Answer: Probation is an alternative to incarceration in which the offender is permitted to serve the entire sentence in the community, under the supervision of the Adult Probation / Parole Department (APPD).
Answer: Parole is an alternative to continued incarceration in which the offender is permitted to serve the remainder of the sentence in the community under APPD supervision.
Answer: 714 Market Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
Answer: Call Probation Information at 215-683-1000 (Give your name and date of birth)
Answer: Obligations imposed by the sentencing Judge which offenders must satisfy in order to complete their sentences
Answer: Economic Sanctions are monetary obligations determined and ordered by the sentencing Judge.
They can include:
Always make a payment. Payments show you are responsible and accountable even in small amounts.
Economic Sanction payments can be made in person at:Adult Probation/Parole Department
-OR-Criminal Justice Center
Answer: When you fail to comply with, or complete the obligations of Probation/Parole.
Answer: If you are convicted for a crime committed while on Probation/Parole.
Answer: A legal document allowing APPD to arrest and hold you in custody pending a violation hearing before the sentencing Judge.
Q. Can I pay bail online?
A: ePay Bail ( https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/bail/Default.aspx ) can only be used when posting bail on Municipal Court Cases (Case Docket Number must begin with MC-51-CR) and there are no other court imposed restrictions. All major credit cards and debit cards are acceptable methods of payment. Payments are accepted 24 hours a day.
Q. What do I do after I complete online payment of bail?
A. After the completion of the ePay bail process, you MUST contact the Bail Acceptance Unit and advise the Bail Clerk that a bail has been posted. The office operates 24 hours and the phone numbers are (215) 683-7726/7727. If bail was posted for a defendant incarcerated at CFCF, the defendant may be picked up at the prison facility located at 7901 State Road, Philadelphia PA 19136. Please call the Records Room at CFCF Prison (215) 685-8434 to inquire into the estimated timeframe of processing paperwork and release.
Q. What if I want to be the Surety of bail paid online?
A. If you paid bail online and wish for the funds to be returned to you, you need to change the status from "Payer" to "Surety". To complete this activity you will have to appear in person at the basement of JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE located at 1301 Filbert Street, Philadelphia PA 19107. You will need to bring a valid government-issued identification card and a copy of the ePay bail receipt.
Please be advised that the "Surety" is liable for the FULL AMOUNT of the bail if the defendant fails to appear for court and the bail is forfeited.
Q. Where is bail posted?
A: Cash bail can be posted 24 hours, seven days a week, including holidays, at the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street, Basement Level in the Payment Center. The phone numbers for any inquiries are (215) 683-7726/7727.
Members of the public can also post bail online 24 hours a day via UJS portal at
Q. What are the acceptable methods of payment for Bail?
A. Bail Acceptance accepts the following methods of payment:
Cash bail can be posted in the name of the defendant or a third party surety.
2. Credit/Debit cards
All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted - except American Express. Credit card users must become the surety and the person posting the bail must have photo ID to match the name on the credit card.
3. Certified bank checks
Certified bank checks are accepted only from 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The check must be made payable to the Office of Judicial Records.
4. Real Estate
Bail can also be posted by using real estate. An assessment of the property value, in conjunction with any liens and other judgments will determine if the property has enough equity to use as collateral. All real estate bail must cover 100% of the bail amount.
Q. Will my loved one be released after payment of Bail?
A. Payment of bail does not guarantee the release of a person. There may be outstanding warrants and/or detainers for other jurisdictions. If the defendant is incarcerated at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF), please call the CFCF Records Room to inquire into other holds/detainers and whether the defendant can be released upon bail payment. The Records Room at CFCF Prison operates 24 hours and the contact number is (215) 685-8434.
Q. What if I made the payment, but do not wish to be the Surety of bail?
A. By posting payment through ePay Bail, the system recognizes you only as a "Payer" for the defendant. You relinquish any right to make a claim for the return of the money under PA Rules of Criminal Procedure. You will not be held accountable for the defendant's actions in complying with the conditions of release. The defendant will be deemed the depositor of the money, and any money will be returned to the defendant, not to you.
Q. Will I receive back the full bail payment?
A. In all cases where cash bail is posted, the Office of Judicial Records shall retain 30% of the deposited amount, but in no case less than $10.00, or more than $1,500.00 as administrative cost. 20 days after the full and final disposition of the case (after time to appeal the case is over), the amount deposited, minus the retained amount, will be released to the defendant, or the surety, who has made the deposit.
Q. When and where is bail refund obtained?
A: As per State Rule 534, unless bail is revoked, a bail bond is valid until the full and final disposition of the case, including all avenues of appeal to the Supreme Court of PA. Refunds are mailed within 20 days after the full and final disposition of the case, which includes the expiration of the appeal period (30 days from sentencing date). Refund checks are printed and mailed to the surety at the last known address. Questions pertaining to bail refunds can be answered in the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE, 1301 Filbert Street, Payment Center, Room B-02, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. through 5:00p.m., or via phone at 215-683-7723/4.
