit between 8:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. (noon) for all necessary steps to be completed.

Honorable Margaret T. Murphy
Administrative Judge, Family Division

1501 Arch Street - 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: (215) 686-9158

Honorable Walter J. Olszewski
Supervising Judge
1501 Arch street - 14thFloor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: (215) 686-4157

Mary Lou Baker
Deputy Court Administrator

Domestic Relations Division
1501 Arch Street - 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: (215) 686-8858

Roy C. Chambers, III
Director

1501 Arch Street- 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Joseph P. McGill, Esq.
Director
1501 Arch Street - 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: (215) 686-8858

Fred Keller
Director, Case Management

1501 Arch Street - 8th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: (215) 686-9162

Edward V. Lehmann, Jr.
Director, Data Management and Case Processing

1501 Arch Street - 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: (215) 686-4298

Franco Modaferri, Supervisor
Tactical Enforcement Unit
1501 Arch Street - 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-9312

(215) 686-4017 (Bank Account Seizure only)
Fax: (215) 686-7759
E-Mail: philatacticalenf@pacses.com (IRS, Driver License, Credit Bureau)
fidm@phillychildsupport.com (Bank Account Seizure ONLY)

The enforcement of support orders is accomplished by various methods under the law including the issuance of wage attachments, employer compliance, Tax Refund Offset Program (TROP) cases, preparation of support contempt petitions, credit bureau reporting, and judgments by operation of law.

Listed below are the actions available to the Tactical Enforcement Unit:

  • Tax Refund Offset Program (TROP)
  • State Refund Offset Program (STROP)
  • Credit Bureau Reporting
  • Driver's License Suspension
  • Professional License Suspension
  • Recreational License Suspension (Fishing and Hunting)
  • Passport Denial
  • Asset Seizure
  • Thrift Savings Plan (Seizure)
  • Lottery Intercept
  • Bankruptcy
  • Judgment and Liens

NOTE: Defendants responding to any of the Tactical Enforcement actions listed above should send a letter to:

Tactical Enforcement
1501 Arch Street - 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

*FOR GENERAL INFORMATION REGARDING TAX REFUND OFFSET PROGRAM (TROP), CLIENTS ARE DIRECTED TO CALL (215) 686-4024, 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK.

Click Here To download the package of forms to request an administrative review of the submission of your case to TROP. (Adobe PDF Format).

Keturah Williams, Supervisor
1501 Arch Steet - 9th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-8954

The Department of Human Services (formerly The Department of Public Welfare) refers cases in which the plaintiff is receiving public assistance benefits to Family Court. These cases are referred electronically through the statewide child support computer system, PACSES. The automation of these referrals, which were previously accomplished by a "643" paper form and required appearance by the plaintiff, relieves the congestion at the courthouse. The TANF Filing Unit is charged with reviewing and processing these referrals and filing Complaints for Support.

All matters that were given a date certain by notice issued prior to March 16, 2020 for any date from March 17, 2020 through December 31, 2020, are hereby administratively canceled and will be rescheduled. Parties will receive notification of their rescheduled hearing date(s).

Conference Officers under Pa. R.C.P. 1910.12, et seq., conduct pre-trial conferences in support and paternity cases. Until further notice, all establishment and enforcement conferences will be conducted telephonically. Parties and counsel will receive advance notice via US Mail of the date and time of their telephone conference. Several days before their scheduled conference parties will receive a phone call from Family Court staff to confirm their appointment and conduct a brief pre-conference interview to update their demographic information. Parties may submit conference documents to PhilaSupEstab@pacses.com or fax them to 215-686-9188.

If no agreement for support is reached at the conference, the Conference Officer enters an interim support Order based on the Support Guidelines as allowed by Pa. R.C.P. 1910-12 (b)(1), (2).

Child and Spousal support cases have three components: 1) establishment of paternity; 2) determination of the support obligation; and 3) enforcement

Paternity: For children born out of wedlock, establishment of paternity is the first step toward determining the child support obligation. Paternity can be established in one of four ways: 1) voluntary acknowledgement of paternity; 2) genetic testing; 3) default paternity establishment; and 4) in-hospital voluntary paternity establishment.

Obligation: In determining support obligations the amount of support - child support, spousal support, or alimony pendente lite (suspended by the lawsuit or in effect until the outcome of the case is determined) - is awarded pursuant to procedures under the Rules of Civil Procedure and determined in accordance with support guidelines.

