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Contact the Accounts Payable Department at 570-825-1671 or [email protected]. Please have your invoice number handy.
An assessment is the percentage of the market value of your property. The percentage is known as the predetermined ratio. In Luzerne County the assessment represents 100% of the appraised (full market value) as of the base year.
The millage rate (also known as mills) is the rate at which tax revenue is generated from assessments, expressed in terms of 1/1000th of assessed value. For Example: 4.369 mills is equivalent to a millage rate of .004369.
The formula to calculate real property tax is: Assessment x millage = tax (face amount).
For example: The County millage is the same for all municipalities, therefore the County Tax for a property with an assessed value of $100,000 and a rate of 5.9754 mills would be calculated as follows: 100,000 X .0059754 = $597.54 (face amount)
If the taxpayer does not agree with the assessment, the property owner has the right to file an Appeal with the Luzerne County Board of Tax Assessment Appeals.Upon receipt of appeal application and processing fee, the Board of Assessment Appeals will schedule an appeal hearing and notify the taxpayer of the date and time. The taxpayer should be prepared to provide documentation and/or exhibits in support of his/her opinion of value. In the event that the taxpayer remains dissatisfied after the Board's action, further appeal can be take to the Court of Common Pleas within 30 days of the Board decision notice.
Annual Appeal - Appeal of Total Assessment.
Property owners have an opportunity to appeal their assessment every year. By appealing, the property is open to the re-valuation process in which the property assessment may be lowered, raised or remain the same. Annual appeals may be filed by August 1 (or the next official business day should August 1 fall on a weekend) of each year. In the case of an annual appeal, the Board decision does not take effect until tax bills are issued the following tax year.
Interim Appeal - Appeal of Increase in Assessment due to additional improvement to property.
The interim assessment represents the value difference (increase) attributable to any assessable improvement to the land and the resulting increase in land value, if any. Assessable improvements include, but are not limited to; new construction of a primary structure (dwelling or other building type), the addition to any such structure and the construction of any ancillary, contributory improvements such as swimming pools, sheds, garages, barns, etc. Appeal forms for an interim appeal must be filed within forty (40) days of the date of notification of the assessment change. The appeal date will be noted on the Assessment Change Notice. Any change is the assessment due to an interim appeal is effective for the interim effective date.
Catastrophic Loss Appeal - Appeal of a Catastrophic Loss.
A Catastrophic Loss due to fire, natural disaster etc. (50% or more of a loss) must be appealed within 60 days of the date of occurrence to be effective for the date of the disaster and forward.
Homestead Appeal - Appeal of Homestead decisions.
In order to update your address on your tax bills, you must fill out a Change of Address form found on our website under "Forms"
One other option is to contact the Tax Collector in your Municipality for instructions on how to update the information.
A county employee photo ID card is prominently displayed.
Will ring doorbell or knock. If no answer, will leave a door hanger.
Will inspect the exterior and verify characteristics. Will not request an interior inspection. Should the property owner request an interior inspection, it will only be made by two assessors.
If the assessor is denied access to any part of the property, they will collect data from outside the property, and will be estimated and revised accordingly.
A Field Investigator has a responsibility to discover, value and list all real property.
A Field Investigator may NOT proceed where it is clearly marked to keep the public from entering their land.
A Field Investigator WILL NOT enter your house unless they have specific permission and will only be when two Investigators are present for inspection.
District residents who live in owner occupied properties can apply for property tax relief. Relief is not applicable for properties used solely for rental or business purposes.
For properties that contain both residential and non-residential portions, the part of the property occupied by the owner may qualify. The Homestead value for these properties will be the amount of the property that is equal to the portion of the dwelling that is used as the domicile of the owner. You are eligible to apply providing you indicate what percentage of the property is used for something other than your primary residence, such as business or Rental in question number 10 on the Homestead/Farmstead Application.
Property tax relief for owners of homesteads or farmsteads will not come automatically. The owners must apply to have their property designated as homesteads or farmsteads-and be approved-in order to qualify.
The school district is required to send all potentially eligible district residents an application along with instructions and a notice of the submission deadline. Open enrollment for Homestead/Farmstead will occur every December 15 through March 1 of the following year.
The County Homestead Office will mail a notice indicating whether or not the application has been approved.
No, there is no fee for the filing or review of the application.
Yes. Property owners who disagree with the decision of the assessor may appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals for a review of the decision. Appeal must pertain to application filing, deadlines, reapplication or the definition of a property as "homestead property" or "farmstead property." Appeal instructions will be provided with the denial notice.
All eligible and qualified property owners in the district will receive a credit known as a Homestead/Farmstead Exclusion. The exclusion will show up on a tax bill as a separate line item under the original assessed value of the property. The exclusion will then be subtracted from the original value to produce a new net assessment.
To compute taxes due, the district millage, or tax rate, will be applied to the new, reduced value of a property. Therefore, the actual property tax reduction will be the difference between the tax rate applied to the new reduced assessment and the tax rate applied to the unreduced assessment.
No. The county assessor cannot require previously-approved property owners to re-apply more than once every three years. It will be up to each individual county to establish rules for re-application.
Residents who move will have to re-apply to have new homesteads or farmsteads qualify for property tax reduction.
LUZERNE COUNTY ASSESSMENT OFFICE
200 NORTH RIVER STREET
WILKES-BARRE PA 18711
Active farming on 10 acres or more. Only buildings and structures on farms which are at least ten contiguous acres in area and used as the primary residence of the owner are eligible for a farmstead exclusion. Land is not eligible for the farmstead exclusion. You may be asked to provide proof that the buildings and structures are used for commercial agricultural activity,such as the net income or loss schedule from your state or federal income tax forms. (Schedule F)
A list of Budget Documents can be found at http://pa-luzernecounty.civicplus.com/Archive.aspx?AMID=56.
Please contact Court Administration. Court Administration handles all scheduling questions.
Please contact Court Administration. Court Administration will schedule a hearing.
Please contact Adult Probation. The Adult Probation Financial Department handles all fines, court costs, and restitution owed on court case. If under 18, please contact Juvenile Probation Financial Department.
YES! Criminal filings can now be done through PAC file, with the exception if there is a fee involved. We do not take online payments at this time. Attorneys, please visit the UJS portal to set up an account.
Please contact the Prothonotary's office, the civil division.
Please contact the Protection From Abuse department.
Please visit the free public website the UJS portal. Docket sheets can be viewed and printed. You can search the Magistrate or Common Pleas court system.
Please fill out the Record Request form. Once completed, you can either fax the form or bring it into the Clerk of Courts. Check the fee schedule for the cost.
Please contact Vital Records in Scranton at 570-963-4595 or visit the Vital Records website.
All lifting of driver's license suspensions for PennDot must be handled through the Luzerne County Adult Probation Financial Department.
There are different options to obtain a record check. You can either come in person to the Clerk of Courts or mail a request to the office. Please include your full name (maiden name also) and date of birth. The cost for a record check is $17.50. If you need certifications of any documentation, the fee is $8.50 per certification. This is either payable by money order, made out to the Clerk of Courts, or you can pay by cash. The record check is for Luzerne County only. If you want to do a statewide check on yourself, you can visit the State Police website to obtain that information.
Most custody orders are filed in the Prothonotary office. The Clerk of Courts might have certain custody orders that are pertaining to Children & Youth dependency cases.
If the case is still at the Magistrate court, you need to go there to post bail. Please check with the Magistrate on their procedure. Once the case proceeds to the Common Pleas court, you come into the Clerk of Courts to post bail. We only accept cash. Please bring valid ID or state issued driver's license. Bail can be posted Monday thru Friday 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you choose, you can also contact a bail bondsman.
No. Since Home Rule was enacted, those duties have been relocated from the Controller's Office to the Budget and Finance Department. The Controller's Office does not see or sign checks before they go out the door. Instead, we must audit after the fact.
Call or email the Budget and Finance department.
Please check the Purchasing department's section of this website.
Please click here to report it using our CESIL hotline.
Congratulations on your election! The first steps you will want to take will be to complete a criminal background check, get bonded for the proper amount, and complete a tax collector training course. You might also want to reach out to a current, experienced tax collector for helpful tips and guidance.
Yes, there is. Click here to view the Tax Collector's Manual.
Yes, we perform two types of audits regarding tax collection. The first is done yearly and is a Tax Collection audit. This looks at the amounts the County has collected from each of the tax collectors and compares it to what is reflected in the Treasurer's Office. The second is a Tax Collector audit. This type of audit looks specifically at a particular tax collector and is performed when we have the resources available to randomly audit or when we receive a tip. Additionally, a Tax Collector audit is always conducted when a tax collector leaves office.
Three tips we have noted that would ease the burden of a tax collector audit for both the tax collector and us are:
Yes, we do. We generally conduct several, random hotel audits each year.
Yes, click here to view the Hotel Tax Ordinance.
We have not yet begun to audit bed and breakfasts, but will in the future.
Currently, Airbnb has a contract with Luzerne County. This alleviates the stress of an audit on an individual host . Airbnb collects the hotel tax from the host and then passes it on to the County. When we audit, we will audit Airbnb, not the individual host. However, if the host does a portion of business using Airbnb and a portion independently, we can still audit the non-Airbnb portion of rentals for the purpose of conducting a hotel tax audit.
We will need the following for any hotel tax audit:
Either click here or on our CESIL tab to report suspected fraud or corruption. Give as many specific details as you can to support your assertion. If you want a response from us, please state that fact. We will take every measure to keep your identity anonymous, but if you request a response we cannot guarantee anonymity.
Also, keep in mind that a certain amount of time is needed for us to investigate, form a conclusion, and determine a plan. In other words, if the matter involves multiple people or is of an especially sensitive nature, this could necessitate a response that appears to be slower than normal. Have patience. Much work is done behind the scenes that we don't make visible.
Either click here or on our CESIL tab to offer your suggestion or observation. If you would like a response from us, please state that fact. We will automatically take every measure to keep your identity anonymous, but if you request a response, we cannot guarantee anonymity.
All final death certificates will be obtained from the funeral home or the PA Department of Vital Records.
Please download the form provided. Fax, (570-820-6319) the completed form and a completed copy of th death certificate to the office. We will provide written authorization to you and the crematory.
Dial 911 and the dispatcher will dispatch the appropriate resources from EMS, Police, and the Coroner’s Office.