Q. Can I request a bail refund without a receipt?
A: Yes. Visit the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street, Payment Center, Basement, Window #1, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. You will need the case number and the original form of identification used when bail was posted. We will process the request and forward it to the correct Office. Please be advised that all payments are mailed out and no payment is provided in person.
Q. What is a Bail Piece?
A. A certificate granted by a judge that allows the original Surety of a particular bail to have their name removed as the responsible party for future activities.
Q. How can I obtain a Bail Piece?
A. A surety can obtain a Bail Piece by filing a motion for "Bail Piece" at the Criminal Motions Counter, 2nd floor of the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE. The fee is $12.50. A hearing will be scheduled, at which, the surety must present the defendant for the issuance of the Bail Piece.
Note: The best way to successfully obtain a "Bail Piece" is when the defendant is in county custody for a bench warrant or involvement in another case.
Q. Can bail money be refunded while a case is on appeal?
A: When a case is on appeal to the Superior or Supreme Court, the surety may obtain a bail refund ONLY if the sentencing judge orders that the bail be refunded. If the judge continues the defendant's bail - pending the appeal decision - the bail money cannot be refunded.
Q. What is considered full and final disposition for refund purpose?
A. Full and final disposition means 30 days from the sentencing date - allowing for the expiration of the appeal time frame.
Q. What is a Bench Warrant?
A: A bench warrant is issued by a judge authorizing the arrest of a person who failed to appear for a court date or is in violation of contempt charges.
Q. Where does a defendant go to surrender for a bench warrant?
A: The surrender room is located at Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, Room 403. The person should surrender between the hours of 7:30AM and 10:00AM. After surrender, the defendant will be given a court hearing on the same day of surrender.
Q. Where do I pay court fines, costs and restitution?
A: Payments in person may be made at:
1. The Payment Center (windows 2 and 3), JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE, 1301 Filbert Street, Basement, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Phone number is 215-683-7721.
2. The Payment Center at 714 Market Street, 1st Floor, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
3. The Payment Center (windows 4 and 5), JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE, 1301 Filbert Street, Basement, during non-business hours. Phone number is 215-683-7726/7727.
Only exact cash payments are accepted.
Q. Can I make payments online?
A: Yes. The Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System allows the public to securely make payments on cases and payment plans with outstanding balances in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Common Pleas and Magisterial District courts. Payments are accepted using Visa, MasterCard and Discover, as well as by ATM/Debit cards. Log onto https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/ePay/Default.aspx.
Q. Where can I get a copy of my fines and cost balance?
A: Fines and Cost questions can be addressed in person at the Payment Center, 1301 Filbert Street, Room B-02, or via phone at 215-683-7721.
Q. How do I get into a payment plan?
A. If you would like to enroll in a payment plan, or have monthly payments adjusted, please visit the Office of Court Compliance (OCC) at the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street, Basement level, Room B-04. Hours of operations are 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. A Payment Hearing will be scheduled before a Trial Commissioner who will make the adjustments based on your current situation.
Q. Can the public and defendants see the addresses and phone numbers of complainants, witnesses, and jurors?
A. No. The addresses and phone numbers of complainants, witnesses, and jurors are not public information. Only the names of jurors that are selected for the trial are public. The Arrest Report, Municipal Court Hearing List, and PARS Arrest Report are not public documents as they contain the addresses of the complainants and witnesses.
Q. Can county custody information (prison location) of a defendant be provided at the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE?
A. Yes. Custody information can be provided at the Information Counter, 206 or 310 JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE. We cannot give the exact dates of confinement. Only the Prison Registrar (215-685-8434) can provide the exact dates.
Q. Can the public (i.e. family, friends, and news reporters) review an active or disposed court file?
A: Yes, the public can review the court record. The person must show identification (i.e. driver's license and fill out a request form). The person cannot view the following confidential documents: Presentence Investigation Report, Mental Health Evaluation, Jury information, Suppression Notes of Testimony, PARS Arrest Report, Pretrial Bail Guidelines, and the defendant's secure court history.
Q. Where can the public review a disposed record?
A: All requests are made at the Information Counters (206 or 310) in the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE. Please bring a form of identification with you. Common Pleas Court (1988-present) and Municipal Court disposed files (1990-present) are housed in the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE. Older files are stored off-site at the Record Storage Center. There is a waiting period for records in the off-site storage facility. Before a disposed record can be reviewed, restricted documents will be removed.
Q. Where are certified copies of disposed cases obtained?
A: Certified copies of disposed records are available at the Information Counter, Room 310, JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE for a fee of $12.50 per case. You may make non-certified copies of the court record at a cost of $0.50 per page. Notes of testimony can be reviewed, but they cannot be copied. If someone wants to order notes of testimony they need to contact the Court Reporters at 215-683-8000.