Enforcement: Support orders are monitored through the Pennsylvania Automated Child Support Enforcement System (PACSES) for payments. Efforts are taken to encourage compliance as soon as the order is entered. If necessary, progressive enforcement remedies are taken. When accounts become delinquent, payors may be scheduled for Enforcement Conferences, Contempt Conferences, or Judicial Contempt Hearings, depending on the circumstances or the severity of the delinquency. The underlying objective of the enforcement process is to compel payment, and encourage ongoing compliance.

NOTE: Pursuant to Administrative Regulation 94-2 and Federal Mandate, as contained in the Child Support Amendments of 1984, all Orders for income attachment in child or spousal support cases may be administratively increased by 35% of the current support order as payment toward arrears.

Click here for Administrative Regulation #02-02, setting forth the continuance policy of the Domestic Relations Division.

CORRESPONDENCE to the Order Establishment and Enforcement Unit should be addressed to:

Philadelphia Family Court
Order Establishment and Enforcement
1501 Arch Street – 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-9330, 9331
Fax: (215) 686-9198

Supervisors: All OEE staff is located on the 12th Floor 1501 Arch St. Phila. PA 19102

Atiba Askew, Supervisor
Telephone: (215) 686-7268
Jennifer Muller, Supervisor
Telephone: (215) 686-9323
Stephen Baker, Supervisor
Telephone: (215) 686-8384
Tabitha Dorchery, Supervisor
Telephone: (215) 686-9391
Michelle Montano, Supervisor
Telephone: (215) 686-7742
Andrea Rosengarten, Supervisor
Telephone: (215) 686-9351
Kathleen Visco, Supervisor
Telephone; (215) 686-7270
Teresa Wines, Supervisor
Telephone: (215) 686-3825
Marc Fumo, Supervisor
Telephone: (215) 686-9345

On site genetic tests are not being conducted at this time. Clients previously scheduled for genetic testing will receive information in the mail on how genetic tests will be conducted moving forward.

Michael Pandolfi, Esq., Supervisor
1501 Arch Street - 13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-8865
Fax: (215) 686-8868

Terri Lynn Sicura, Clerical Supervisor
1501 Arch Street - 13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-8865
Fax: (215) 686-8868

All matters that were given a date certain by notice issued prior to March 16, 2020 for any date from March 17, 2020 through December 31, 2020, are hereby administratively canceled and will be rescheduled. Parties will receive notification of their rescheduled hearing date(s).

If a support complaint or petition is not resolved at the pre-trial conference, either or both parties may request that it be listed for a hearing before a Support Master. Under certain circumstances a case can also be "remanded" to the Master by a judge after a court hearing on exceptions (see below). Until further notice, all Support Master Hearings will be conducted using advanced communication technology. Upon scheduling, parties and counsel will receive specific instructions on how to virtually participate in their hearing.

All Support Masters are licensed attorneys who conduct record hearings (by audio-recording) at which the parties are sworn in and present to the Master evidence, testimony and documentation to support their positions regarding the support order. At the conclusion of the hearing the Master prepares a "proposed order," which is the Master's recommendation to the court as to what the final order should be.

Issuance of the proposed order starts a twenty day period during which either or both sides may file "exceptions" to the proposed order. Exceptions is a document in which a party specifies the mistakes of law, fact or procedure that the party believes were made by the Master in the report and proposed order and/or during the hearing.

Ordering Notes of Testimony

Please note that an outside vendor prepares the Notes of Testimony from Custody and Support Master hearings conducted in Family Court. The following form MUST be used to order Notes of Testimony from those proceedings.

DURATION OF HEARINGS: NORMAL, SEMI-PROTRACTED, AND PROTRACTED LISTINGS

Depending upon the facts of the case a Support Master hearing may be scheduled for a "normal" listing of forty-five (45) minutes or a "semi-protracted" listing of ninety (90) minutes.

Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P.1910.12 (c)(1), a "protracted" listing longer than ninety minutes may be requested by filing an appropriate motion with the Clerk of the Family Court, 1133 Chestnut Street, First Floor.

PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW TO REQUEST A CONTINUANCE OF A SUPPORT MASTER HEARING

Family Court Administrative Regulation #02-02 sets forth the continuance policy of the Domestic Relations Division and the procedures to request any changes in the time or date of a Support Master hearing.