No the Coroner’s Office WILL NOT recommend any funeral home over another. If needed the Coroner’s office will provide a family with a listing of the funeral homes in or near a certain community or the county.
Reports can be requested by calling the office and further instructions will be given to you.
If a death is pending investigation a pending investigation death certificate will be issued by the Coroner’s office to the funeral home so that the family may proceed with disposition of the body and other arrangements. Once the Coroner’s office investigation is completed or if cause and/or manner of death cannot be determine a final death certificate will be issued to the funeral home. The time it takes for a Coroner’s office investigation varies based on autopsy, toxicology, microscopic testing, along with the Law Enforcement investigation.
State, County, and Municipal entities are exempt from these damages through “Sovereign Immunity”.
Our responsibility is to repair the pothole (road surface) in a timely manner and as weather permits.
Please contact your insurance provider to seek repair for your vehicle.
For County-maintained roadways only, please call the Road and Bridge Supervisor at 570-825-1603 or send him an email at [email protected]. Include as much information as possible. Include the road name, distance from intersection or nearest house number and any other information that will help our crews find the location. Please do not assume someone else has reported it.
For State owned roads, report the problem to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIXROAD.
Contact your Township or Borough for municipal owned roads.
To report a tree across a County road or other dangerous condition, please call 911 to report the location.
To report an icy road that is hazardous, report it to Luzerne County 911 Center.
Please do not call the center to ask when your road will be plowed.
To report a light out on the Cross Valley Expressway send an email to the County Engineer describing the location of the light. Please include the direction of travel the light is on.
Yes. Please fill out the permit and send into the County Engineer's Office at 200 North River Street Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711.
To report a problem with a County owned bridge, send an email to the Road and Bridge Supervisor at [email protected] or call him at 570-825-1603.
Please see the list of our bridges to identify the one you're reporting.
Currently Chase Road is scheduled to be paved the second half of 2018.
If you believe a County plow truck damaged your mailbox (or other item), please send an email to the Road and Bridge Supervisor or call him at 570-825-1603. Include the location and date/time that the event happened. Also include a description of what was damaged. Include photos of the damage and any additional details that would be of assistance in the investigation.
Luzerne County owns 49 roads that total 124.7 miles. Please see the list.
To report a road water problem or blocked storm drain, please send an email to the Road and Bridge Supervisor or call him at 570-8251603. Please have the location and details of the water problem.
To report damaged or missing sign, please send an email to the Road and Bridge Supervisor or call him at 570-8251603. Please provide the location and type of sign damaged or missing.
To report a vegetation problem along a County Road, please send an email ([email protected]) to the Road and Bridge Supervisor or call him at 570-825-1603. Include the location and type of vegetation (tree limb, brush, grass, etc.).
To find out the right-of-way width of a County road, please contact the County Engineer. he can be reached at 570-825-1631 or email him.
Ensure all SALDO(Subdivision and Land Development Ordnance) Plans and submittals contain the following:
1) Theplan needs to be signed and sealed by a registered professional surveyor in theCommonwealth of Pennsylvania.
2) Allexisting parcels need to be listed in the plan.
3) Theplan needs to list what kind of permanent monument is placed at the property corners.
4) Theplan needs to include the FIRM, checked to determine the subdivision is notwithin the 100 yr. flood plain.
5) Theplan needs to include a Location Map that includes clearly labeled majorroadways.
6) Theplan needs to include existing Right-Of-Way widths.
7) Theplan needs to include contour lines or indicate site elevations within thesubdivision.
8) Allexisting utilities must be shown on the plan or provide a note indicating theydo not exist.
9) Includea copy of the property deed.
10) Provide the names and parcel numbersof the adjacent property owners on the plan.
11) Please indicate the ownership of theadjacent roadway.
12) The plan needs to include existingtopographic features.
Please contact the County Engineer prior to placing anything in the right-of-way of a County Road. This includes utility poles, mailboxes, signs, etc. Also contact him prior to cutting any County road. He can be reached at 570-825-1631 or email him at [email protected].
Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority is a separate organization now. They can be contacted at 570-208-6100 or Luzerne County Flood Protection.
Luzerne County is no longer coordinating the DCNR spraying program.
Additional information for homeowners is available at:
Penn State extension
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
The Gypsy moth spray Status Interactive Map maybe of interest.
With the passage of Act 33 in 1995, Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Act was amended and the mission of Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system was redefined to include the goals of Balanced and Restorative Justice. Under these principles, juveniles have an obligation to repair what they have harmed. One way to repair damage is by reimbursing the victim for financial losses suffered because of criminal behavior. Losses may include property, medical bills, home/car repairs, insurance deductibles, etc. Paying restitution is a way of taking responsibility, and a way to try to right the wrong.
These amounts are ordered by the Court at time of sentencing, thereby requiring payment on these amounts in full. Monthly payment plans are required and payments must be made completely and consistently to ensure compliance.
Restitution is determined when victims provide documentation of the value of items stolen or damaged and the costs incurred as a result of an offender’s criminal behavior. Determinations also take into account the amount of payment received, if any, from the victim’s insurance company.
If a case goes to Court, a claim for restitution made by a victim will be verified and the Court will determine and order the actual amount of restitution owed. For juveniles, if a case is handled at an Intake Conference, an Intake Officer will verify the amount of restitution owed by the juvenile offender.
Concerns about Court Orders should always be discussed with your attorney.
Once restitution has been ordered by the Court, your payments must be made through Probation Services, Court Collections Division. Payments will be recorded so that you receive credit and victims are paid in a timely manner.
The Court may order you to pay fines and costs, in addition to restitution, that must be paid in full. Pursuant to Act 35 of 1991, adult offenders owe monthly fee of $60 for supervision. This fee is assessed for all those with active supervision under Luzerne County Adult Probation and Parole. Juveniles with questions about fees are directed to contact 570-825-1835.
The Court Collections Division will determine suitable payment plans that are fair and reasonable to the offenders, victims, and Court to ensure payment is collected in full. Restitution must be paid in full before a case can be closed. All monies owed must be paid in full before petitioning the Court for a dismissal and expungement of ARD or PWOV. Payments will be required on a regular monthly schedule and in the amount directed. Payments should begin immediately after sentencing. Those who owe monies are encouraged to remit additional payments above and beyond their payment plan when possible. Juveniles remain on probation until the age of 21 if they do not fulfill the court ordered obligations. Juveniles must make all payments in full before a Consent Decree can expire.
Pursuant to 42 PA. C.SA. 9728 (b), all defendants who have been convicted by a Court of Common Pleas and subsequently owe more than a $1,000 in fines, costs, or restitution, will receive a civil judgment. The Clerk of Courts Office is required to file a civil judgment in the Luzerne County Prothonotary’s Office regardless of the existence of a payment plan or if payments are being made. Judgments are satisfied upon payment in full. For further information on judgments, contact 570-825-1774. Judgement will be filed against any juvenile offenders reaching the age of 21 who have not made payment in full.
Court Collections will monitor all cases for compliance. Failure to comply with payment plans may result in:
Failure to pay is a technical violation of your supervision. If restitution is not paid, a number of outcomes may result, those being:
Upon receiving information from the financial institution that a check will not be honored, the check writer will receive a notice. This notice will advise the check writer that the account for which they were trying to pay on will be assessed a $35 returned check fee. The check writer will have 3 days to make the check good, including on the payment of the returned check fee. Future personal checks will not be honored on the account. Individuals who fail to comply with the notice will be referred for criminal prosecution.
Changes in residence, phone number, and/or employment must be reported within 5 days:
Detailed reports may be requested in person, and are subject to a $0.25 per page fee, owed at the time of the request at:Department of Probation Services - Court Collections Division20 N Pennsylvania BoulevardPenn Place BuildingSuite 304 (3rd Floor)Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (excluding federal / legal holidays)
Juvenile offenders looking to request such copies should contact 570-825-1835 to ensure a report would be available upon reporting in person.
Victims with questions or concerns about receiving their payments should speak to the appropriate contact below:
You must be in compliance with your court ordered financial obligations to have your driver’s license reinstated. If you have your license reinstated and then fail to pay, PennDOT will receive notification to suspend your privilege indefinitely until paid in full. If you have questions about your license suspension, contact: 570-408-8586.
Written medical verification, from a physician, detailing the reason, duration, and work restrictions that pertinent to an offender’s ability to work and pay must be submitted to:Department of Probation Services - Court Collections Division20 N Pennsylvania BoulevardSuite 304Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
The payment plan will remain in effect and it will be expected that payments resume upon release.
Act 84 requirements will be in effective while an offender is incarcerated - 20% of inmate monies are forwarded for payment on the offender’s outstanding financial obligations to the Court.
Juveniles ordered to pay restitution should speak to their Probation Officer, who has access to special work programs. Probation Officers may be able to assist in finding employment or performing community service in order to satisfy restitution obligation. If you are too young to work, check with your parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, you may be able to do chores or other tasks to earn money.
The Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts provides each county with a county-specific list of potential jurors. The AOPC has received information from the Departments of Human Services, Transportation, Revenue, and State. Names are then chosen randomly from the list provided. Once you are selected for jury duty, your summons card is mailed to you. It is required that you respond to the summons within 7 days. The questionnaire establishes your eligibility to serve as a juror.
Free parking is provided in the County Parkade located at 5 Water St., behind the Bernard C. Brominski Building on North St., just before the Veteran's Memorial Bridge (Old Pierce Street Bridge). Juror parking behind the courthouse and next to the Annex Building on N. River St. is strictly prohibited. These areas are permit parking only. The only exception is for disabled individuals who have a placard and are parked in the designated areas. A fine of $25.00 or more will be imposed for parking in these areas.
Jurors will be dismissed for a lunch break, typically lasting one hour. There is a Cafe located in the basement of the courthouse. You are also permitted to leave the courthouse during your lunch hour.
Citizens 75 years or older, upon receipt of a juror summons, may request an age related excusal that will remove them from the current list of prospective jurors. A physician's note is not necessary in this situation. However, you are still eligible to participate in the juror process if you so choose.
The trial court judge requests a panel of prospective jurors from the larger group of potential jurors to begin the selection process in his/her courtroom. The jurors answer questions for the purpose of determining their ability to be fair and impartial. Usually a panel of 14 jurors is selected for a particular trial. The remaining jurors, who were not selected, return to the "Jury Pool" where their names may be selected for another trial.
