In the state of Pennsylvania, the court can appoint a divorce master to help resolve major sticking points in a divorce action.
If you and your spouse are having disputes over important issues you cannot seem to reconcile, you may need this kind of help.
About the divorce master
A master is an attorney, or hearing officer, who works with the Pennsylvania court system to help to divorce couples resolve issues. In cases where couples cannot reach an agreement on certain points, the master may step in to hear the claims on both sides and issue a report for the court to review.
Issues for a hearing
The divorce master may hear ancillary economic claims, or claims pertaining to the equitable division of property. For example, the master will help to decide the percentage of assets and debts each party should have or whether alimony should be awarded. Other considerations might include disputes as to the valuation of marital property, the timeline for payment of debts and responsibility for court costs and attorney fees.
Initially, the master will meet with the attorneys representing each party. The next meeting will include the attorneys plus the divorcing parties. Often the meetings will result in a settlement agreement. However, if the divorcing couple still cannot agree on the points under consideration, the master will conduct an evidentiary hearing. A report with the master’s findings follows. A judge will review the report the master prepares and issue a court order based on the recommendations.