245 West Venango Street, Mercer, PA 16137
(724) 662-9660
Fax (724) 662-1303

The Right Attorney Can Make All the Difference in Difficult Times

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is list of frequently asked questions to our firm concerning some of Attorney Lucas' areas of practice.


Q.    Can one lawyer represent both of us?
An attorney can only represent one party and cannot give legal advice to the other party.
Q.    Can I make my spouse move out of the house?
You can file for exclusive possession of the marital residence, but you must have substantial reasons for doing so. The Court will not grant an order of exclusive possession simply because you no longer want your spouse to be present in the home. Filing a Protection from Abuse petition may also result in the removal of a party from the home but is not appropriate unless there has been abuse and may result in criminal prosecution if found to contain fabricated allegations.


Q.    When can my child decide that he/she wants to live with me?
Although a child never makes the final decision as to where he/she lives, the Judge will often interview a child to determine his/her feelings but does not base his decision solely on the child’s preference. The Judge may give more credence to an older child who has solid and well thought out reasons for wanting to change his/her custodial parent.
Q.    My child’s parent has alcohol/drug/mental health issues – can I refuse visitation?
Your attorney can request that the custody order state that neither party may use alcohol or drugs while the child is in their custody. You should discuss any mental health concerns with your attorney as each situation must be handled individually and may require documentation substantiating your allegations.

Protection From Abuse

Q.    When can I file for a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order?
You may file for yourself and/or on behalf of your children if you have been physically assaulted by a family member or a member of your household. You may also file if you feel you are in immediate danger of physical harm, for example, if your spouse has produced a gun and threatened you. If there has been an altercation and the police are called, they may recommend that you file for a PFA.
Q.    How do I file for a PFA?
You go to the Prothonotary’s Office at the Mercer County Courthouse and complete a form called “Petition for Protection from Abuse.”  You will be interviewed by a judge who will determine if a temporary order is appropriate.  If an order is entered by the Court, the accused party will be served by a Sheriff advising him/her that they may not contact you in any way prior to the full hearing. The Sheriff will also advise the opposing party that they must appear at the scheduled date and time for the full hearing.  The full hearing will be held within ten (10) days of filing.


Q.    Do I need an attorney to file for support?
No. You can file for support and attend the support conference without an attorney. However, there are times when it is beneficial for an attorney to be present such as a job layoff, if you currently pay support for children from a previous marriage, if the other party has quit their job in order to avoid paying support or if one or both parties are self-employed.
Q.    Can one party quit his/her job to avoid paying support or to receive more support?
No. If one party quits their job, they will be held to their former earning capacity and ordered to pay support based upon those figures. You should consider hiring an attorney to represent you at the support conference if this situation exists.