The law prohibits any employer from preventing an employee to serve as a juror. The law also prohibits an employer from depriving a juror of benefits because of jury service, such as requiring you to use vacation time to serve.
Employers are not required by law to compensate you while serving on jury duty. Please check to see if your employer has a policy regarding juror compensation.
Pennsylvania law allows persons who have served as a juror a one-year exemption. If you are selected and serve on a jury for three days or more, you may be excused for a period of three years from the date of service.
Please enter through the rear of the courthouse, which is accessible from the underpass connecting the courthouse to Water St. Once you arrive, please report to the Jury Assembly area on the second floor of the courthouse. When exiting the elevator, you will see the entrance on your right. Please have your summons and a form of identification.
If you are selected as a trial juror, your service will generally be the length of that trial, which may take between 1 and 5 days, or in some cases longer to complete. If you are not selected as a trial juror, your length of service may also vary between 1 and 5 days. The normal working hours of the courts are 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM. However, if you are selected on a trial you may stay later than 4:30 PM.
Pennsylvania law provides the fee payment of $9.00 per day and $.17 per mile for the first three days of your service. After the third day of service, you will receive $25.00 per day in addition to your mileage. This rate is determined by the Pennsylvania State Legislature and is not determined by the court. On the Friday following the conclusion of your service, a check with your days of service and mileage reimbursement will be mailed to your residence.
A Jury Summons is a court order. Any juror who fails to appear when summoned may be subject to fines and/or other penalties.
Any request for postponement should be described in the remarks section of the questionnaire. If your request for postponement is approved, you will be transferred to a new service date and you will receive a follow-up notice from the Jury Board Personnel.
There are circumstances that would allow a juror to be excused from service. Any request for excusal must be provided in the remarks section of the questionnaire.
If there is a sudden emergency or illness that would prevent you from reporting on your scheduled date, please call the Jury Board Room at (570) 825-1696 so that we may accommodate you. Please do not email the Jury Board Room in this circumstance as your email may not be returned immediately.
Complaints regarding your Support Order must be in writing and must set forth as much information as possible. For your convenience, we provide a form at the DRS reception desk, for your use.
We will begin our investigation upon our receipt of your written complaint. You must be aware that each case is different and some cases require significant amounts of time to thoroughly investigate and resolve. You will be contacted as soon as is possible. Orders involving another Court outside of Luzerne County Pennsylvania may require a minimum of ninety (90) days.
Yes. Pennsylvania Law requires that all Support Orders entered (or modified) provide for a mandatory attachment of income. Employers have fourteen (14) days from the issuance by the Court Order to implement the attachment, and seven (7) days from the date the employee is paid to remit the support deduction to the Statewide Support Collection and Disbursement Unit in Harrisburg.
Both the Defendant and Plaintiff must contact the DRS immediately, in writing, upon change of employment or residence. The Court Order remains in effect and can be enforced through interstate wage withholding, transfer, registration or reciprocal action.
You must submit a written complaint showing the amount owed. The Court will send you a Medical Enforcement Form for the purpose of notifying the Defendant of the uninsured health care expenses. This form must be completed and provided to the Defendant by you no later than March 31st of the year following the calendar year in which the bill was received.
The party who arranges for the health care services shall submit the bills to the primary and secondary health insurance carrier(s) for payment. The Plaintiff must submit to the Defendant, within thirty (30) days of discovery, that an insurance company did not pay the full amount of any medical bill, copies of the bill, the insurance carrier's statement, and the completed Medical Enforcement Form, for reimbursement payment. It is suggested that you make copies of the bills, insurance statements, and Medical Enforcement Form so you can maintain accurate records of these expenses.
Upon receipt of the copies, the Defendant/Plaintiff has an additional thirty (30) days to remit their respective percentage of the uninsured medical expenses directly to the party who arranged for the health care services or to the provider of the service (doctor, hospital, dentist, etc.) along with a notice of payment to the other party.
Note: When the party who carries the health insurance receives payment for services rendered, payment shall be promptly made to the health care provider, as required. If payment is not made within thirty (30) days, a written request for enforcement of the uninsured expenses must be submitted to the DRS, enclosing a copy of the same Medical Enforcement Form, bills, and insurance statements in the complaint. The total balance due on each bill must be circled. The DRS may seek a Petition for Contempt of Court if the Defendant willfully fails to comply with the provisions within a Support Order for uninsured medical expenses. Please refer to the medical support enforcement guide for further information.
Yes, Other methods of collection are:
If certain Federal criteria is met, all Child Support cases with arrears of $150 or more owed to the Department of Public Assistance and $500 or more owed to the Plaintiff, will automatically be submitted, on an annual basis, for the IRS Tax Refund Offset Program (TROP).
The DRS may also seek a Petition for Contempt of Court for a Defendant who willfully fails to comply with the existing Support Order (financial, medical, etc.) or refuses to seek employment or job training. If the Court finds the Defendant to be in contempt, he / she may be committed to jail, placed on probation or fined. (The Court may impose all three). If a Defendant does not appear for their hearing, a Bench Warrant can be issued for his / her immediate arrest.
When an Order of Attachment is about to be or has been entered, an employer shall NOT use the attachment, in whole or in part, as a reason to demote, discharge, or take disciplinary action against the employee. If this occurs, the employer may be found to be in Contempt of Court and committed to jail or fined. Additionally, you, as an employee, have the right to sue your employer for damages resulting from a violation.
Support is based on the party's average monthly (net) income for the prior 6 months, calculated by subtracting from the gross income:
Other entitlements to money or lump sum awards, without regard to source, including lottery winnings, income tax refunds, insurance compensation or settlement; awards and verdicts and any form of payment due to and collectible by an individual regardless of source.
Other factors which may affect the calculation:
If paternity needs to be established, the Petition will be referred to the Paternity Support Officer for further action. If paternity is not an issue, your action will be scheduled for a support conference before a Conference Officer.
In most cases, our Conferences Officers are able to make a recommendation that is acceptable to both the plaintiff and defendant. In the course of your conference, your income and extraordinary expenses will be reviewed. Based on the facts given at that time, the amount of support to be paid/received will be recommended. If both parties agree to this recommendation, an agreement will be prepared and signed immediately, with instructions given for method of payment. This agreement will become an Order of Court after it is reviewed and signed by a Judge.
However, in those cases where an agreement cannot be reached, the Conference Officer, within 10 working days, will prepare a Proposed Order of Support and send it to the parties and their respective attorneys. Either party then has 20 days to file a written Request for a Hearing before our Master. A fee is charged. Once the Request is filed, the Proposed Order of Support becomes an Interim Order and support payments should begin immediately. If a defendant is employed, an Income Attachment will also begin immediately. If a Master's Hearing is not demanded, a final order will be entered in the amount of the Proposed Order of Support. A demand for a Master's Hearing must be filed with 20 days at the DRS Docket Office and a Master's Hearing will be scheduled.
At the conference, the Conference Officer will review the guideline calculation with you. These guidelines consider ordinary or normal expenditures, so that such expenses are not discussed during the conference, nor are they used to modify the guideline amounts.
No. If a Defendant quits his/her job or assumes a lower paying job, there generally will be no reduction or suspension granted. Also, no adjustment will be made in support payments for normal fluctuations in earnings. However, appropriate adjustments will be made for substantial continuing, involuntary decreases in income, such as unemployment.
No. In deciding whether to deviate from the amount of support determined by the guidelines, the DRS, in order to avoid an unjust or inappropriate award, will consider only the following factors:
Either party or both parties can be ordered to provide medical insurance for the children it is available at a reasonable cost either through their employment or a private carrier.
Expenses, such as mortgage payments, are already factored into the formula. The law assumes that the spouse occupying the marital residence will pay the mortgage, taxes, and insurance. Unreimbursed medical expenses of the obligee or the children shall be allocated between the parties in proportion to their respective net income. The Court may direct the obligor to pay his or her share either to the obligee or directly to the health care provider.
A special rule applies if your Order is dated on or after April 1, 1999. In those case, only annual medical expenses in excess of $250 per person, will be allocated in proportion to the parties net incomes. An annual limitation may be imposed when the burden on the obligor would otherwise be excessive. Medical expenses include insurance co-payments and deductibles and all expenses incurred for reasonably necessary medical services and supplies, including but not limited to surgical, dental and optical services, and orthodontia. Medical expenses do not include cosmetic, chiropractic, psychiatric or psychological services, unless specifically directed in the Order of Court. Refer to the Medical Support Enforcement Guide for further information.
Reasonable child care expenses paid by the custodial parent, if necessary to maintain employment or appropriate education in pursuit of income, are the responsibility of both parents. These expenses shall be allocated between the parties in proportion to their net incomes and obligor's share added to his or her basic obligation.
The Court may divide the cost, proportionately, between the parties, in light of the fact of the particular case.
23 Pa.C.SA4237 does not require parents to provide postsecondary (college) education to their adult children as this requirement violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Curtis v. Kline, 542 Pa.Super.249: 666 A2d 265 (1995). Absent a privately negotiated agreement between the parties, an obligation to provide college support is not a consideration that will be assessed by the Domestic Relations Section.
A person, including a minor, to whom a duty for support is owing:
Please note that an action can also be filed for medical support and past due child / spousal support.
A mandatory of $40.25 filing fee is .assessed on non-TANF (non-welfare) cases which is collected by the county as part of the Court order but is forwarded to the State.
You can file an action for support at the Intake Office of the DRS at our Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton offices. Appointments are suggested in the Hazleton Branch Office only as there is only one Intake Specialist available.
A current address or place of employment for Defendant is necessary. You should also provide social security numbers, telephone numbers, birth certificates, acknowledgement of patenity, divorce decree and dates of birth for yourself, all children and the Defendant. If the Defendant's address is unknown but his/her mother's maiden name and father's name is known, a parent locator can be filed in an attempt to locate him/her.
You should still file your complaint in Luzerne County. Our Intake personnel will advise you of all necessary procedures, but it varies depending on the circumstances.
In most cases, proceedings to modify or terminate a Support Order shall be brought in the Court that entered the Order. You must file a Petition for Modification or Termination through the Domestic Relations Sections. Write to your Support Officer to obtain these forms and to be advised of the appropriate procedure in your case.
A Support Order can be changed if there has been a "material and substantial change in circumstances since the order was made," such as the loss of a job or increased salary."