Paul W. Bennett, Coordinator
1501 Arch Street - 12.39
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-8374
Fax: (215) 686-9145

Dawn Wilkerson, Supervisor
1501 Arch Street, 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone 215 686-4241
Fax 215 686-9145

The Networking for Jobs and Ex-offender Reentry Program promotes responsible parenthood and improves work opportunities for unemployed noncustodial parents who are required to pay child support by helping them find and keep full time employment. The Networking for Jobs and Ex-offender Reentry Program connects unemployed noncustodial parents with private and public job training and placement agencies. These agencies' assistance includes career counselling, job readiness classes, peer support, job placement, on-going contact with career counselors, and additional training.

Employable noncustodial parents are referred to the Networking for Jobs and Ex-offender Reentry Program by the Judiciary, Support Masters, Trial Commissioners, and Conference Officers after support order establishment, modification, or enforcement proceedings where they assert unemployment as a defense. All unemployed noncustodial parents who are referred to the Networking for Jobs and Ex-offender Reentry Program are initially screened and interviewed by the program manager, Paul W. Bennett who is also responsible for outreach to potential job providers. After the screening and interviewing process; Mr. Bennett determines if unemployed noncustodial parents are employable and identifies any potential barriers to employment. A significant portion of Philadelphia's noncustodial parents are indigent, transient, lack education and training, or have summary, misdemeanor and felony criminal histories that have been barriers to employment.

If eligible to participate in a job program, Mr. Bennett determines which job program is best suited to meet the individual needs of the unemployed noncustodial parents and makes the referrals to the selected job training and placement programs. The basic noncustodial parent program eligibility requirements are:

  • Must have a Philadelphia child support case
  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must not be an active high school student
  • Must be a Philadelphia resident
  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must be physically and mentally employable
  • Must be drug free
  • Must have no sexual abuse or arson criminal history

Periodic employment reviews are conducted or scheduled during the pendency of the program to monitor the participation and cooperation of noncustodial parents. The underlying support order establishment, modification, or enforcement proceedings resume after completion of the program.

1501 Arch Street - 15th Floor
Sari Love, Accounting Manager
Telephone: (215) 686-9179
Fax: (215) 686-8950

Access to information regarding payments should be directed to (215) 686-4766 or www.childsupport.state.pa.us

Joseph Steward, Esq., Supervisor
1501 Arch Street - 13th Floor
Philadelphia, Pa 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-9208
Fax: (215) 686-9286

Lisa Dacri, Clerical Supervisor
1501 Arch Street - 13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-9208
Fax: (215) 686-9286

All matters that were given a date certain by notice issued prior to March 16, 2020 for any date from March 17, 2020 through December 31, 2020, are hereby administratively canceled and will be rescheduled. Parties will receive notification of their rescheduled hearing date(s).

All petitions seeking to establish a custody order or to modify an existing order are referred to the Master's Unit by the Clerk of Family Court and the Intake Unit. Until further notice, all Custody Master Hearings will be conducted using advanced communication technology. Upon scheduling, parties and counsel will receive specific instructions on how to virtually participate in their hearing. Where no final agreement is reached at the conference, the matter will be listed for a full hearing before a Domestic Relations Judge in all matters filed to establish primary custody. Partial custody cases will be scheduled for a record hearing before a Custody Master

Ordering Notes of Testimony

Please note that an outside vendor prepares the Notes of Testimony from Custody and Support Master hearings conducted in Family Court. The following form MUST be used to order Notes of Testimony from those proceedings.

Home Investigations:

Custody Probation Officers conduct Home Investigations (ordered by the Court) upon the Court's own motion or motion of parties or counsel. There is a $200.00 fee for each Home Investigation, unless waived by the Court through the In Forma Pauperis process. (Fees are waived for clients verified to be receiving public assistance). Home Investigations are not conducted until the fee is paid or waived.

Shawn McCormac
1501 Arch Street - 13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-9287 or 9288
Fax: (215) 686-9286

James Tobin
1501 Arch Street - 13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-9287 or 9288
Fax: (215) 686-9286

Mental Health Assessments:
Mental Health Assessments (MHA's) in custody cases for one or both parties and for the children may be ordered by the Court upon the Court's own motion or upon motion of the parties or counsel.