Q. What is a Letter of Good Conduct and how do I obtain one?
A. A "Letter of Good Conduct" is issued by the Police Department after a search is completed by the Police in their database. The "Letter of Good Conduct" is used to show that the person was never arrested as of the date of the search. To obtain a "Letter of Good Conduct", the person must go to Department of Records, Room 168 City Hall, 215-686-1488, and ask for a Letter of Good Conduct. There is a fee of $40.00. You are not required to have your fingerprints taken. The Department of Records will send the application to the Philadelphia Police Dept., Record Room, where a search will be conducted by name, address, date of birth, and other criteria. If there are no arrests, the Police Dept. will send a "Letter of Good Conduct" within 8 to 10 business days to the individual.
Q. How do I obtain a Subpoena or a Subpoena Duces Tecum?
A: You can obtain a Subpoena at the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE, 1301 Filbert Street, Information Counter, Room 310 for a $2.00 fee.
Q. How can I get a record expunged?
A: You can file an Expungement Motion at the Motions Counter, Room 206 JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE. Phone number is 215-683-7518. There is a fee of $147.00. You may also file electronically here.
Q. What records can be expunged?
Q. How can I claim property seized by the Police?
A: You can file a Return of Property Petition at the Criminal Motions Unit, Room 206 JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE, for property taken from you by the Philadelphia Police. Phone number is 215 683-7518. The petition costs $12.50. You will receive a court date in the Court of Common Pleas. If the petition is granted, the petitioner takes a certified order, proper identification and proceeds to room 715 City Hall to retrieve the property.
Q. How can a defendant update or change their personal information?
A: You can file a petition to change information (i.e. date of birth, name, and social security number). A hearing will be scheduled by the Motions Unit. There is a fee of $12.50
Q. How do I obtain a Private Detective License?
A: You can obtain information from The Office of Judicial Records, room 310 JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE at 215 683-7700 /7701 /7702. Completed petitions can be filed at the Motions Unit, room 206 JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE. After a petition is filed for a Private Detective License, a background investigation is conducted by the District Attorney's Office prior to the court hearing.
Q. How can I appeal my sentence from Municipal Court to the Court of Common Pleas Court?
A. You have 30 days to appeal from the date of your sentence. You may file your appeal in person at the Motions Unit (215-683-7518), Room 206, in the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE. You may also file the appeal electronically here. There is no fee to file an appeal from Municipal to Common Pleas Court.
Q. How do I file an appeal from a Traffic Division violation sentence to the Court of Common Pleas?
A. You must file the appeal at the Traffic Division within 30 days of your sentence. The filing fee is $35.00 per police stop. You will be given a court date to appear in Traffic Division Courtroom D, 800 Spring Garden Street for your appeal hearing. The filing fee is non-refundable.
Q. Where are appeals from criminal cases filed for the Superior, Commonwealth, and Supreme Courts?
A. These appeals are filed at the Appeals Unit, Room 206 JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Phone number is 215-683-7525. Filing fee is $40.00 for the Office of Judicial Records and $90.25 for the respective appellate court. Two checks are required at time of filing, unless the attorney is court-appointed. You may also file the appeal electronically here.
Q. Upon DUI conviction with a license suspension when does my suspension begin?
A. Your license suspension only begins once your license is surrendered to PENNDOT or any state police barracks.
Q. What if I never had a driver's license and was convicted of a DUI with a license suspension?
A. Contact PENNDOT for further instructions.
Q. What is required before I can request a license restoration on a DUI case?
A. Before the Office of Judicial Records - Criminal Division can notify PENNDOT the following requirements must be satisfied if ordered:
Q. Where and how do I go about restoring my driver's license?
A. Bring the above information to the Office of Judicial Records - Criminal Division 1301 Filbert Street room 402, Philadelphia PA 19107. Once the information has been processed, an electronic submission will be provided to PENNDOT for license restoration.
The Office of Judicial Records - Criminal Division does not handle license suspension cases related to failure to take a breathalyzer or for moving violations.
Q. If I appeal my DUI conviction, will PENNDOT be notified to remove the suspension?
A. The Office of Judicial Records - Criminal Division will notify PENNDOT of DUI convictions that have been appealed.
Q. Where can I obtain the court date and courtroom for my next court hearing?
A. On the second floor of the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE at the Information Counter; phone number is 215 683-7004 /7005 /7006. The public web portal is also available at http://ujsportal.pacourts.us
Q. How do I reschedule a court date for a summary case?
A: Call the Summary Unit (215-683-7287) or go to the Information Counter, 2nd floor in the JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE.
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office:
3 South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107, 215 686-8000.
Defender Association of Philadelphia:
1441 Samson Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19102, 215 568-3190.
JUSTICE JUANITA KIDD STOUT CENTER FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE Office, 1301 Filbert Street, Room 407.
