According to Rule 1915.4(b), Prompt Disposition of Custody Cases, within 180 days of the filing of the complaint for custody, the court will automatically enter an order scheduling a trial before a judge. In counties where this procedure is not automatic, a party must file a praecipe, motion, or a request for trial. If the court in your county is not in the practice of automatically scheduling, and neither party files a praecipe, motion, or a request for trial within 180 days of the original filing, the court (or a motion of a party) will dismiss the case. However, sometimes the judge will grant extensions, at their discretion, or will decide it is not in the best interest of the child to dismiss the case. Either way, the extension will not last longer than 60 days after the initial 180 days.
Specifically, we see this in DIETRICH v. DIETRICH. In this case, the father Eric had his complaint for custody dismissed. Local rules in their county did not provide automatic scheduling of trials, and neither party requested a trial or extension within the 180 days, so the case was dismissed. Since then, DIETRICH remains a piece of guidance to help courts, judges, attorneys, and parties interpret Rule 1915.4(b) which stands for prompt determination of Custody Cases.
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