Mental health assessments are conducted by Family Court Psychologists at 1501 Arch Street, 13th Floor. For scheduling or further information, contact (215) 686-9208. There is a $200.00 per person fee for all Mental Health Assessments, unless waived by the Court via the In Forma Pauperis process. (There is no fee for the evaluation of children). Mental health assessments will not be conducted unless the fee is paid or waived by the Court.

NOTE: All fees for Home Investigations and Mental Health Assessments are to be paid by certified check or money order, drawn to the order of the "Prothonotary," and are to be paid with the Cashier, located on the 11th Floor at 1501 Arch Street. Personal checks are NOT accepted; attorney checks are accepted.

Custody Stipulations
Until further notice, Custody stipulations may be filed (original and 5 copies, plus however many copies you want/need returned) as follows:

  1. Mail – Office of the Clerk of Family Court, 11th Floor, 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
  2. Email – DRClerkRoutine@courts.phila.gov.

A Praecipe to Transmit Custody Stipulation form referencing the Domestic Relations Number must accompany the stipulation, along with a completed Domestic Relations Information Sheet, and pre-addressed, stamped envelopes for each party and attorney of record..

Each page of the stipulation must be numbered consecutively (e.g., 1 of 3) and each party must date the stipulation when he/she signs it.

The accompanying Order must refer to the date(s) when the stipulation was signed.

Click Here for Administrative Regulation 97-2: setting forth procedures for Custody.

APPROVED PARENTING COORDINATORS FOR PHILADELPHIA COUNTY

Name
Elizabeth C. Early, Esquire
Address
40 East Airy Street
Norristown, PA 19401
Phone
610-275-0700
Hourly Rate
$220
Name
Lise Fisher, Esquire
Address
466 Germatown Pike Suite 100
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444
Phone
484-243-6338
Hourly Rate
$300
Name
Emily Vener Giszter, Esquire
Address
24 Veterans Square
Media, PA 19063
Phone
484-234-2033
Hourly Rate
$125-$250(sliding scale)
Name
Heather Goldner Kinsey, JD, MFT
Address
928 Jaymor Road, Suite A-180
Southampton, PA 18966
Phone
267-241-9890
Hourly Rate
$250
Name
Lisa Shapson, Esquire
Address
1528 Walnut Street, Suite 1100
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone
215-790-8800
Hourly Rate
$300
Name
Caroyln Moran Zack, Esquire
Address
2005 Market St. Suite 3510
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone
267-546-3712
Hourly Rate
$300

DIVORCE

When a case is certified to the Permanent Divorce Master for disposition, the case is randomly assigned to an individual Divorce Master on a rotating basis. Once assigned to an individual Master, the same Master normally continues to handle the case until disposition.

Continuance Requests

Click here for Administrative Regulation #02-02, setting forth the continuance policy in the Domestic Relations Division.

Shawn Hagerty, Manager
1501 Arch Street - Suite 2.65
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-2978
TIP LINE: 215-686-2978
Fax: (215) 686-7580

Philadelphia Field Operations consists of the Bench Warrant Unit, Parent Locator Services Unit, and the Writ Service Unit.

Bench Warrant Unit

Antoinette Herring, Supervisor
1501 Arch Street - Suite 2.65A
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-2978
Fax: (215) 686-7580
TIP LINE: 215-686-2977

All inquires about outstanding bench warrants should be directed to 215-686-2977.

Parent Locator Services Unit

Arthur Shipley, Supervisor
1501 Arch Street, suite 15.42
Philadelphia, PA 19102 Telephone number 215-686-4075

The Philadelphia Domestic Relations Branch is required to obtain information concerning the physical whereabouts of the noncustodial parent, or the noncustodial parent's employer(s), other sources of income or assets, as appropriate, which is sufficient and necessary to take the next appropriate action in a child support case. The location of absent parents is vital to the service of original process which is required before the court can move to dispose child support pleadings.

Investigators assigned to the Parent Locator Services Unit are responsible for conducting uniform table top investigations concerning the whereabouts, income, income sources, and assets of noncustodial parents.

Writ Service Unit

Cheryl Zimbarladi, Clerical Supervisor
1501 Arch Street, suite 15.43
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone number 215-686-7480
Fax number 215-686-9181

Service refers to the giving of notice to a party of the contents of documents filed in any case. Service is usually accomplished as provided by rules which may allow service by mail, by personal delivery of a copy of the document to that party or counsel of record.