Jenkins Law Library:
833 Chestnut Street, Suite 1220, 215 574-7900. Hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Small Claims Court:
1339 Chestnut Street, Phila., PA 19107. Phone number is 215 686-2901.
Private Criminal Complaint:
The person must go to Municipal Court, 1425 Arch Street, 4th floor. Phone number is 215 686-9863 for filing fees and other information.
913 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, 215-561-3636.
Room 413, City Hall. The phone number is 215-686-2233.
PA Judicial Conduct Board, 301 Chestnut Street, Suite 403, Harrisburg, PA 17101, 215 234-7911 or 1 800 525-8261.
Office of Court Reporters:
100 S Broad St, Land Title Bldg., 2nd Floor, 215-683-8000.
U.S. Immigration Office:
1600 Callowhill St, Phila., Pa. 19130, 215-656-7140
Answer: A custody order is a written order signed by a judge. It defines the amount of time each party will spend with the child (physical custody) and how major decisions are made about the child (legal custody).
Note: People who file for custody and people they file against are called "parties." Each is a "party."
Physical custody - There are several types:
Legal custody - There are two types:
Answer: Jurisdiction - Generally, a child must have lived in Philadelphia for at least 6 months before the court will hear your case. Exceptions: if the child is under 6 months old, or for certain emergencies such as abandonment or abuse of the child or the child's parent or sibling.
Standing – Who may file for custody?
Answer: Where do I go?
What does it cost?
What if I cannot afford the filing fee? You may ask to be excused from paying the fee by filing a petition to proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP). Ask for and fill out an IFP Petition. If you are on public assistance, medical assistance or SSI, bring your public assistance photo ID or proof that you receive these benefits. If you are not on public assistance, medical assistance or SSI, bring proof of income.
What if I have an urgent situation? There are 2 ways to try to speed up your custody hearing:
What happens after I file? You and the opposing party will receive a notice by mail with a hearing date and must appear in court on that date. If you have filed an emergency petition, you will be told that day how to proceed. Be sure to follow the instructions.
Answer: A judge or master, after holding a hearing, decides the custody arrangement based on what is in the best interest of the child. The court is required to consider all relevant factors. It must give more consideration to factors which affect the safety of the child. The law lists many factors to consider:
What about criminal charges and convictions? The court must also consider certain criminal charges and convictions, mostly relating to violent crimes, including domestic abuse, but also including DUI and drug-related offenses. If you learn that the other party is facing certain criminal charges and poses a risk to the child, you may file a motion for temporary custody or, if there is an existing custody order, a motion to modify custody, and the court must hold a hearing in an expeditious manner (quickly). If a party or a member of a party’s household has certain criminal charges or convictions, the court MUST take several steps, including evaluations and possibly counseling.
To obtain evidence of a criminal charge or conviction in Pennsylvania, go to https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/CaseSearch and follow the instructions carefully. Print the information you find and take it to court. If you do not have internet access, you may ask the judge to check this website for evidence of a criminal charge or conviction.
Parenting Plans – When the parties do not agree on custody, the court may require each party to submit a parenting plan to help it make a decision. The plan must include a detailed description of how the parties will be involved in making decisions about the child and a schedule of when the child will live with each party. Your plan must be presented to the court in a special format. There are limits to how plans may be used in court. See Parenting Plan brochure for more detailed information.
Testimony – Each party may present their side and ask questions of the other side. You may prepare a list of your main points as well as questions that you want to ask the other party and bring that list to court with you.
Evidence – You may bring school or medical records or other important papers or photographs. You have the right to see everything that the other side wants to show the court. Make two copies of whatever you plan on giving to the court — the judge or master gets the original, the other side gets a copy and you keep a copy.
Witnesses – You may want to bring witnesses to testify on your behalf. Witnesses must present a subpoena to be admitted into the court. Ask any court employee at 1501 Arch Street to get a subpoena. Blue subpoenas are for "friendly" witnesses; Red subpoenas are for witnesses who may not want to testify and may be enforced by court order. Give your witnesses the subpoena before the hearing date and have them show it to the security guard upon entering the courthouse.
You may want to prepare and bring with you a list of questions to ask your witnesses and any witnesses the other party brings. Remember:
Tests and evaluations – If you have concerns about the other party’s substance abuse, mental health, or home safety you may ask the court to order the following services:
Be prepared to tell the court why it should issue any of these orders.
Custody cases are handled in several different ways, depending on many factors. At different points in your case, you may
Before your case is complete, you will have done one or more of these things.
Remember: An agreement made at court cannot become a court order until both parties and a judge sign it. Make sure you understand and agree with any agreement that you are asked to sign. Do NOT sign until you understand it fully and agree with it.
Answer: If a master or judge makes a decision in your case after a hearing, you have the right to appeal that decision. Read your order carefully to make sure that you do not miss any deadlines for appeal if you believe the decision is wrong.