Note: Do not assume that your order will be changed automatically. In most instances, a support conference must be held to change any court order. The conference on the petition will not be scheduled until at least 180 days have passed since the existing order was issued.
Note: If arrears are still owed at the time a court order ends, payments will continue until the arrears are paid in full.
In this situation, both parents are obligated to pay support. The agency taking custody will file a Complaint with the Domestic Relations Section.
Note: Under the Federal and State law, all Support Orders on TANF (welfare) cases will be reviewed every three years.
Paternity for a child born outside of a marriage can be established by the following people:
Note: Paternity must be established before a child's 18th birthday. It is not uncommon for an action to be filed to establish paternity years after a child's birth.
Both parties have the right to an attorney to represent them in a paternity action. The DRS Staff Attorney will represent the plaintiff in the event of a paternity establishment court hearing.
A legal document called an "Acknowledgment of Paternity". By signing this document a Defendant acknowledges that he fully believes he is the natural father of a particular child. He is advised of his rights to legal counsel, genetic tests, and a Court hearing. These rights are waived if an Acknowledgment is signed.
If someone is not sure that he is the biological father of a child, the Court will order genetic testing. The Domestic Relations staff member will arrange the testing for you in a DRS case, after a complaint for support has been filed and a paternity conference conducted.
Genetic testing, typically oral swabs, are taken from the mother, alleged father, and child(ren). All parties are photographed. The mother and alleged father sign the packaged genetic samples, which are then sent to a laboratory for genetic testing.
A trained technician will take the necessary genetic samples, for analysis by a qualified laboratory accredited in paternity testing.
The genetic tests are coordinated through the assistance of the DRS Genetic samples can be taken from one party in one locality and the other party in another locality. The samples are packaged and sent to the laboratory for testing. The Military fully cooperates with scheduling genetic testing.
He is sent a notice of the action filed against him and given an opportunity to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity. If he questions paternity or fails to respond within 90 days and is still incarcerated, the DRS will arrange genetic testing.
There is no minimum age to perform genetic testing on a child.
At the present time, it takes approximately three weeks after DNA samples of all parties are collected for the results of a paternity test to be returned. Please do not contact Domestic Relations to inquire about paternity test results.
You will receive the results of the paternity test in the mail along with further court instructions. Please do not contact Domestic Relations to inquire about paternity test results.
The present cost is eighteen dollars and ninety-five cents ($18.95) per person for genetic testing, in DRS local cases. On cases involving other jurisdictions, the amount may differ. A DRS staff member can advise of the cost in your case. The Defendant will pay for the test, provided he or she is not excluded by the test.
In paternity disestablishment cases, the moving party must pay the cost of testing.
If he is excluded, the case is dismissed and the mother may name another alleged father.
A child inherits 50% of his/her genes from the mother and 50% from the father. Therefore, both parties need to submit genetic samples for testing. However, if the mother is absent and/or unavailable for testing, a motherless test can be completed.
Paternity should be established through the Courts so that the parents can be held legally responsible for their own children. The child will also gain many benefits from this process:
In Pennsylvania and most states, the birth certificate does not legally establish paternity nor does it obligate one to pay child support.
If the alleged father refuses to submit to testing, or fails to appear at the scheduled test, he will be found to be the legal father without further notice. If the plaintiff is receiving public assistance and refuses to submit to testing, her assistance grant could be discontinued.
All support payments should be made to Pennsylvania PA Child Support Program (SCDU). These support payments should be mailed to:Pennsylvania SCDUP.O. Box 69110Harrisburg, PA 17106-9110
The SCDU Customer Service and Payment Information phone number is 1-800-727-7238. The number is a toll free number and there is no charge to call. To ensure that you receive proper credit, you must use the coupons that were supplied to you. Please put your Pennsylvania Child Support Program (PACSES) Member Number and your social security number on you check. PACSES is the computer system that is operated by the state for support obligations; SCDU is the unit that processes support collections.
Support is deposited directly by State Collection and Disbursement Unit (SCDU) to either an EPPICard or electronic funds transfer to the clients bank account. An EPPICard is a debit card provided by Pennsylvania SCDU for deposit of child support payments. The method of receipt is chosen by the client at the time the case opens but can be changed at the client's request. The Pennsylvania Child Support System will automatically choose the EPPICard as the method of payment unless you decide to choose direct deposit to your bank account.
No. Do not pay support directly to the Plaintiff. If you do, you will not receive credit on your account.
Check amounts may vary because in cases where a person is a Defendant with multiple support orders, payments will be applied across cases. The Pennsylvania Child Support Program (PACSES) payment system ensures that each order receives a share of each payment. Payments will be divided proportionately, according to the amounts.
Example: If the Defendant / Payor has two support cases, (one in Luzerne County calling for $300 per month and a second case in Greene County calling for $100 per month) and a payment of $200 is received, the system will automatically apply $150 to the case in Luzerne County and $50 to the Greene County case (a 3 to 1 ratio). Even if the Defendant / Payor wanted all of the support payment to be posted on the Luzerne County order, the allocation of the payment must be made in accordance with PACSES regulations.
Support Payments are automatically posted to a payor's account upon receipt by Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit (SCDU). You may secure information regarding when a payment was posted and the amount of the payment by calling PA SCDU 24 hours per day 7 day per week at 877-727-7238.
Payment and case information may also be secured 24 hours per day 7 days per week by logging onto to the Pennsylvania Child Support Website. Payment information may also be sent to your email.
If you want information on a payment that was posted to your EPPICard, you may secure deposit and balance information at 800-304-1669.
Primarily, to assist emergency services in responding to emergency calls. An E-911 address helps emergency responders to locate residents. A faster response time can make a significant difference in survival and degree of recovery. However, E-911 location addresses are also often required for phone service, building permits, driver license renewals, land titles, loans, mail delivery, utility services, insurance companies and for other purposes requiring a site location.
An E-911 address is a site specific, locatable address. An E-911 address is assigned using a mileage measurement, accurate to 1/100th of a mile, to driveway on a named road. A 911 National Emergency Number Association (NENA) standardized measuring system standard is used. Measurements start at the south or west end of a through road. Driveways on the left side of the road are given even numbers and driveways on the right side of the road are given odd numbers, when possible.
People placing 911 emergency calls often have difficulty providing their addresses. Children, visitors, hearing or speech impaired callers, or callers in a life threatening situation, may not be able to provide address information to dispatchers. E-911 automatically gives the dispatchers the address, allowing them to send the appropriate fire, medical personnel, or law enforcement, even if the caller is unable to communicate.
Typically, the reason for a municipal change to your address means there is some type of public safety issue with the street you live on. The municipalities (a City, Boro or Township) are ultimately responsible for the naming and numbering of streets within their jurisdiction. The 9-1-1 center's role is to identify what is deemed a public safety issue and report it to the municipalities for correction. Ultimately, the final decision lies with the municipalities for all changes regarding naming and numbering street addresses.
Some issues that can be observed are:
Many addresses have been around for decades and in the past, were given out by the post office and other municipal officials. For delivery of mail, this did not pose such a problem because local mail carriers knew their mail routes. The 9-1-1 Data Department assists municipalities with identifying and correcting possible public safety issues within Luzerne County.
A physical address is the actual number and street name assigned to where you live, including the municipality. For example, "67 Lehigh Street, Fairview Twp" is a physical address. It is stating the number, the street name and the municipality of where the person is located. When calling 9-1-1, you should always use the physical address for the location you are calling from.
A mailing address is the number and street name assigned where you live, but includes the post office from where you receive your mail from and a zip code (which may include a Post Office Box). For example, 67 Lehigh Street, Mountain Top, PA 18707 is a mailing address. When calling 9-1-1, you should not refer to "Mountain Top, PA" as where you are located, because the term "Mountain Top" is the name used by the post office, and does not narrow down which Police, Fire or EMS department responds. For reference, there are 5 different police departments that make up the "Mountain Top" area, along with 5 Fire departments. This is why it is imperative to utilize your physical address when calling 9-1-1.
Luzerne County's "Countywide EMS Response Plan" was drafted by a committee of stakeholders and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) in October of 2016 to address the response times of both BLS (Basic Life Support) units and ALS (Advanced Life Support) units who are under the auspices of Luzerne County 9-1-1. The committee, with the assistance of Emergency Medical Services of Northeast Pennsylvania (EMS of NEPA), consists of both volunteer and paid agencies from all areas of Luzerne County including County 9-1-1 officials.
The Plan allows for an expedited response for residents when calling for an ambulance, as 9-1-1's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system chooses the next closest available agency when a primary unit isn't available, which expedites patient care. At this time, the distance based on the responding unit's station location to the municipality requiring a response.
The municipality that you reside in, (a City, Boro or Township) names who the primary responder is for BLS and/or ALS response. When that agency is not available, 9-1-1 has to send a "mutual aid" unit. By using the next closest available unit, it eliminates any issue of where the response is not set up in the best interests of the residents who dial 9-1-1 for help.
No, the EMS Plan strictly regulates EMS agencies only.
Smart911 is a free service provided to all residents of Luzerne County. You can create a free profile by going to their website: www.smart911.com . When you dial 9-1-1 from a landline or cell phone, the information that you have provided will populate to the dispatcher. Any information pertinent to your call, will be provided to the responders when necessary.
The great thing about Smart911 is that it allows you as the profile creator to put endless information into the profile of the phone number associated with the account. Some scenarios or situations that can benefit you and your family:
No one in Luzerne County or at the 9-1-1 center can see or access your profile information UNLESS you dial 9-1-1 and it presents to a calltaker's screen. The information is kept on a secure server, and can only be viewed when you dial 9-1-1.
If you dial 9-1-1 from a landline (a house phone), the owner's address information may populate to a dispatcher which can aid in location of the caller. However, when calling from a cell phone (mobile), 9-1-1 does not get any type of name, address or any other type of ownership information. 9-1-1 will at the minimum, receive the coordinates of the tower that your signal is hitting (known as Phase I). Most newer model cell phones will allow cell phone carriers to send 9-1-1 more precise coordinates, known as Phase II. This location is more specific to your location, but may not be exact.
When a Smart911 profile is created, the information you have added will populate to the dispatchers and allow a quicker confirmation of your location and gives the dispatchers vital information at their fingertips.
An overvote occurs when an individual indicates on his/her ballot a vote for more candidates than the number of candidates for which an individual is permitted to vote for a particular office.
When a voter overvotes for a particular office, all of the votes cast by that voter for the overvoted office are cancelled.
