No. An individual can act as his or her own lawyer (“pro se”), but they will be required to comply with all of the rules and procedures that govern practice in the division.
No. Practice and procedures in the division are governed by the Probate, Estates, and Fiduciaries Code, 20 Pa. C.S.A. Section 101, et. seq., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orphans’ Court Rules, and the Allegheny County Orphans’ Court Rules.
The Orphans’ Court Division does not presently have pre-printed forms (with the exception of the two forms that are used in the adoption department for post-adoption search and release of information). Local and state Court rules should be referenced when preparing petitions, motions, and other Court filings.
You may call the Adoptions Department at 412.350.5550 for details.
You must put your request in writing addressed to the Adoption Department Supervisor, 1700 Frick Building, 437 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
You may send a waiver of confidentiality to the Court which will be placed in the Court file. If your child makes a request to locate his/her birthparents, your information will be forwarded to the child.
The adoptee may request information from an adoption records after he/she reaches age 18. Adoptive parents may request information if the adoptee is under age 18.
This depends upon the type of certificate issued by the Immigration & Naturalization Service. If you received an IR3 stamp on the child’s passport, you are not required to re-adopt. However, if you have received an IR4 stamp, you are required to re-adopt in the United States.
You can obtain a birth certificate if you register the record of the foreign adoption at the Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans’ Court Office, 1st Floor, City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
You must put your objections in writing and file them with the Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, 1st Fl., City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. You must also send a copy of your objections to the attorney of record.
No, only the attorney is required to attend, however, the accountant must sign the petition for adjudication and an affidavit or verification stating that the facts in the petition are true and correct.
The Petition for Adjudication is filed at the same time as the Account at the Orphans’ Court Desk Department of Court Records Wills/Orphans’ Court.
Decrees are generally prepared and signed within two to three weeks, unless there are objections filed or a need for additional information.
No. The audit is the date, time and place for any Objectant to come forward and present the Court with said Objections. The auditing Judge will let the Objectant give a brief synopsis of the Objections and then schedule a conference or hearing for a future date.
An audit may be continued by contacting the Supervisor of the Audit Department and sending a proposed Order of Court continuing the audit. The order should give some reason for the continuance and must have a cover sheet.
Call the Mental Health hotline 412.350.4457 open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and/or the mental health facility/hospital that is nearest to your residence. You may also call your local police department. These agencies will explain the requirements that must be met under the Mental Health Procedures Act and assist you if it is appropriate.
The Public Defender’s Office (412.350.1943) represents all respondents, although you may hire a private attorney at your own expense.
While all civil commitment records are impounded (sealed), you are permitted to review the records of your commitment. No one else is permitted to view your records unless 1) you consent; or 2) a judge authorizes another person to view your records after prior notice to you. In order to review or obtain copies of your records, you must provide the Civil Commitment Department with written authorization and proof of identify (for example, a photo ID and one other form of identification). Copies of your records will be provided to you at no charge.
A petition must be filed with the Orphans’ Court motions judge that sets forth the basis for expunging the record. The Court will schedule a hearing on the request. Notice of the hearing must be given to the Allegheny County Law Department, the psychiatric hospital or facility that was involved in the commitment, and the Pennsylvania State Police.
A petition to appoint a guardian of an alleged incapacitated person must be filed with the Court, at which time a hearing will be scheduled. See Allegheny County Orphans’ Court Rule No. 14.
There are limited and plenary guardianships of the person and/or the estate. In a plenary guardianship, the guardian has authority over all of the affairs of the incapacitated person. In a limited guardianship, the guardian’s authority is restricted to those areas specified in the Court’s order and the incapacitated person retains all other rights and powers not granted to the guardian.
Any person interested in the welfare of the alleged incapacitated person.
Any qualified individual, a corporate fiduciary, or a guardianship support agency.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Law (412.648.1300) has a legal clinic that may be able to assist in these cases.
A petition must be filed according to Supreme Court Orphans’ Court Rule 12.5. If the request is for an appointment of a guardian of the person (as opposed to a guardian of the minor’s estate), the Court will schedule a hearing, and an investigator from the Guardianship Department will conduct an on-site visit with the proposed guardian(s) and minor(s) involved.
A petition for allowance may be filed under Allegheny County Orphans’ Court Rule No. 12.16C, or a written request may be submitted to the Guardianship Department of the Orphans’ Court Division.
Motions are heard every day, Monday through Friday, at 9:30 a.m.
The name of the Orphans’ Court motions judge is posted on the 17th Floor, Frick Building, 437 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. You may also telephone the motions coordinator at 412.350.5576. The motions calendar is also available on our website.
Ten (10) days notice is required absent an emergency or consent by the opposing party. Additionally, a copy of the motion must be delivered or faxed to the motions supervisor at least one (1) day prior to the date of presentation.
No. The following petitions and motions are required to be delivered or mailed to the motions supervisor at 1700 Frick Building, 437 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 for transmittal to the judge: petitions requesting the issuance of a citation; petitions for the appointment of a guardian of the person of a minor; petitions for allowance, including payment of counsel fees; small estate petitions; and petitions for the appointment of a permanent guardian of an incapacitated person. All other motions and petitions, including but not limited to, petitions for the appointment of an emergency guardian, successor guardian, and review of incapacitated person, must be presented to the motions judge.