Answer: If a party violates a custody order, you may file a petition for contempt and the court will schedule a hearing to decide whether the other party is in contempt and whether to issue sanctions, such as a fine or imprisonment, or to temporarily change the terms of the order until a full hearing is held on a petition to modify. A form and instructions are available on the Philadelphia Bar Association's website.
Answer: The custody law requires parents who want to relocate to take a number of steps. These steps begin with notice to the other party at least 60 days prior to the planned relocation. In limited circumstances, the party who plans to move may be permitted to give notice to the other party later than 60 days before the move, but at least 10 days prior to the move. The steps follow a required order and must have a particular structure. There are strict timelines for the entire process.
PHILADELPHIA LEGAL ASSISTANCE 215-981-3800
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION'S LAWYER REFERRAL AND INFORMATION SERVICE 215 238-6333
Answer: A child support order is a written order signed by a judge stating a specific amount of money to be paid at specific times for the care of a child. It may also include information about who is responsible for health insurance for the child. If you receive public assistance benefits, you may be required to file for child support. See the brochure Domestic Violence and TANF Support Requirements.
Answer: In order to obtain child support, you must show that the child lives primarily with you. This requirement is called standing. You do not need a custody order to file for support.
You must also show that the Philadelphia court is the proper court to hear your case. This requirement is called jurisdiction. You may show jurisdiction in one of two ways: 1) you live in Philadelphia; or 2) the person from whom you are seeking child support lives or regularly works in Philadelphia.
Where: The Intake Unit of Philadelphia Family Court, on the 8th floor of 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA. Court personnel will assist you in preparing your petition.
What to bring when filing:
Cost: It costs $35.50 to file.
If you cannot pay the filing fee, you may ask to be excused from paying the fee by filing a petition to proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP). Ask for and fill out an IFP Petition. If you are on public assistance or SSI, bring your public assistance photo ID or proof that you receive SSI.
Answer: You and the person from whom you are seeking support (the opposing party) will be sent a Notice to Appear in Court on a specific date for a pre-trial conference with a Hearing Officer.
Answer: State regulations provide a formula, known as the “Support Guidelines,” that courts use to calculate the amount of support to be paid. These guidelines instruct courts to look at the combined income of the mother and father and the number of children for whom support is sought. The goal is to ensure that each child receives the same amount of support that they would if the parents lived together. Once that amount is determined, the parties’ individual incomes are compared to the Guideline amount to determine the percentage of support for which each party is responsible.
Answer: In general, when determining income for the Guidelines, the Court looks at the actual income of a party as well as that party’s earning capacity (potential to earn money based on work experience and education). The Court will also consider whether the person who must pay support is also paying child support for other children. Public benefits, such as TANF or SSI, are not considered income for the purposes of the Guidelines.
Answer: You should bring the original and 2 copies of:
Answer: If paternity has not been established, the Hearing Officer will ask for an acknowledgment of paternity or order genetic testing, as appropriate. Once paternity has been established, the Hearing Officer will examine income information from both parties and set the amount of support to be paid based on the support guidelines. If the parties agree to the amount of support, it becomes an Order of the Court and is signed by a Judge. If the parties do not agree, the Guideline amount becomes a Temporary Order and the case is referred to a Support Master for a hearing.
Answer: At this hearing, the parties will have a chance to explain why they agree or disagree with the amount of support set by the Hearing Officer. The Support Guidelines are assumed to be correct. Therefore, if you disagree with the amount of support, you must show a reason why they are not correct such as: special circumstances of the child, earning capacity not met, additional income available. The Master will file a report regarding his/her decision along with a proposed order. If there are no objections, the Master’s report becomes final.
Answer: If you do not agree with the master's proposed support order, you may file exceptions within 20 days after you receive the written recommendation. In your exceptions, you must explain in writing why you think the master’s proposal is wrong.
The exceptions must be filed in person or received by mail within the 20 days and will not be accepted by fax. After the exceptions are filed, there will be a hearing before a judge. You will need to explain to the judge what the master did wrong. The judge will issue a final order.
If you disagree with the judge’s order, you may file an appeal in Superior Court within 30 days of the date of the court order. Appeals are very complicated. You may want to talk to an attorney if you decide to appeal to Superior Court.
Answer: Child Support payments are collected and enforced by the State through PASCDU. This agency receives payments from the people who owe support and then distributes these payments to you. Most new child support orders require wage attachment unless a reason can be shown why wage attachment should not be done.
If you are having problems with your Child Support, you can go to the Establishment and Enforcement office of Family Court located at 1501 Arch Street, 12th Floor.
If you have a support order and the other party is not obeying the order, you can file a contempt petition. There is no charge for a contempt petition.
Answer: Orders are reviewed automatically once every 3 years. You may, however, request a review before that time if your circumstances have changed. If you wish to request a review or change the order, you must file a support modification petition.