To avoid overvoting when on a punch card, optical scan or paper ballot voting system.
Overvoting should not be confused with undervoting. A voter undervotes when he casts fewer votes for a particular office than he is permitted to cast. Undervoting is every voter's right. No ballot or vote will be cancelled as a result of an undervote.
If you are confused as to whether you have overvoted or undervoted, please do not hesitate to ask for assistance from a member of the district Board of Elections.
It is recommended that you retain counsel to represent you in a custody action. An attorney is a valuable resource in navigating complex family law.
If you choose to represent yourself, a Complaint for Custody is available on the Pro Se Custody page. Please note that self-represented (pro se) litigants are held to the same standards as attorneys admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Representing yourself does not exempt you from understanding and following statewide and local Rules of Court.
If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney has the ability to request a modification on your behalf. Kindly contact your attorney and express your desire to modify your order.
If you are not represented and wish to present a Petition for Modification on a pro se basis, a petition is available on the Pro Se Custody page.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:45 to 9:15 on the third floor of the Brominski Building.
If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney has the ability to request a continuance on your behalf.
If you are not represented by an attorney, you must attend Family Court Motions to request a continuance from the presiding judge. You must complete and present the appropriate Motion for Continuance available on the Family Court Motions page.
All custody orders are filed by the Prothonotary's office. Located on the second floor of the Main Courthouse, copies may be obtained for a nominal fee. Family Court is unable to provide copies to you.
Adoption records are available form 1925 to the present. No records whatsoever are available prior to 1925.
Please be aware that adoption information is confidential and is strictly limited regarding what details can be released. Please visit the Adoption page for specifics regarding requests for information.
No, the Judge or Master is prohibited from speaking with you unless all parties involved in your matter are present. They are also prohibited from receiving letters and electronic mail regarding your case. All communication with a Judge or Master must occur during your hearing. Should you have concerns that must be addressed, please discuss the situation with your lawyer.
Generally, children should not be brought to a private (non-CYS) custody hearing unless you are instructed by the Court to bring them.
If children are required to attend a hearing, please prepare for an extended amount of time at the courthouse. You should always bring enough supplies, such as food and diapers, for several hours.
A child being adopted should always be brought to their adoption hearing.
Staff members are strictly prohibited from providing legal advice, as well as providing guidance in drafting and executing legal documents.
If you require assistance with your matter, please consult an attorney or other individual who can help you.
You may request a transcript of your proceeding before a Judge or Master by completing a Transcript Request Form.
No, Family Court does not provide pro se paperwork for divorce matters.
The Recorder of Deeds Office is the repository for documents primarily relating to real estate located in Luzerne County. The Recorder of Deeds Office records and maintains many kinds of legal documents, in addition to deeds.
The office records and keeps copies of land records including deeds, mortgages, mortgage assignments, mortgage releases, and mortgage satisfactions. We also record miscellaneous deeds and mortgages, leases, sales agreements, maps, easements, right of ways, and other assorted property-related documents. In addition to real estate documents, we record notary public commissions, bonds and commissions for elected officials, powers of attorney, court orders, affidavits, military discharges (DD-214), Uniform Commercial Code filings, and charter documents.
A certified marriage license can be obtained either in person at the office or by mail request at:200 N River StreetWilkes-Barre, PA 18711
There is a $25 fee made payable to the “Register of Wills” for a certified marriage license. Please provide the full name of the groom and the full name of the bride at the time applying for the license (include maiden name), as well as, the date of the marriage. If making a request by mail, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of the certification.
Please refer to any official paperwork you have received, contact your attorney, or contact Court Administration at 570-825-1500.
Yes you can!
Ceremonies are limited to the Courthouse Rotunda only. The rotunda is a spectacular, soaring area. The central arch of the rotunda and the staircases descending to it are a beautiful setting for the ceremony. Pictures are allowed inside the Courthouse, and the Courthouse grounds are open to the public for photos.
The Home Rule Charter establishes sweeping and necessary reforms to our broken system of county government. The Charter minimizes the role of damaging political influences in day-to-day county decision-making, establishes a professional and modernized government to handle county affairs, limits annual increases in real estate tax revenues, and fixes serious inefficiencies in the organization and operation of county government. The Charter also creates expanded opportunities for citizens to participate in county government, provides for greater representation, and prevents the entrenchment of a political class.
Learn more by visiting our Home Rule Transition page.
Yes! The agency always tries to place foster children in their home school district and in foster homes which are best suited to meet their particular needs. Attempts are always made to place siblings together in the same foster home.
Yes! Foster children range in age from infancy through adolescence. Foster families inform the agency of their desired age group and sex of the child.
If the primary goal of reunification cannot be achieved, then a permanent placement is pursued. Foster parents are given the option to adopt foster children when / if the agency seeks an alternative plan.
The agency pays a daily rate for each foster child and pays for clothing, medical and dental needs. Foster families also can receive mileage reimbursement when transporting children for healthcare services. Every foster family is assigned a worker to help provide support, direction, and training.
You can reach out by calling, 570-826-8718. This line is checked almost daily and calls are returned as soon as possible. Please don’t be discouraged that you have to leave a voicemail.
While the primary goal of all children is usually reunification with their families, this does not always happen. If the goal of the child changes from reunification to adoption, then adoption would be offered to the foster family.
GIS is a tool that displays and analyzes mapping data to obtain more information about features. The main software package that we use is called ArcGIS and is purchased from ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute).
GIS generally uses two forms of data; spatial and attribute.
Shapefiles are computer files that produce images for users in a GIS environment. There are three primary types of shapefiles that are used in GIS.
There are additional file types that must be used together in order for a GIS system to display the data. Common file types are .shp, .shx, .sbn, .dbf, etc.
Simply put, spatial data is any data that can be mapped. It contains information about the location and shape of a geographic feature and the association between the two (stored primarily as geographic coordinates and topology).
Attribute data consists of non-spatial information about a geographic feature. This data is usually stored in a table and linked to the geographic feature via a unique identifier.
Maps can now be viewed at home using our free GIS/Mapping Department Online GIS Portal. These maps include Tax Parcel outlines (Parcel Identification Numbers [PIN] & Owner Name) as well as Spring 2016 Aerial Photography and Water Features. Maps with additional information (such as Deed Book and Page, Acreage, etc.) can currently be viewed at the courthouse and can be printed out for $5.
Note: Luzerne County GIS/Mapping Department maps are for assessment purposes only - not to provide engineering data.
Contact the mapping department by phone, email, or in person at our mapping counter located on the ground floor of the Luzerne County Courthouse. Our mapping analysts will be more than happy to assist you.
Luzerne County's most current high-resolution aerial imagery was taken in the Spring of 2016.
Geographic data for hundreds of sources is available for free from sources such as PASDA (Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access), DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) Open Data, PennDOT Open Data, etc.
If your property has been surveyed engineering quality maps may be recorded at the Recorder of Deeds. Otherwise you may need to contact a surveyor.
Please call the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Scranton at 570-963-4595.
Please call 570-826-8800, Ext. 2828
Please call the Luzerne County Assistance Office at 570-826-2100 or visit 205 South Washington Street, Wilkes Barre, PA 18711. The County Assistance office is not a department of the Human Services Division. Our offices are not connected and we cannot transfer the call.
Please call Domestic Relations at 570-822-0600 or visit the Brominski Building, 113 West North Street, Wilkes Barre, PA 18711.
Please call Recorder of Deeds/Register of Wills Office at 570-825-1672. They can tell you exactly what is needed when applying for a marriage license. The office is located at the corner of River and Jackson Streets, Wilkes Barre, PA 18711.
Please call Court Administration at 570-825-1596.
You can purchase a Dog License on the second floor of the Penn Place building located at 20 North Pennsylvania Ave, Wilkes Barre, PA. Call ahead for times and costs. 570-825-1764.
Please call the Tax Claim Bureau at 570-825-1512.
The purpose of Luzerne County Specialty Court, like any other Mental Health Court/Specialty Court, is to link offenders with mental health needs who would ordinarily be prison-bound to long-term community-based treatment. They rely on thorough mental health assessments, individualized treatment plans, and ongoing judicial monitoring to address both the mental health need of the offenders and public safety concerns of the community. The client monitoring is accomplished through a team approach including comprehensive supervision, mental health counseling, medications treatment services, and immediate sanctions and incentives. Currently, there are over 160 mental health specialty courts across the country, and more are being planned.
Yes! Our Children and Youth agency always tries to place foster children in their home school district and in foster homes which are best suited to meet their particular needs. Attempts are always made to place siblings together in the same foster home.
Please call the Children and Youth Foster Unit at at 570-826-8718. This line is checked daily and calls are returned as soon as possible. Please don’t be discouraged that you have to leave a voicemail.
Yes, kinship resources do not have to be blood related.
Please call the Children and Youth Kinship Unit at at 570-826-8710.
Don’t worry. We contact you. The Juvenile Defender Unit (JDU) receives a copy of every Juvenile Written Allegation approved by the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. A juvenile defense attorney is automatically assigned to the case and a confidential office interview is scheduled in our welcoming conference room or if the juvenile is detained, the interview takes place with the juvenile in custody. The same attorney stays with the client throughout the life of the case, including the receipt of additional or new charges. The client is however always free to hire private legal counsel at any time.
No. The Juvenile Defender Unit (JDU) staff handles appeals of summary offense convictions from a Magisterial District Court for all juveniles, ages 10 to 17. Thus, if you are unhappy with your result in DJ Court, please contact us to file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas for a re-hearing for you, which must be filed within 30 days of conviction. Thus, please don’t delay in contacting us.
Don’t worry. You automatically qualify for an attorney. For criminal charges directly filed in adult Criminal Court against a juvenile, ages 15 to 17 at time of the offense, please come directly to our office or if in custody, your application will be taken by our staff. You will be assigned two attorneys: one specializing in juvenile defense and one focusing on defense in the criminal system.
The Juvenile Defender Unit's (JDU’s) professional team comprises experienced full-time attorneys, social workers and investigators, exclusively trained in meeting the particularized needs of developing adolescents.
Legal representation can begin early if police want to question a juvenile about alleged delinquent or criminal activity. If the police are seeking to question a juvenile (ages 10 to 17) residing in Luzerne County, please contact us personally by telephone at 570-830-5116 or visit our office.