Writ Servers are required to make personal service of legal notices, subpoenas, and other legal documents upon individuals ordered to attend Philadelphia Family Court proceedings. Writ Servers establish and maintain effective working relationships with members of the communities that they serve. Writ Servers attempt personal service on the individual to be served seven days per week by conducting table top and field investigations which include visiting the homes or places of employment.

William Schenk, Esq., Clerk of Court

Jacqueline Mansfield, Supervisor
1501 Arch Street - 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-3805
Fax: (215) 686-9308

Joseph Kaminski, Supervisor
1501 Arch Street - 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-3805
Fax: (215) 686-9308

All complaints or petitions for support, custody, divorce, or other petitions or motions under the jurisdiction of the Domestic Relations Division of Family Court, including petitions to modify, petitions for contempt, emergency petitions, interstate support petitions, all stipulations, and exceptions to Masters' Proposed Orders, are to be filed and docketed with the docketing clerks located in the Clerk of the Family Court.

Custody Emergency

Emergency Custody Petitions may be filed as follows:

  1. An Emergency Custody Petition, setting forth all relevant information, shall be completed by Petitioner and verified. One of the following shall also be submitted with the Emergency Petition:
    1. A Complaint for Custody, if a Custody Complaint has not been filed; or
    2. A Petition to Modify Custody, if a custody order has been issued and the Emergency Petition seeks to modify the custody order; or
    3. A Petition for Contempt of Custody if the Emergency Petition alleges that the current custody has not been complied with;
  2. Every Emergency Custody Petition must be accompanied by the following:
    1. A fully completed Domestic Relations Information Sheet; and b. A Criminal Record/Abuse History Verification
  3. The Emergency Petition must be forwarded to Family Court by email to the following email address: custodyemergency@courts.phila.gov
  4. The Petitioner must provide a telephone number at which they can be reached by court staff.
  5. The Emergency Custody Petition and attachments are available at: https://www.courts.phila.gov/pdf/forms/domestic-relations/Petition-for-Emergency-Relief-andAttachments-Custody-COVID-19.pdf
  6. The Emergency Custody Petition will be reviewed by the designated Judge.
  7. Custody emergencies warranting immediate Court intervention will be narrowly construed during this period.
  8. After review, the Petitioner will be notified by reply email and/or telephone whether the Petition is appropriate for filing in accordance with the General Statewide Judicial Emergency Orders.
  9. If acceptable for filing, the Petitioner will be provided with instructions regarding filing and service.

Other Emergency Filings

Emergency filings OTHER THAN CUSTODY EMERGENCY OR PROTECTION FROM ABUSE may be emailed to the following email address: DRClerkEmergency@courts.phila.gov.

Non-Emergency Filings

  1. How To File: In addition to the ability to electronically file Complaints for Support and Petitions to Modify Support through PACSES, non-emergency filings other than Interstate child support matters may be filed via mail or email:
    1. Self-represented parties may directly file complaints for support and petitions to modify support online at the following PACSES address: www.childsupport.state.pa.us.
    2. Mail – non-emergency filings may be made by mail to the Office of the Clerk of Family Court, 11th Floor, 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
    3. Email – non-emergency filings may be emailed to the following email address: DRClerkRoutine@courts.phila.gov
  2. Filing Fees: Payment of all applicable filing fees, or in the alternative a fully completed Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”), must be received by the Office of the Clerk of Family Court simultaneously with a mailed filing, or within three (3) business days from an emailed filing. All filing fees must be in the form of a money order or attorney’s check (no personal checks), MADE PAYABLE TO THE OFFICE OF JUDICIAL RECORDS, and must be mailed (along with the legal filing, if applicable) to the Clerk's office, addressed as follows:

    Office of the Clerk of Family Court
    1501 Arch Street, 11th Floor
    Philadelphia PA 19102
    ATTENTION: FILING FEES (if payment is included)

    IMPORTANT: If, after Court review, the IFP petition is denied, payment of all applicable filing fees must be made via mail within twenty (20) days from notification by the Clerk’s office to the Petitioner that the IFP petition has been denied.