The process for modifying support is similar to the initial filing. At the hearing on the modification, you must show that there has been a significant change in circumstances and that the change was not voluntary.
PHILADELPHIA LEGAL ASSISTANCE 215-981-3800
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION'S LAWYER REFERRAL AND INFORMATION SERVICE 215-238-6333
Answer: Divorce is a legal procedure that ends a marriage and changes the legal relationship between former spouses. Living apart from your husband or wife does not legally end a marriage. .
Answer: There are 2 kinds of divorce: no-fault divorce and fault-based divorce. Most people in Pennsylvania obtain a no-fault divorce because it is easier and cheaper and you may not have to appear before a judge or go to court other than to file the papers needed for the divorce. There are 2 kinds of no-fault divorce:
Answer: You may file for divorce in Philadelphia County if you or your spouse lived in Pennsylvania for the 6 months immediately before the filing of the divorce complaint, and either party currently resides in Philadelphia or you agree to divorce in Philadelphia. There is no required length of residency in the county where the divorce complaint is filed. In Philadelphia, a divorce complaint is filed with the Clerk of Family Court at 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA.
Answer: The filing fee is $333.73 (plus $40.25 for each additional non-custody count plus $75.45 for a cutsody count). You may pay with a money order. Personal checks and cash are not accepted.
If you cannot pay the filing fee, you may ask to be excused from paying the fee by filing a petition to proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP). Ask for and fill out an IFP Petition. If you are on public assistance or SSI, bring your public assistance photo ID or proof receipt of SSI.
Answer: “Marital property” refers to almost everything that either spouse gets during the marriage, regardless of whose name the asset is titled in. Such assets would include a house (again, regardless of whose name is on the deed or mortgage), pensions, stocks and bonds, furniture, automobiles, bank accounts, debts, etc. “Marital property” also includes increases in value during the marriage of: (1) any property owned by a spouse before the marriage and/or (2) any asset or property a spouse inherits or receives by gift during the marriage. The law provides guidance regarding the “equitable distribution” of marital property. Equitable distribution means “fair.” It does not necessarily mean 50-50 distribution of marital property.
“Fairness” is determined by examining several factors:
Note that “fault” behavior (e.g., adultery) is not considered in determining fairness in property distribution.
Answer: Two kinds of financial support for the spouse can be awarded in a divorce:
Answer: A certified copy of a Divorce Decree can be obtained in the Office of Judicial Records, Civil Filing Center, Room 296, City Hall either in person over-the-counter or by written request via mail. Click here to download the instructions.
Answer: Legal assistance may be available from:
PHILADELPHIA LEGAL ASSISTANCE 215-981-3800
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION'S LAWYER REFERRAL AND INFORMATION SERVICE 215-238-6333
PHILADELPHIA VOLUNTEERS FOR THE INDIGENT PROGRAM (https://www.phillyvip.org): 215-523-9550
Answer: Paternity is a legal determination of fatherhood. A father who is not married to the mother of the child(ren) is not the father for legal purposes unless:
Until paternity is determined, the man alleged to be the father is called the "putative father."
Answer: A court order establishing paternity will be necessary if:
Answer: If there is no signed Acknowledgment of Paternity, paternity may be established in any of the following proceedings:
Answer: You may get genetic testing done privately. However, the results of the test will not determine your legal responsibilities with the child(ren). Private test results will probably not be admissible in court, because the testing was not court supervised.
Answer: You may file:
Answer: From a combined list of registered Philadelphia voters and adult licensed drivers, the required number of jurors for a particular day are randomly selected by computer and summoned to appear for jury duty.
Answer: If a person serves for one or two days, they need not serve again for a period of one year. If service is for three or more days, the exemption period is three years.
Answer: For a lost summons, call 215 683-7170 and either follow the prompts to request a new summons or press "4" and then "0" to speak to a customer representative. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.
Answer: As mentioned earlier, selection is a random process. As such, there is always the chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times. It is truly the "luck of the draw". However, if your name appears one way on the voter list and another way on your driver's license, your chances of being called increase. The court is not permitted to make changes to these lists.
Answer: You will be required to serve as a juror for one day or if selected to sit on a trial, you will be required to serve for the length of that trial.
Answer: Yes. Jurors are paid $9.00 per day for the first three days of jury service and $25.00 per day for every day thereafter. You will receive a check at the end of your jury service.
Answer: Under Pennsylvania law, an employer is not required to pay persons during their period of jury service. However, an employer may not fire you or otherwise harm you for responding to a summons.
Answer: If you have not already completed and returned your questionnaire by mail or online, you must do so. In the REMARKS section, you may state the reason you are unable to attend on your appointed date and then give us a date when you can. Only if your questionnaire has been completed and returned, can you request a postponement by using Option #2 of the automated phone system.