Otherwise, representation begins when the young person receives a Juvenile Delinquency Written Allegation.
The JDU team immediately gets to work on a comprehensive case plan for the client, including a thorough assessment of the juvenile’s background and social history, which allows the attorney to best advocate for the client’s individualized expressed interests.
The Unit works diligently to investigate disputed factual issues, advocates for diversion from the system if appropriate, attends all intake interviews with probation staff, requests records if necessary, files pre-trial motions and performs pre-adjudication and trial preparation. The interdisciplinary team approach continues throughout the life of the case until termination of the Court’s jurisdiction, which may include trial work, appeals, disposition planning, post-disposition advocacy and expungement.
The Juvenile Defender Unit (JDU) strives to provide quality and effective legal representation and to professionally and personally attend to the needs of each young person to prevent recidivism, to help them develop competencies to become productive members of society and to avert them from entering the criminal justice system as adults.
The Juvenile Defender Unit (JDU) has created “Your Guide to Juvenile Court (PDF),” a booklet that explains the Juvenile Court process, the rights of juveniles, and their legal options in simple and easy-to-understand language. It is given to our clients at the initial office meeting and serves as a handy refresher to have at home.
The Luzerne County Bar Association has been awarded by the Pennsylvania Bar Association for donating the printing costs of this invaluable tool.
In addition to their professional law school doctorate, master’s level and/or bachelor level college degrees, licensures and years of experience, the Juvenile Defender Unit (JDU) staff actively attends training seminars sponsored by:
The training seminars are held to ensure that staff has the most up-to-date legal knowledge available in the juvenile justice community. The staff has also participated as course presenters and organized local juvenile defense legal training.
The Unit works with juvenile human service providers to remain knowledgeable about the services offered. These efforts allow our clients to receive the most effective and individualized services available to meet their needs. Staff periodically travel to residential treatment providers and meet with local service providers to ensure that they have current awareness and familiarity of the programs offered.
The Unit attends roundtable meetings with the Juvenile Court Judge, the District Attorney’s Office, the Juvenile Probation Office, and various juvenile service providers to discuss ways to improve the system. The JDU also participates in the Luzerne County Juvenile Justice Task Force, the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) law enforcement / youth training project, and has representation in local and state committees and agencies involving juvenile justice issues. We take an active role in voicing the collective needs of our clients to system partners whenever possible.
It is in your best interest to contact the Kinship Care Unit, who can further explain your options and find what is best suited for your unique situation. Call us at 570-826-8710.
This is based on a case by case basis. You are not automatically disqualified with a past Children and Youth history.
No, once you choose either Informal or Formal, there is no option to switch. This is why it is important to know all of your options.
You can either contact the caseworker that is working with the family that placed the child into out-of-home placement or contact the Kinship Unit at 570-826-8710.
Treatment Court is a program for adult residents of Luzerne County who have been charged with non-violent offenses which were related to their addiction to drugs or alcohol. Treatment court uses a team approach to provide comprehensive supervision including frequent drug testing, a continuum of treatment services, and immediate sanctions and incentives designed to help addicts begin to lead sober and productive lives.
Eligible applicants must be residents of Luzerne County, at least 18 years of age, who have committed non-violent crimes as a result of their drug or alcohol addictions. Eligible offenders will not have current charges or past convictions for violent offenses as defined by Federal Statute or by the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. Offenders with felony sexual offenses, drug trafficking or DUI charges will also be ineligible. Ideally, offenders will apply to Treatment Court as close to the date of arrest as possible.
In order to be accepted into Treatment Court you must enter a guilty plea to your current charges. Sentencing will be deferred until your graduation or termination from the program. If you successfully reach graduation, then your charges will be dismissed. If you remain crime and drug free during your post-graduation tracking period of 1 to 3 years then you may petition the Court to have your charges expunged (removed from your record). If you fail to comply with the program rules to the point of termination, then your guilty plea will be accepted by the Court, and you will be sentenced on your charges.
Participants of Treatment Court are held accountable for program compliance at all times. When you first enter Treatment Court you will be required to attend weekly court sessions, weekly meetings with your Probation Officer and Case Manager, treatment sessions as prescribed, peer-support meetings, and you will be subject to frequent random drug testing. As you successfully progress through the program the frequency of appointments will gradually decrease.
In addition to following all program rules, you will also be required to maintain regular employment, make payments on your court costs, restitution, child support, and a program fee of $10 per week. You will be immediately sanctioned for any violations (ex. writing an essay, community service, house arrest, incarceration) and you will be rewarded for program compliance and achievements (e.g. verbal praise, small tokens, gift cards, reduction in fees).
Participation in Treatment Court requires a commitment of at least 12 months, but may take longer depending on your compliance. In order to graduate from the program, you must:
If you meet initial eligibility criteria, you may request referral and application forms, or an appointment to complete your application by contacting Treatment Court Coordinator, Kelly J. Cesari, at 570-408-8180 or by sending in-house mail from Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Instructions for submitting the completed forms are included on the application.
Download Treatment Court Application Form (PDF)
The Nursing Home Transition Program serves nursing home residents age 18 or older living in Luzerne / Wyoming Counties. A Transition Coordinator is available to visit residents who have expressed a desire to return to the community. The Transition Coordinator gathers information about community resources and collaborates with a Transition Team chosen by the resident.
The consumer will provide direction regarding the discharge to the community. The transition team will consist of the consumer, the transition coordinator and nursing home staff, including social work, physical therapy and nursing.
With the help of the Transition Team, the resident receives information about his/her specific care needs, safety issues, and services available in the community. The resident then decides whether it would be best to transition to the community or remain in the nursing home.
The Nursing Home Transition Coordinator is directed by the resident to help with arrangements for housing, in-home services, help from family or friends, and transportation services depending on what the resident’s specific needs in the community will be.
The Prothonotary is the Chief Clerk of the Civil Court. The word is of Greek origin, and it means "First Clerk." The Prothonotary's office of Luzerne County is responsible for filing, storing, and distributing official civil documents.
All official civil records are filed in our office. These include but are not limited to: civil lawsuits, protection from abuse matters, divorce and custody matters, liens (including municipal, state and federal liens), mortgage foreclosures, executions and appeals from magistrate decisions.
Many of our documents are currently available online. The Prothonotary's Office began its computerization on March 1, 2005, and all documents filed on or after that date are available for electronic searching. Some records prior to March 1, 2005 may also be found on line.
The office has several public work stations available to use.
All of the records maintained by the Prothonotary are available to the public unless they are sealed by the Court, law or involve mental health matters.
We will certify documents filed in our office. For a current list of fees for certification, please refer to our current fee schedule. You may request certified copies of documents by mail or in person.
Our office accepts Visa, Master Card and Discover credit cards. Cash or money orders are also accepted. The office does not accept personal checks.
No. The staff of the Prothonotary's Office is prohibited from providing legal advice or helping individuals to file documents. If you choose to represent yourself in a lawsuit, it is your responsibility to educate yourself on the appropriate rules of civil procedure and local rules.
Click the link above to go to the application
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PUBLIC DEFENDERAPPLICANTS
(18 years of age and older)
1. The application must be completely filled out. It can not be mailed or faxed into the office unless it is from a prison or a detention facility.
2. The applications will only be accepted between 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Public Defender’s Office
3. If you are incarcerated, you MUST provide your homeaddress, not the prison.
4. The application MUST be signed where indicated. Yourapplication will not be accepted unless it is completed and signed.
5. An applicant is eligible for Public Defenderrepresentation if, and only if, he or she is indigent and as a result, cannotafford to hire an attorney to represent him or her. Indigency is determined bya number of factors, including, but not limited to, income, assets andliabilities, nature of charges, and federal poverty guidelines.
6. As part of the application process, all applicants shall be required to submit the following information:
* Driver’s License or Photo Identification
* Criminal Complaint and Affidavit
* Prior years Federal Income Tax Return
* Pay stubs for last three weeks
* Current social security or unemploymentstatements
* Current welfare statements (food stamp orcash assistance)
* Property tax for any and all property owned
* Balance of mortgage on property
* Car payment bill
* If married, Federal Income tax for spouse
* Letter stating financial support for thosestating no income and a copy of the photo ID from the person providingfinancial support
* Current financial information as requested
*If financial information cannot be provided,you must provide a reason for your inability to provide this information.
7. Noapplication for Public Defender shall be approved unless and until therequested financial information is provided.
8. The Public Defender shall re-examine eligibility asdeemed necessary.
9. If there are any changes in your financialcircumstances, you are obligated to notify the Public Defender’s Officeimmediately. Failure to do so can result in termination of Public Defenderrepresentation.
There are currently 29 attorneys in the Office of the Public Defender. The attorneys have a wealth of legal experience, training and knowledge as more than half of our staff attorneys have fifteen to forty years of legal experience. In addition to their professional law school doctorate, master’s level and/or bachelor level college degrees, licensures and years of experience, the staff attorneys are committed to attending continuing legal education training seminars by such entities as: the nationally-recognized Gideon’s Promise, the Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Public Defender’s Association of Pennsylvania, the Juvenile Defender’s Association of Pennsylvania and the National Juvenile Defender Center, to ensure they have the most up-to-date legal knowledge available in the defense community.
Please call our main office line at 1 (570) 825-1754, stop by our office in person, or email or write to us.
In accordance with the Pennsylvania Public Defender Act, we will provide legal counsel for critical pretrial identification procedures and also for police questioning. We also attend preliminary arraignments at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. If you are facing the possibility of criminal charges, it is imperative that you contact our office as soon as possible.
Otherwise, as soon as you receive criminal charges, you should apply to our office immediately without delay so we can start working on your case.
A Public Defender will represent you at all stages of criminal, juvenile delinquency, state parole and mental health involuntary commitments proceedings, protect your legal rights, zealously advocate for you and work diligently to help you with your case.
Nothing. We provide free legal services to qualifying applicants. Thus, you must apply to our Office to be deemed eligible for services. All juvenile clients qualify for representation, regardless of parental income.
You will have a Public Defender until the completion of your case or until you are sentenced and for the appeal of any trial or sentencing issues. After you are sentenced and if a probation or parole violation is alleged against you, you must contact our office and you must apply for re-eligibility for services. Please do not delay in contacting our office if this happens to you.