    IF THE FILING FEE IS BEING MAILED SEPARATE FROM THE LEGAL FILING, BE SURE TO INCLUDE THE DOCKET NUMBER IN THE MEMO PORTION OF THE MONEY ORDER.

The docketing clerks also accept certified copies of foreign divorce and custody orders for registration in Philadelphia County.

A Claim for custody in a divorce action will be docketed and assigned a Domestic Relations (DR) Case ID number, in addition to a case ID number for the Divorce action.

It is essential that all inquiries to the Clerk of Family Court include clear identification of case names and the Domestic Relations docket numbers.

An original, plus three copies, of all filings AND a pre-addressed, stamped envelope for each opposing counsel and/or unrepresented party, must be included at the time of filing.

Pursuant to Administrative Regulation 93-4, all original filings, including divorce complaints and stipulations, must include the Domestic Relations Information Sheet, with all requested information completed. Case demographics must be provided to enable staff to establish case data on the Domestic Relations automated system.

Pursuant to Administrative Regulation 93-5, all custody stipulations must be filed with the Clerk of the Family Court and must include a Praecipe to Transmit the Custody Stipulation.

Pursuant to Administrative Regulation 92-4, all attorneys must file their entries and withdrawals of appearance on all support or custody cases, including custody cases raised through counts in Divorce, with the docketing clerks.

Only attorneys who have entered their appearances on behalf of a party, or the party to a support, divorce, or custody action, will be permitted to review a record. Clients must have an I. D. (Photo I.D., if possible).

Record reviews may be arranged by contacting (215) 686-3805.

A coin-operated copy machine is available to make copies at the cost of $.25 per page.

NOTE: Confidential reports, such as psychological studies, will not be available for copy without the approval of the Administrative Judge.

Individuals, other than parties and counsel of record, seeking to review Family Court records must submit a Request for Access to Case Records, which is available under the "Public Access Policy" tab on the court's homepage.

A certified copy of a Divorce, Support, or Custody Order may be obtained at the Clerk of the Family Court. The fee for a certified copy of an order is $41.58, payable by credit card, debit card, certified check, or money order, drawn to the order of the Office of Judicial Records (OJR). Personal checks are NOT accepted.

Effective July 1, 1996, all Motions filed in Family Court, Domestic Relations Division, must attach a completed Motion Cover Sheet. This shall apply to Divorce and Domestic Relations Motions. The Clerk of the Family Court will reject for filing any Motion that fails to comply with this notice.

PROTHONOTARY
Clerk of the Family Court

Family Court's Prothonotary functions are performed by the Clerk of the Family Court staff as deputized Prothonotaries, 1501 Arch Street, for purpose of receiving all initial filings in Divorce, Support, and Custody, as well as the receipt of all fees relating thereto. THE FOLLOWING FEE SCHEDULE BECAME EFFECTIVE December 2017:

Certified checks or money orders, made payable to the Office of Judicial Records (OJR), are acceptable, as are attorney checks. Personal checks are NOT accepted.

Click Here for the Prothonotary Fees (Adobe PDF Format).

Intergovernmental Affairs is the single point of contact and gateway for all intrastate, intergovernmental, and international child support case processing matters, as well as, communication with clients, government agencies, Domestic Relations Sections, Central Registries, State and Regional Child Support Enforcement Agencies.

Intergovernmental Affairs functions are organized into three basic areas: filing; case processing; and customer service.

Intergovernmental Affairs Filing Unit

Christopher Grasso, Supervisor
1501 Arch Street, 12th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Until further notice all Philadelphia Domestic Relations Intergovernmental Affairs Filing Unit intake appointments shall be conducted by telephone.

Before any action can be taken to establish or modify an intrastate, intergovernmental, or international child support order, a Uniform Support Petition which clearly and concisely states the specific relief sought with the requisite accompanying documents must be properly prepared and filed in the county, state, or foreign country with jurisdiction to dispose the Uniform Support Petition.