Postponements can be done online after completing the questionnaire. Jurors may select a new date of their choice, with some limitations. Hardship request cannot be done online and must be done by mail.
Answer: If not medical and/or physical, it would be lost of job wages, childcare issues and care giver for an ill parent(s). If any of the above is present, some form of verification must accompany the questionnaire. Additional questions may be directed to a Jury Selection Representative at (215) 683-7170
Answer: Full name, mailing address, date of birth and questionnaire/summons Participant # if known.
NEVER IS A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER REQUESTED.
Answer: If you are excused through the juror call in voice response system, you will be handled as though you reported for duty, which means you will not be required to serve again for at least 12 months.
Answer: The number of jurors needed by the court changes daily. The Jury Commission installed an interactive voice response system in May, 2002 that allows the Commission to excuse jurors that are not needed. You call in the night before to learn if you will be needed for duty the next day. The selection is random.
Answer: You should bring the summons portion of the questionnaire with you. Also, you may bring something to read during waiting periods.
Answer: You may be required to appear in court and you could be held in contempt and fined. However, by making jury service as flexible as possible, we hope to avoid using this power.
Answer: Casual attire should be worn as long as it is in keeping with the dignity of court proceedings. Ties are not required. Slacks, sport shirts, and casual dresses are all appropriate.
Answer: The court encourages citizens to take advantage of public transportation.
Visit the SEPTA website for information on how to arrive at The Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice via public transportation.
Visit the Philadelphia Parking Authority Parking Locator website to search for the location of the closest parking lots in the area of The Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice.
Answer: Contact the Jury Commission, Payroll Department, 215-683-7193.
The First Judicial District is working on a Transcript Ordering System (“TOS”) which will allow requestors to electronically transmit their requests through the District’s website similar to the Electronic Filing Systems implemented by the District. Until the TOS is implemented, all requestors must submit the request by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) as proved below.
A completed Request for Transcript form requesting notes of testimony of a hearing or trial must be emailed to the following email address: email@example.com . If you do not have access to electronic mail, you may FAX the Request for Transcript form to 215-683-8005. Include on the form the exact date of the hearing, the name of the presiding judge, the name of the case and/or defendant's name, and your phone number. We cannot assist you without the above information.
The Office of Court Reporter Administration will contact you and will provide the deposit amount that you must pay before the Court Reporter will be directed to commence transcribing the proceedings you have requested. Please note that as required by the Court Reporter Rules, you will be asked to pay, as a deposit, 95% of the estimated cost of the transcript. After you have paid the required deposit and the Court Reporter has completed the transcript, you will be asked to pay the balance due before the transcript is delivered to you. Unless otherwise requested, we will provide electronic delivery of the transcript upon receipt of full payment.
The Court Reporter and Interpreter Division instituted the Digital Recording Program in 2003 in response to a general shortage of highly-qualified stenographic court reporters. As of March of 2008, the Digital Recording Program employed three administrative staff members, (Supervisor, Transcript Coordinator & Digital Technology Specialist) as well as a staff of 11 full-time and 13 part-time Digital Recording Technicians (DRTs). The DRTs monitor the recording of court proceedings through the use of FTR Gold Recording software. Additionally, Digital Recording Technicians create detailed log notes that are utilized by the digital recording transcriptionists to ensure accurate transcription of audio files.
To order a transcript, complete a Request for Transcript form and check the "Check if Digital Recording" box on the Request for Transcript form . Until the Transcript Ordering System has been implemented, fax the form to 215-683-8005. The Office of Court Reporter Administration will contact you and will provide the deposit amount that you must pay before the Court Reporter will be directed to commence transcribing the proceedings you have requested. Please note that as required by the Court Reporter Rules, you will be asked to pay, as a deposit, 95% of the estimated cost of the transcript. After you have paid the required deposit and the Court Reporter has completed the transcript, you will be asked to pay the balance due before the transcript is delivered to you. Unless otherwise requested, we will provide electronic delivery of the transcript upon receipt of full payment.
Answer: State law defines abuse as:
Answer: The law permits a court to issue a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA) directing the defendant to:
The order can also include:
Answer: A PFA can be issued for up to 36 months. The PFA can sometimes be extended for additional time after a petition is filed and a hearing held as described above (for example, if there has been additional abuse after the order was entered).
Answer: A PFA Order is available to anyone abused by a:
Answer: Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., a petition for a PFA can be filed free of charge in the Domestic Violence Intake Unit on the 8th floor of Family Court at 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
The Unit will provide assistance in preparing and filing the necessary papers to those who do not have legal representation. Language interpretation services are available at the filing unit and at the hearing. To request an interpreter for your hearing, fill out the Interpreter Request Form at the filing unit.
You should go as early as possible and be prepared to wait your turn. Information is available by telephone 24 hours a day at 215-686-3511.
