Family Law

PLA helps clients maintain custody of their children and protect themselves and their children from violence.

Categories Within Family Law

How to get help with Family Law

The following departments at PLA provide legal assistance with Family Law:

Intake Procedure:

Call the Family Law Intake Line at 215.981.3838 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between the hours of 09:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.  Callers are not able to leave a message.  The Family Law Intake Line may be closed early if call volume is high.

We recommend calling at least three weeks before your court date before a Master and at least six weeks before your hearing before a Judge.

PLA's Family Law Intake Line does not accept applications for assistance with divorce, child support, or spousal support.

Assistance for immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is available from PLA's Immigrant Women's Legal Assistance Hotline, which assists callers with legal problems including divorce, custody, child/spousal support, protection from abuse, and immigration.  Speakers of languages other than English and Spanish may leave a message with the Immigrant Women's Legal Assistance Hotline by calling 215.981.3838 at any time.

Applicants may also apply online.

Self-Help Resources

Court Forms Available From the First Judicial District

See the First Judicial District's court forms page for PDF court forms for use in custody, support, and protection from abuse cases.

Divorce in Philadelphia County

This brochure explains how to file for divorce in Philadelphia.

Family Law for Teen Parents

A 54-page guide and an on-line quiz for teen parents about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to paternity, child custody, child support, protection from abuse, and emancipation.

Family Law Resource List

This is a list of organizations that provide assistance with family law cases.

Family law resources from offers self-help forms and information on a variety of family law topics, including document assembly interviews that allow you to create legal documents on-line.  Some of the document assembly interviews were developed by PLA.

Family law self-help resources from Women's Law Project

The Women's Law Project offers a variety of self-help materials in the area of Family Law.

Getting a Protection From Abuse Order

This video explains the court process for obtaining a Protection From Abuse Order. Developed by Philadelphia Legal Assistance as part of its Make Your Case video series.

Paternity of Children in Philadelphia County When Parents Are Not Married

This brochure explains what paternity is and how it is determined.

Planning for Custody and Care of Children: an Informational Guide for Immigrant Families

This guide is intended to give basic information under Pennsylvania law about custody of children and how to plan for and or deal with a change in circumstances due to a parent’s sudden or expected absence or inability to care for her/his children.  Available in Spanish.

Preparing for a Custody Hearing

This video explains what happens at a child custody hearing, describes the "best interest of the child" standard, and gives you tips on how to obtain the custody order you want. Developed by Philadelphia Legal Assistance as part of its Make Your Case video series.

Preparing for Your Support Conference

This video explains what happens at a child support conference, describes how child support is calculated, and helps you decide whether to ask for a hearing before a support master if you are unsatisfied with the result of a support conference. Developed by Philadelphia Legal Assistance as part of its Make Your Case video series.

Resources at the Philadelphia Family Court Help Center

The Family Court Help Center is a room in the Philadelphia Family Court where people with family court cases can receive free legal information from knowledgable volunteers.

This guide explains the services available at the Help Center.


Kristy Lopez - Paralegal

Justice for Families Grant Family Court Help Center Advocate

Emily Blakeslee - Paralegal
Brittany Chung - Paralegal
Emilia Golanska - Attorney

Emilia Golanska is the co-supervisor of the Family Law Unit.

Deeya Haldar - Attorney

Deeya Haldar is currently on leave from Philadelphia Legal Assistance.  She is teaching a civil litigation clinic at Villanova Law School.

Susan Pearlstein - Attorney

Susan Pearlstein is the co-supervisor of the Family Law Unit.

Diane Rosario - Paralegal

Senior Paralegal

Arly Smith-Pearson - Attorney

Arly Smith-Pearson is the supervisor of the Drexel Civil Litigation Field Clinic.