Don’t worry. We contact you. The JDU receives acopy of every Juvenile Written Allegation approved by the District Attorney’s Officefor prosecution. A juvenile defense attorney is automatically assigned to thecase and a confidential office interview is scheduled in our welcomingconference room or if the juvenile is detained, the interview takes place withthe juvenile in custody. The same attorney stays with the client throughout thelife of the case, including the receipt of additional or new charges. Theclient is however always free to hire private legal counsel at any time.
No. The JDU staff handles APPEALS of summary offenseconvictions from a Magisterial District Court for all juveniles, ages 10 to 17.Thus, if you are unhappy with your result in DJ Court, please contact us tofile an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas for a re-hearing for you, whichmust be FILED within 30 days of conviction. Thus, please don’t delay incontacting us.
You automatically qualify for an attorney. For criminalcharges directly filed in adult Criminal Court against a juvenile, ages 15 to17 at time of the offense, please come directly to our office or if in custody,your application will be taken by our staff. You will be assigned twoattorneys: one specializing in juveniledefense and one focusing on defense in the criminal system.
The JDU’s professional team comprises experienced full-time attorneys,social workers, support staff and investigators, exclusively trained in meetingthe particularized needs of developing adolescents.
Once the application with the required paperwork is submitted, it would take 48 hours for the approval process.
All Bids and RFPs are posted on the County website at http://www.LuzerneCounty.org/Purchasing. You can also receive e-mails when a bid or RFP is posted in a category in which you are interested by signing up at http://www.LuzerneCounty.org/Bids.aspx.
Yes. All proposals must be entirely completed and attached forms signed by a designated officer of the company.
Proposals are to be placed in a sealed envelope with the provided mailing label attached to the outside of the envelope. The mailing label must include vendor name and Bid I RFP title.
Yes. Proposal can be hand delivered to Luzerne County Purchasing, 20 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 203, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711
BIDS are due at or before 10:30AM. RFPs are due at or before 4:00PM on the due date.
One (1) Original and Three (3) Copiers for a total of Four (4) copies.
All BIDS must include a Ten (10) Percent Bid Bond or a Certified Check made payable to Luzerne County. For all Unit Price BIDS, Vendors must include a Certified Check in the amount of $50.00 payable to Luzerne County.
A new vendor must submit an IRS W-9 Form and a Vendor Application to the Luzerne County Purchasing Department.
The Recorder of Deeds Office is the repository for documents primarily relating to real estate located in Luzerne County. The Recorder of Deeds Office records and maintains many kinds of legal documents, in addition to deeds.
Luzerne County was incorporated in 1786. The first document was recorded at the Recorder of Deeds Office in 1787, and the office has been recording and maintaining records for the county since that time.
The deeds, mortgages and other miscellaneous documents, from the time period of 1787 through August 1993 are kept in bound books located at the Records Center in Hanover Township, with microfilm backups kept in a safe location for historical retention. Deeds and Mortgages from 1968 through the present are kept on our Landex computer system, with disc and microfilm backups. Deeds from 1787 to 1967 can also be found on the IQS efilm reader.
All records (except for military discharges) are public and anyone can access them. You may visit the office in person or you can get a copy mailed or faxed to you. The Recorder of Deeds Office is open from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., except for legal holidays. Luzerne County usually posts in advance in the newspaper the days that county offices will be closed. It may be a good idea to call the office at 570-825-1641, if you have any questions regarding whether we will be open or closed on a certain date. For an individual who wishes to obtain a copy of one document, a visit to the office or a mail request is recommended. In the office, retrieval stations with the ability to print copies at the price of $0.50 cents per page are available for public use, and photocopiers are available to copy pages from the books at the cost of $0.50 cents per page.In order to have the document mailed to you, you must make the request in writing and enclose the fee for this service. We must have the name, book and page number, and a self-addressed stamped envelope of sufficient size. The current fee for mailed documents is $5 for the first page, $2 each additional page and $2 to certify the document, if needed. You can get a copy faxed to you if you have the book and page number. The fee for this service is currently $2 per page. We cannot certify copies sent by fax. All of our computerized documents are also accessible through the Landex Remote; Landex Webstore and IQS Efilm Reader. The Landex remote access is most beneficial for individuals or companies who expect to access our records on a regular basis.
Information is indexed by the names of the grantor (seller) and mortgagor (borrower) and the grantee (buyer) and the mortgagee (lender). Prior to September 1993, the older books are grouped by years. Information after September 1993 is located on our computer system. To locate a deed or mortgage you must know the name of one of the persons involved and also the approximate year of the transaction.
Sorry, we cannot offer legal advice. Often the Recorder of Deeds Office will receive requests from the public to prepare deeds for them, determine if there are any liens against their property, or determine if a piece of land has been subdivided. Unfortunately, the Recorder of Deeds and the staff here are not authorized to do any of the above activities.
Office employees are not permitted to perform search work. A title search is a complicated process that includes searches in several other county offices, including , the Recorder of Deeds, Prothonotary, Tax Claim Bureau, Register of Wills, and others. For more information regarding previously recorded papers you must come to the office or hire a title searcher, title insurance company, or attorney.
Yes, general information can be obtained by phone at 570-830-5156, but for more detailed information you should come into the office or retain a title searcher or attorney.
Sorry, we do not provide blank forms or paperwork.
Sorry, the Recorder of Deeds Office does not provide notary services.
A person is not required to file a deed in the Recorder of Deeds Office, the document is still binding; however, it is strongly recommended. By filing your deed and making it public record, you are shown to be the record owner of your property. One good reason to file is that the former owner can continue obtaining mortgages or judgements against your property since records in the courthouse would show that he/she still owned it. For further information, you should consult an attorney for a better explanation of the consequences of not recording a deed.
Recorder of Deeds Office maintains copies of all documents recorded in the office. We do not keep original documents; they are returned to the person who recorded the document at the time of recording. You may obtain a copy of your deed in person or by mail at:
Recorder of Deeds200 N River StreetWilkes-Barre, PA 18711
In Office copies are $0.50 per page, check or cash
By Mail copies are $5.00 first page and $2.00 each additional page, check or money order
On Landex Webstore through credit card
This is currently not typical business practice in Pennsylvania. The property records stored in the Recorder of Deeds Office are for the parcels of property located in the county and the ownership of the parcel does not change if you erect on the lot - whether currently existing or if they are added at a later date. Check your deed for exceptions.
Recorder of Deeds Office cannot prevent newspapers or the public from accessing and sharing the information that is public record in our office. The only exception is military discharge information (this is impounded and therefore confidential).
You may prepare your own deed, however, we strongly recommend that you seek the assistance of a real estate professional like an attorney or title company for deed preparation.
The only way to correct a deed is by recording a new deed. In this case, it is known as a deed of correction.
You cannot alter any documents once they have gone on record. In order to replace the current deed for your property to reflect changes or corrections you will need to have a new deed prepared and recorded in this office. The only way to change the owner of record in the Recorder of Deeds Office is to have a new deed prepared, signed, and notarized. The Recorder of Deeds Office does not prepare legal documents; you simply bring your executed deed to our office when it is ready to record.
Generally it is not, if husband or wife held the property jointly as tenants by entireties. If the survivor sells or mortgages the property, he or she simply explains in the new deed or mortgage that the other spouse is deceased. There could be a special instance when, because of a legal situation, the name should be deleted. You should consult your attorney.
It is not legally required, but again, because of a particular situation, it might be desirable. Consult your attorney.
No. Records in the Courthouse show your original deed and the deed(s) for portions sold. Anyone searching records simply deducts the land you sold from the original deed. If you choose you may have a new deed prepared and recorded. You should consult an attorney if you decide to do this.
There is a state tax and a municipal tax each amounting to 1% of the value of the property or interest being conveyed (that is 2% total). For properties located in Wilkes-Barre City, the municipal tax is 2.5% (that is 3.5% total); for properties located in Kingston Borough and Pittston City, 1.5% (that is 2.5% total). This value is not necessarily the sale price of the property; it may be computed on the fair market value of the property if the property is a gift, or under other special circumstances.
The state and local governments do not care who pays it as long as it is paid. The Recorder of Deeds Office cannot accept a deed unless the tax is paid at time of recording. In most sales agreements, the seller and the buyer split the tax.
Some transactions are realty transfer tax-exempt. Conveyances between husband and wife, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, and brothers and sisters are generally exempt from transfer tax. There are some other exemptions allowed in certain situations. It is best to consult your attorney, contact our office, or contact the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue regarding special circumstances for exemptions or a partial exemption.
This is a specified Pennsylvania Department of Revenue form that is used either to set the value of the property being conveyed or to give the reason for exemption. A Statement of Value Form must be presented in duplicate at time of recording and is forwarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
A statement of value is required anytime the transfer tax is not paid or anytime the true value of the land is not shown on the deed (such as in a $1 consideration). State investigators then check the property and see if the value is as stated or if the reason given for exemption is valid.
We do not typically record deeds for cemetery plots. A deed to a cemetery lot usually only gives you permission to use the ground. The cemetery still retains title to the ground. Such “Deeds” or “Titles” are maintained in the offices of the cemetery company.
Actually, your original deed is returned to the person who presented it for recording at the time of recording. Even if you have a mortgage, secondary mortgage, or home equity loan outstanding on your home, you are still the owner of the property. You don’t get a new deed issued to you when you pay off a loan; your deed at time of purchase is still your deed.
The lender, also called the mortgagee, upon receiving all of the money due under the terms of your loan, is required to draft a satisfaction piece. In order to satisfy the mortgage of record and to show that the borrower, also called the mortgagor, has fully paid the loan, the satisfaction piece must be filed in the Recorder of Deeds Office. The lender may send the satisfaction piece directly to the Recorder of Deeds to be recorded, or they may send the satisfaction to the borrower, namely, you.
By sending the unrecorded satisfaction to the borrower, the lender places the responsibility of recording on the borrower. Upon making the final payment, contact your lender to see how the satisfaction of the loan will be handled. If you receive satisfaction papers in the mail from your lender and you cannot determine whether they have been filed or not, please contact our office and we can check the status of your mortgage for you.
The document may be presented at the front counter or mailed to the courthouse for recording at:
Please see our fee schedule (PDF) or call the office for more information.
No, but it is to your benefit. It will establish a clear title to your property.
Except mortgages, most liens are filed in the Prothonotary’s Office, not in the Recorder of Deeds Office. You can check with them for liens filed against you there.