Answer: In an emergency, when the Family Court is closed, a request for an emergency PFA order can be made at the Criminal Justice Center, Room B-03 at 1301 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, PA (215-683-7280).
No fee is required to file. If the petition is approved, a master will issue an emergency order which will last only until 5 p.m. on the next day that Family Court is open, by which time the Family Court may issue a temporary order.
Anyone who receives an emergency PFA order when Family Court is closed should call Family Court on the next business day at 215-686-3514 to receive instructions for obtaining a copy of the temporary order if one has been issued. If you are denied an emergency order, you may go to the Domestic Violence Intake Unit on the 8th floor of Family Court at 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for assistance.
Answer: A PFA action may be filed in Philadelphia County if it is the county in which:
If possession of the residence to the exclusion of the defendant is requested, the action must be filed in the county where the residence is located.
Answer: Soon after the petition is filed, a judge will review it and determine whether a temporary order should be issued. A hearing will be held within 10 days to determine whether to grant a final PFA.
The Temporary Order, Petition, and Notice to Appear must be given to the defendant (this is called “service”). The petitioner may serve it or have a responsible adult serve it, including the police. We suggest you ask the police to serve it for you. Go to the hearing even if the defendant has not been served with the papers.
Answer: The judge will listen to both parties and decide whether to issue a final order. The parties will also be given an opportunity to reach an agreement on the order.
Answer: It is a crime to violate a PFA. The police should be called immediately. The District Attorney is responsible for prosecuting anyone who is arrested for violating a PFA. You may also file a petition for contempt on the 8th floor of Family Court at 1501 Arch Street, Philadelphia. After the petition is filed, a hearing will be scheduled within ten days. If a judge finds the defendant guilty of violating the PFA, the defendant can be sentenced to prison for up to 6 months and/or fined up to $1000.
PHILADELPHIA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
Legal representation may be available from:
Other Important Numbers:
IF YOU ARE IN DANGER, CALL 911
Q. Where can bail be paid?
A: Bail can be paid at the Bail Acceptance Office, Room B-03 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street. The office is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. Payments can be made either in cash or with a valid credit or debit card. On selected occasions, a bank issued cashiers check can be accepted, however conditions apply and the hours of acceptance are limited when using a cashiers check.
Bail can also be posted at the Philadelphia Prison, Curran-Fromhold Institution. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at this site. All individuals posting bail must provide a valid form of identification to the cashier. Questions should be referred to the Bail Acceptance Office at 215-683-7727.
Q. Do I get my bail money back?
A. Most of the bail money is refunded, provided there were no failures to appear for court or other release violations. Seventy percent of the bail deposit is available for refund thirty-one days after the final disposition of the case. The person named on the original bail deposit receipt must provide valid identification at the Clerk of Quarter Sessions/Bail Refund Office, Room B-03 of the Stout Center for Criminal Justice, 1301 Filbert Street. The office is open Monday through Fridays, 8:30am to 4:30pm, Phone: 215-683-7723.
Q. When should I call the Pretrial Services Department?
A. All arrested individuals are required to phone the Pretrial office within 24 hours of your release after arrest. The contact/check-in phone number is 215-686-7421. This is an automated system, where your call will be recorded and is operational around the clock. You must provide your police identification number/PID when prompted. You are also required to call the Notification Unit at 215 683-3710 if you change your address or have questions about your court date. If you are on a supervised release you must report to 714 Market Street, 7th Floor on your assigned Orientation Date and you must contact your assigned Pretrial Officer when required, or, call the Supervision Unit at 215-683-3750 if you have any questions. The Supervision Units are open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Q. What type of case does Pretrial Service Department appoint counsel for?
A. Adult criminal cases within the county of Philadelphia (does not include summary citations, matters of child custody, support, or protection from abuse petitions.) The appointment of counsel interviews are conducted at the Pretrial Service Department main office, 714 Market Street, 7th Floor, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Questions should be referred to 215-683-3710.
Q. If I am on house arrest and an emergency situation occurs, who should I call?
A. You should call your assigned Pretrial Officer (Pretrial Cases) or Probation Officer (Post-trial matters) during traditional office hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.--Monday through Friday. During evenings, weekends, and holidays, you should contact the House Arrest Monitoring Unit at 215-568-0191. This must be for a true emergency. You must provide the name of your Pretrial/Probation Officer, and specific information such as hospital address, doctor's name, etc.
Q. What happens if I fail to appear in court?
A. You will be subject to immediate arrest on a bench warrant. If you were released on cash bail you could lose your deposit and be responsible for payment of the full bail amount. You can lessen or avoid these sanctions if you promptly surrender for a bench warrant hearing, at 7:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, Room B-04 The Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, 1301 Filbert Street. Questions should be referred to the Warrant Unit at 215-683-3723.
Q. What if I have a question about a Bench Warrant?
A. All questions concerning a bench warrant should be referred to the Data Verification Unit at 215-683-3723.
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