Self-represented Philadelphia residents who require assistance with the preparation and filing of child support establishment/modification pleadings against parties who reside outside Philadelphia and are not subject to personal or “Long Arm” jurisdiction by Philadelphia may contact the Intergovernmental Affairs Filing Unit to schedule an appointment by email at: philainterstate@pacses.com by fax to: 215-686-9377 or via regular mail addressed to the Intergovernmental Unit, 1501 Arch Street, 9th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

Petitioners will need to provide documentation of ALL of the following that apply:

  1. A valid telephone number with area code where they will be available on the date and time of the appointment;
  2. The petitioner's residential address, Social Security number and income verification (pay stubs, tax return with W-2) or public assistance benefits;
  3. The name, sex, residential address, social security number and birth certificate of each child for whose benefit support is sought or whose parentage is to be determined;
  4. Documentation of child care expenses, school tuition, and extracurricular expenses;
  5. Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, Certified copy of Divorce agreement;
  6. A copy of an existing child support order (if applicable); and,The name, residential address, Social Security number, and employment information of the respondent;
  7. A valid email address.

The Intergovernmental Affairs Filing Unit will:

  1. Schedule an appointment and notify the petitioner of the appointment date and time upon receipt of the requested documentation.
  2. Appointments are available between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays);
  3. Call the petitioner on the date and time of the appointment at the telephone number provided when the support establishment/modification pleading and accompanying documents (e.g., declaration of paternity, general testimony, transmittal, etc.) will be remotely prepared and signed electronically by petitioners; and,
  4. The Intergovernmental Affairs Filing Unit will forward completed support establishment/modification pleadings and accompanying documents to the appropriate county, state, or country tribunal for docketing and disposition.

Intergovernmental Affairs Pretrial I, II, and III

Until further notice, all Philadelphia Domestic Relations Intergovernmental Affairs paternity, establishment, modification, and enforcement conferences shall be conducted by telephone.

The Order to Appear shall instruct the litigants to provide the following documents by email, facsimile, or regular mail:

  1. A true copy of your most recent Federal Income Tax Return, including W-2s, as filed;
  2. Your pay stubs for the preceding six (6) months;
  3. The Income Statement and the appropriate Expense Statement, if required, attached to this order, completed as required by Rule 1910.11 (c
  4. Net income from business or dealings in property;
  5. All business tax returns with all schedules and attachments, if applicable;
  6. Verification of childcare expenses;
  7. Proof of medical coverage which you may have, or may have available to you;
  8. If a physician has determined that a medical condition affects your ability to earn income you must obtain a Physician Verification Form from the domestic relations section, sign it, have it completed by your doctor, and bring it with you to the conference. If you intend to offer the Physician Verification Form as evidence at any record proceeding, you must comply with the timeframes established by PA Rule of Civil Procedure 1910.29(b)(2);
  9. Information relating to professional licenses

The above required documents must be received by the Hearing Officer whose name is set forth on the conference notice within twenty (20) days of the conference date. The above required documents can be forwarded by email at: philainterstate@pacses.com or facsimile at: 215-686-9377 or regular mail at: 1501 Arch Street, 9th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102 with the case member’s name and the PACSES case number listed on the Order to Appear. The Hearing Officer will place the call on the date and time of the conference. If there is no answer another call will be made. The underlying pleading may be disposed under applicable law if the case members cannot be reached.

The Intergovernmental Affairs Pre Trial Units are supervised by:

Elizabeth Dougherty, Supervisor
Intergovernmental Affairs Pre Trial I Unit

Matthew Carrafiello, Supervisor
Intergovernmental Affairs Pre Trial II Unit

Nicole Kelly, Supervisor
Intergovernmental Affairs Pre Trial III Unit

Intergovernmental Affairs Customer Service Unit

Marie Rich, Supervisor
1501 Arch Street, 9th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19102

The Intergovernmental Affairs Customer Service Unit is staffed by Legal Clerks who are responsible for performing all forms of specialized front line customer service such as receiving and greeting clients and their attorneys and responding to: unsolicited telephone calls; hard copy mail; electronic mail; faxes; and CSENet inquiries. Legal Clerks are required to exercise initiative and broad discretion concerning the determination of a course of action when addressing routine, general, or case specific concerns conveyed by clients, attorneys, child support enforcement workers, and Central Registries. Legal Clerks provide case status, update case members' personal information, retrieve and forward copies of orders, and prepare payment histories.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Mailing address: Intergovernmental Affairs
1501 Arch Street, 9th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Email: philainterstate@pacses.com
Telephone: 215-686-4004, option 2
Fax: 215-686-9377

All matters that were given a date certain by notice issued prior to March 16, 2020 for any date from March 17, 2020 through December 31, 2020, are hereby administratively canceled and will be rescheduled. Parties will receive notification of their rescheduled hearing date(s). This does not apply to cases designated as protracted, which remain as scheduled.