Your deed will give you the legal description of your property but a surveyor is needed to use this information to actually locate your property lines and place stakes or other markers to indicate them. In some cases surveyors can locate markers that have already been placed when the lot was originally surveyed. We recommend that you have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, like a professional surveyor, help you determine the boundary lines of your property.
It is difficult to determine the age of a house by checking deeds since a deed is typically intended to describe land and not the buildings erected on the land. Some deeds may mention when the structure was built and what type of structure is present. Recent recordings tend to give you less detailed information than the older deeds.
The price of the conveyance may enable you to make a determination or a good guess as to when the structure was built. It is also possible that the municipality that you reside in may have this information on file, depending on the age of the house. In addition, the Luzerne County Assessor’s Office may also be helpful for information concerning more recent buildings.
Following the legal description in your deed, there is a section known as “recital.” It usually begins with the word “Being…” This clause states the prior owner and how they obtained title to the property, i.e., deed book volume and page, date of deed and the recording date. You simply continue to go back and find the same information on each preceding transaction involving your property.
Our records are by name or property identification number(1993 forward), not location. That information is found in the Assessment Office. The Recorder’s indexes list all property transactions involving a particular person’s name.
Contact your State Senator or you may fill out an application, obtain the appropriate signatures and submit it to the address on the form.. More information can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State, Notaries Division. There are organizations that will assist you in becoming a notary and offer services after you have been appointed as a notary. Some of these organizations are The Pennsylvania Association of Notaries (PAN), and The National Notary Association (NNA), and the American Society of Notaries (ASN).
Once you completed the requirements for appointment as a notary public by the Commonwealth of PA, you have the responsibility to obtain a surety bond from a licensed insurance agent and to present all of your paperwork to the Recorder of Deeds Office within 45 days of appointment. An official from the Recorder of Deeds Office will swear you in as a notary public and administer the oath of office to you. The fee for recording a notary bond and commission is $33.50. After your commission is filed, you must report to the Luzerne County Prothonotary to file your signature card.
If you move within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you may file a notary public change of address form with the Recorder of Deeds of the county in which you will be residing. The recording fee in Luzerne County is $23.50, but it varies from county to county, so it may be beneficial to call ahead if you are seeking to file a change of address in another county. You must notify the Department of State of your move by mailing a copy of the change of address form to the address listed on the form.
If you legally change your name, you must file a notary public change of name form with the Recorder of Deeds Office. You must also notify the Department of State of your name change. The fee to file in Luzerne County is $23.50.
Subdivision plans must be 24 by 36 inches. We need the original on Mylar / Vellum or heavy weight paper (see the fee schedule). The plans must be signed and sealed by the local governing body. It must then be signed by the local planning commission, the Luzerne County Planning Commission, the owner, and a notary, along with the signature of the surveyor and the surveyor’s seal. If the plans were approved, signed and sealed by the governing body more than 90 calendar days, we cannot accept them for recording per Act 247.
Yes, in accordance with Act 247 Pennsylvania Municipality Code and Municipal Ordinances. Again, see the Luzerne County Planning Commission for details.
Get some cheap cat litter, (something that is clay best works best). Open paint can and pour cat litter into can, (just enough to absorb the paint), leave uncovered out to dry. Once paint has hardened or solidified, place container out with your regular garbage. Place the lid in your regular garbage. We do not recommend putting out more than three containers at one time.
The county will not be holding an electronics recycling event again, however, we urge everyone to contact your local municipality and encourage them to consider holding a collection for their residents. Every towns has received correspondence from the county on what needs to be done to hold a collection for their residents.
The 2018 Tire Recycling Event was held on Saturday, October 6th and 13th.
All phone calls were returned by the office. Below are a few reasons why you did not receive a return call?
The Luzerne County Recycling Office is not a hauling company but an office
associated with the Luzerne County Court House. Please call one of the haulers listed below or
your local municipal building and ask them who the garbage hauler is for your area.
Waste Management-570-344-7812 or County Waste call 570-685-7000.
Salvation Army, Sans Souci Highway, Hanover Township. Please drive to the back of the lot where the loading dock is.
Televisions must not be broken or busted as they will be refused. DO NOT TAKE THEM IN THE
STORE AS YOU WILL ALSO BE REFUSED. There is a limit of two-(2) televisions per vehicle. Televisions
are accepted during regular store hours. Please call 570-823-1935 FOR MORE INFORMATION.
The Recycling Office of Luzerne County is a County government office. We do not offer dumpsters however, perhaps
one of the listings below can assist you.
Please call for pricing and scheduling of deliveries below:
Single stream recycling is placing all paper, glass bottles & jars, aluminum, steel-bi-metallic and plastic items, in one container.
Please contact your local municipality to see what items are accepted in your town.
Our offices are located on the first floor of the courthouse annex at the corner of North River and Jackson Streets in Wilkes-Barre, across the street from the main courthouse.
Our office is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays. If you are filing for a marriage license, please be in the office by 4 p.m. to allow ample time for processing the application. If you are filing a document or requesting a copy, please be in the office before 4:20 p.m.
All records in the Register of Wills and Orphan’s Court departments are open to the public with the exception of all Adoption records and Guardianship records filed after January 6, 2018 . Adoption records are sealed by law and are available only by order of the court. If you are an adult adoptee and wish to obtain information on adoptions granted in Luzerne County please submit request in writing to:
Act 101 Coordinator, Orphans' Court, Luzerne County Courthouse, Brominski Building, 113 West North Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711. Please provide as many details as possible, such as full name given at birth, birth date, adoption date (or approximate time period) and full name following adoption.
Please contact the Court at 570-822-0764 for any questions other than requests for information.
Guardianship records filed after January 6, 2018, except for the Final Decree and the Docket, are only available to parties of interest on the case.
You may come to the office to review any record, except adoption records and guardianship records (filed after January 6, 2018), during normal business hours. Older files are in storage and will need to be requested for retrieval from the Records' Center. Request must be made several days in advance or you may mail your request for information together with the research fee to:Register of Wills200 N River StreetWilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Register of Wills documents filed from 2004 to present can also be viewed on line on Landex Remote and Landex Webstore
We do not do research over the phone.
There is a fee of $30 made payable to the Register of Wills to search for an estate or a marriage license. Requester must supply the full name of the decedent and the date of death or date of birth with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of the requested information. For a marriage license requester must supply Groom's full name, Bride's name at the time the license was issued (include maiden name) and the date of the marriage. If a certified marriage license is requested, please include fee of $25.00 per certified copy made payable to Register of Wills.
Probate is the procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A will is probated to authorize a representative to administer estate assets and to make known the decedent's wishes for their property at death.
Intestate means someone has died without a will.
A short certificate is a certification that a probate/administration proceeding is on file in our office and that the Personal Representative’s appointment has not been revoked. The only way to obtain a short certificate is to open an estate in the Register of Wills Office for the deceased person.
A will is probated only after the testator dies. It is important to keep the will in a safe place before this time and to tell your family, heirs and/or personal representative the location of your will.
Our office is required by law to keep the original will as a part of the permanent record.
We suggest you contact an attorney to prepare a petition for hearing.
These are documents issued by the Register of Wills authorizing a person(s) to act as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. It is the authority required to access records and assets, as well as make distributions.
We cannot mandate that you use an attorney. Due to litigation liability employees in this office cannot give legal advice. We are not permitted to aid in the preparation of any forms. Unless you know what, how and when to do each step of the estate process, we urge you to at least consult with an attorney. We cannot refund filing fees if an estate was raised and later discovered it was not necessary to do so.
No. This office is only an agent for the Department of Revenue in the filing and processing of inheritance returns and payments. The staff is not trained to give advice on the correct completion of the forms or calculation of the tax. Please contact an attorney or an accountant for assistance or call the Department of Revenue at 717-787-8327.
View marriage license information on the marriage licenses page and find access to online marriage application. If starting the application process online, do not print the application itself, just the page with the number after the application has been submitted. Bring this with you when you and your partner come into our office to finalize your application process.
A certified marriage license can be obtained either in person at the office or by mail request at:
Register of Wills200 N River StreetWilkes-Barre, PA 18711
There is a $25 fee made payable to the “Register of Wills” for a certified marriage license. Please provide the full name of the groom and the full name of the bride at the time applying for the license (include maiden name), as well as, the date of the marriage. If making a request by mail, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of the certification. The fee applies as a search fee even if a marriage license is not found in Luzerne County
No, we only maintain marriage records. You can obtain a copy of your divorce decree from the office of civil records in the county where your divorce was filed and finalized. In Luzerne County, this would be the Prothonotary’s Office.
The purpose of Luzerne County Specialty Court, like any other Mental Health Court / Specialty Court, is to link mentally offenders who would ordinarily be prison-bound to long-term community-based treatment. They rely on thorough mental health assessments, individualized treatment plans, and ongoing judicial monitoring to address both the mental health need of the offenders and public safety concerns of the community.
The client monitoring is accomplished through a team approach including comprehensive supervision, mental health counseling, medications treatment services, and immediate sanctions and incentives. Currently, there are over 160 mental health specialty courts across the country, and more are being planned.
The goals are to assure that offenders with mental illness receive treatment as early as possible and to maximize their chances of becoming productive, law abiding citizens.
No, participation is voluntary.
Ineligible charges include, homicide offenses, assault by prisoner, drug trafficking, crimes of a violent nature, sexual offenders and DUI offenses. (Aggravated assault, Arson, Burglary, and VUFA offenses may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.)
To some extent your requirements are individualized based on a number of factors, including your offense and mental health treatment needs. However, the mandatory requirements include meeting with your probation / parole officer on a weekly basis, attending all appointments, and actively participating in your mental health treatment. Additionally, you will be required to appear initially weekly to specialty court for status updates.
Failing to meet these requirements will result in immediate sanctions. As you successfully progress through program, the frequency of probation appointments and specialty court appearances will gradually decrease. The minimum length of time spent in Specialty Court 12 months, but the average length of time is between 18 and 24 months based on your mental health stabilization and severity of your offense.
The benefit of specialty court is to stabilize and maintain your mental health, as well as to breaking the cycle of incarceration. With proper counseling and monitoring of your medication regimen, you can hopefully learn to live independently and without legal ramifications.
If you meet the initial eligibility requirements outlined above, have your attorney, prison counselor, mental health counselor, or caseworker complete the Court ReferralForm (PDF) and fax it to the Specialty Court Probation Officer, Judy Knick, at 570-822-7866.