Until further notice, Family Court hearings and court proceedings shall generally be conducted through the use of advanced communications technologies as defined in the General Statewide Judicial Emergency Orders issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on April 28, 2020 (Nos. 531 and 532 Judicial Administration Docket).

Please note that these rescheduled proceedings will be conducted through the use of advanced communication technology, including audio and video conferencing. As such, it is imperative that litigants provide the court with their most up to date contact information, specifically email addresses and phone numbers. Litigants may send their updated information to PhilaCSC@pacses.com. Please include DR or PACSES case number on all correspondence. Upon receipt, DR staff will update member information accordingly.

Parties and counsel will continue to receive an order to appear for all hearings and court proceedings. Additionally, several days before the scheduled hearing, parties and counsel will receive an email providing the specific details and meeting links to participate in the virtual hearing.

Family Court reserves the right to require parties and/or counsel and necessary witnesses to participate in person at proceedings held in the Philadelphia Family Courthouse, if necessary.

Joseph P. McGill, Esq. - Director
1501 Arch Street - 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215)686-7085
Fax: (215) 686-8858

The Domestic Relations Division supports and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. All requests for accommodations are to be forwarded to the above named individual and should include the appropriate documentation when necessary. Every effort will be made to comply with requests for reasonable accommodations. All requests should be forward to Joseph P. McGill, Esq. at the address above as soon as possible in order to facilitate compliance.

Caroline Belger
1501 Arch Street - 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone: (215) 686-8355
Fax: (215) 686-8858

Requests for hearing impaired and foreign language interpreters, other than for the Spanish language, should be sent to DR Administration c/o Angela Merriweather's attention at the address listed above. All requests must be made at least two weeks prior to the scheduled event to allow sufficient time to secure the services of a translator.

Requests for interpreters for the Spanish language should be directed to Family Court's Spanish Language Interpreter's Office at the address listed below:

1501 Arch Street - 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Telephone (215) 686-3513
Fax: (215) 686-7931

DOMESTIC RELATIONS JUDGES

Honorable Margaret T. Murphy
Administrative Judge

Family Court Division
1501 Arch Street - 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-9158

Honorable Walter J. Olszewski
Supervising Judge

1501 Arch Street - 14th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-4157

Honorable Ida K. Chen
1501 Arch Street -Suite 1558
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-4225
Honorable Deborah Cianfrani
1501 Arch Street- Suite 1547
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax 215-686-7560
Honorable Michael Fanning
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1545
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-7827
Honorable Ourania Papademetriou
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1427
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-9172
Honorable Holly J. Ford
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1560
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-9545
Honorable Mark B. Cohen
1501 Arch Street -Suite 1545
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-7824
Honorable Elizabeth Jackson
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1559
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-9298
Honorable Viktoria Kristiansson
1501 Arch Street-Suite 1546
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax 215-686-7822
Honorable Joel S. Johnson
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1418
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-9160
Honorable Diane Thompson
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1430
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-7825
Honorable Christopher Mallios
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1417
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-8327
Honorable Tiffany Palmer
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1428
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-7823
Honorable Daniel Sulman
1501 Arch Street - Suite 1417
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax: 215-686-4010
 

ADMINISTRATION 215-686-8858
BENCH WARRANT UNIT 215-(215) 686-7580
CLERK OF COURT 215-686-9308
COURT SUPPORT UNIT 215-686-9161
CUSTODY AND DIVORCE MASTERS UNIT 215-686-9286
CUSTOMER SRVICE AND CALL CENTER 215-686-9191
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT 215-686-7931
ESTABLISHMENT/ENFORCEMENT UNIT 215-686-9198
FINANCIAL SERVICES 215-686-8953
GENETIC TESTING UNIT 215-686-9161
INTAKE UNIT 215-686-9308
INTERGOVERNMENTAL UNIT 215-686-9377
PARENT LOCATOR SERVICE 215-686-9181
SUPPORT MASTERS UNIT 215-686-8868
TACTICAL ENFORCEMENT UNIT 215-686-7758
WAGE ATTACHMENT UNIT 215-686-7289

COVID-19

For general Court information, contact (215) 686-7000.

Contact

Business Hours

  • Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm