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Fines, costs and restitution information can be found on the Court of Common Pleas System (CPCMS). For assistance accessing this information, call 610-344-6290 during regular business hours.
Payments should begin immediately after sentencing. Offenders are encouraged to remit additional monies above and beyond their payment plan.
Payment plans provide the minimum monthly payment an offender must make to ensure the case is paid in full by the end of an offender’s probation/parole period. Failure to pay fines, costs and restitution in full by the end of an offender’s probation/parole period may result in a Violation of Probation/Parole Hearing and revocation of the offender’s probation/parole period.
Failure to comply with your payment plan may result in violation of probation/parole with possible sanctions as ordered by a Judge such as suspension of driver's license.
Changes in employment status or home address must be submitted electronically via the Change in Status form.
It is the offender’s responsibility to inform the Probation Officer if they are not able to comply with their current payment plan due to medical issues. The offender must supply medical verification from their treating physician that details the reason, duration and any work restrictions. This does not relieve the offender from monies owed; rather, it may allow the offender additional time to make payments.
Pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S.A. 9728 (g) the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County instituted a $10 per month administrative fee. This is a mandatory fee imposed on all offenders for the processing of paperwork and related activities.
Pursuant to Act 35 of 1991, the offender will be charged a $40 per month supervision fee. This is a fee imposed for the active supervision of an offender’s probation/parole.
Checks returned for insufficient funds will result in a $50 returned check fee. The check writer will have 10 days to make the check good, including payment of the returned check fee. No future personal check will be honored on that account. Individuals who fail to comply with the notice will be referred to the Chester County District Attorney's Office for criminal prosecution.
Pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S.A. 9728 (b) all offender’s convicted at the Court of Common Pleas Level will have a civil judgment filed against them for monies owed. This is filed in the Chester County Prothonotary’s Office. Judgments must be filed regardless if there is a payment plan or if payments are being received. Judgments are only satisfied upon payment in full of all monies owed.
For questions regarding enforcement of restitution, call the Probation Office at 610-344-6290.
Probation is a sentencing alternative that does not involve a period of incarceration.
Parole is a conditional release from incarceration to serve the balance of the original sentence under the supervision of a parole officer.
The conditions are the same and there is no difference between the a Probation Officer and a Parole Officer. It should be noted that the there are two paroling authorities in Pennsylvania: the Common Pleas Court Judges and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. The Board of Probation and Parole has parole and supervisory authority over those offenders sentenced to two years or more in prison.
Intermediate Punishment is a sentencing alternative available to the Court that includes incarceration, electronic monitoring, intensive supervision, treatment and, in most cases, community service. Restrictive Intermediate Punishment is an enhanced version of Intermediate Punishment. Those offenders convicted of a violent offense are not eligible for Intermediate Punishment.
The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is a pre-trial alternative for certain first time offenders facing disposition on a non-violent offense. The District Attorney's Office must approve the offender's application. The Probation Office supervises those placed into the program. Successful participants can earn a dismissal of the charges and are eligible for expungement of the charges.
Offenders in compliance with the terms and conditions of their supervision may be granted permission to travel outside of the US with the approval of the receiving country, the assigned Parole Officer (PO), the District Attorney’s Office (DA) and a Chester County Common Pleas Court Judge. A Temporary International Travel Permit must be filed with the Clerk of Courts after obtaining the above approvals. Leisure travel will not be granted for offenders who owe a balance of restitution and/or are not in compliance with their payment plan for fines and costs. The department strongly discourages the international travel of sex offenders and violent offenders.
Procedure: An offender requesting travel permission must inform their assigned PO prior to any travel plans being made to gain preliminary permission and to obtain the Temporary International Travel Permit. The PO will review the case to ensure that the offender is in good standing, requesting travel for a legitimate purpose, and if the purpose of the trip is for vacation that all restitution is paid in full and the offender is in compliance with his/her payment plan for fines and costs. The defendant’s attorney is responsible for completing the Temporary International Travel Permit and should first contact the Consulate General Office of the destination country to obtain permission to travel. If permission is granted, the defendant’s attorney may proceed with seeking approval and signatures from the DA’s office, the assigned PO and finally the Judge. The document must be filed with Chester County Clerk of Courts at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled date of departure with certified copies distributed to the PO and DA’s office. The offender will notify the PO within 24 hours upon return.
No, Offenders under our supervision are prohibited from possessing a firearm or deadly weapon.
For births after 1906, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
For marriages after 1930, please contact the clerk of theOrphans’ Court.
Either visit us during business hours or email us with the information from the index and we will provide directions and pricing information for obtaining a copy. Our email address is [email protected]hesco.org.
For divorce records after 1902 please contact the Prothonotary's Office.
For wills 1714-1923, see the index available on our website. For wills after 1923, please contact the Register of Wills Office.
Absolutely. Please email [email protected] with the specific reference information of the record(s) you're requesting, then we will respond with specific costs and instructions.
Researchers may save digital record images from microfilm and research room computers. To take advantage of this option, researchers must bring in a new, unopened USB/Flash drive; no exceptions.
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: 4.551 mills is equivalent to a millage rate of .004551
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 4.551 mills would be calculated as follows: 100,000 X .004551 = $455.10 (face amount) Note: 4.551 mills is equivalent to a millage of .004551. This is comparable to expressing percentage as whole number (5%) and as a decimal (.05). In the case of millage, the decimal is moved three places to left instead of two.
An assessment is the percentage of the market value of your property. The percentage is known as the predetermined ratio. In Chester County the assessment represents 100% of the appraised (full market value) as of the base year.
An interim assessment is derived from a straightforward mathematical calculation. Simply put, the interim assessment represents the value difference (increase) attributable to any assessable improvement to the land. It is important to note that an interim assessment is the difference between the prior and the revised total assessments. These 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 secondary improvements such as swimming pools, garages, barns, sheds, etc.
When the Assessment Office is notified of an improvement, one or more field visits are made by a Certified Pennsylvania Evaluator to collect property data. The following letter has been provided to all municipality permit offices, to be provided to property owners and contractors who file building permits.
Building Permit Informational Letter
If the taxpayer does not agree with the assessment and/or effective date, the property owner has the right to file a Notice of Intention of Appeal with the Chester County Board of Assessment Appeals. This Notice of Intention of Appeal must be filed on or before the last day to appeal as indicated on the Assessment Change Notice. The last day to appeal, as indicated, pertains to both the assessment and the effective date. Upon receipt of the Notice, the Board of Assessment Appeals will schedule an appeal hearing and notify the taxpayer and the taxing authorities of the date and time. The taxpayer should be prepared to provide documentation and/or exhibits in support of his/her opinion of value and/or documentation to ascertain a “date certain” for the effective date, if this is at issue. In the event that the taxpayer remains dissatisfied after the Board’s action, further appeal can be taken to the Court of Common Pleas.
Download the Notice Of Intention Of Appeal Form
Forms must be PRINTED, completed and returned to the Assessment Office (313 w. Market Street, Suite 4202, West Chester, PA 19382) by the appropriate filing date. (NO FAXES or ELECTRONIC COPIES please)
The property tax is used as a revenue source by county government, 14 school districts and most of the 73 municipalities in Chester County. It is the responsibility of the County Assessment Office to place a value on each parcel of land and any improvements (structures) thereon. Assessments are derived by assessors who are state certified under Pennsylvania law. After an assessment is generated or changed the property owner is mailed a "Change In Assessment" notice. All property owners have the right to appeal if they do not agree with the assessment of their property. If an appeal is initiated by a school district or municipality, the attorney must provide the Board of Assessment with a copy of a Certificate of Service verifying that the property owner was notified of the appeal within five days of the appeal filing.
For a fee, the County can supply archival, machine readable data upon request. To obtain desired information: Applicants must complete a Request for Information Form. Completed forms must be returned to the following address or emailed to [email protected]: Chester County Courthouse Attention: Outside Request Department of Computing and Information Services 313 W. Market Street, Suite 5302 West Chester, PA 19380-0991
Yes. The Assessment Office has implemented Resolution #45-97 which requires a processing fee for each parcel appealed to the Board of Assessment Appeals. The fee for each residential property is $25. The fee for commercial, industrial, parcels subject to preferential assessment such as Act 319 and Act 515 and exemption appeals is $50. The fees apply to both interim and annual appeals and must be paid at the time of filing. A check or money order is to be made payable to "Chester County Treasurer". This fee will not be refunded for failure to appear or withdrawal of the appeal. If you are over 60 years of age and want to appeal the assessment on your primary residence but are unable to afford the $25 processing fee, call the intake staff at the Department of Aging (610-344-6350), as you may be eligible for assistance. Proof of financial eligibility will be required.
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 from May 1 through 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 new construction.
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. A property owner filing an interim appeal also has the option to file an annual appeal by August 1. 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 in the assessment due to an interim appeal is effective commencing with the interim effective date. To file an interim appeal you may download and complete the appeal form or you may contact the Assessment Office at: 610-344-6105, or VISIT the office at: 313 W. Market St, Suite 4202, West Chester, PA 19382.
In Chester County, the hearings are conducted by a 3 member Board of Assessment Appeals appointed by the County Commissioners. The Board members serve 4-year terms, which are concurrent with the terms of the County Commissioners.
The process is relatively simple. At a brief hearing the property owner has the opportunity to present such information as recent appraisals or recent sales documentation for sales of similar homes in their area. The property owner may also present other information that may have an impact on the value of the property.
The Board of Assessment Appeals requests that the property owner provide photographs (front and rear) of the dwelling or commercial property. The photographs should be recent within the last six months and are to include any recent physical changes to the exterior of the property. Failure to bring these photographs on your appeal date may result in an unnecessary delay in processing the appeal. Your assistance is anticipated and appreciated.
The property owner is requested to attend but if unable to do so, may send someone to provide the representation with a letter of authorization. If a property owner is unable to attend for medical reasons, the Board will make special accommodations. If the property is owned jointly by more than one person it is not necessary that all the owners appear at the hearing.
Based upon the documentation provided by the property owner, the Board will determine a fair market value for the property. The Board will then by statute, apply the appropriate Common Level Ratio (CLR) to the fair market value to arrive at the new assessed value.
NOTE: The CLR is created by the Pa. State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) on an annual basis for each county. The CLR is an average of assessments to sale prices (based upon valid sales activity in Chester County for the prior calendar year). The CLR is applied only when the ratio varies by more than 15% from the 100% predetermined ratio.
The Assessment Office (via the field assessor) can not consider the CLR when computing the assessment. The assessor derives the assessment by gathering the data on the new construction and using the computer assisted mass appraisal model established prior to the last countywide reassessment which was effective for 1998.
For more information on the Common Level Ratio go to STEB. The Board generally renders a decision within 3-4 weeks of the hearing date and notifies the property owner in writing. In the case of annual appeals, no results will be mailed until after August 1.
ChescoViews is an online GIS application that provides read-only access to the County’s Land Record information. There are various search tools to help locate properties / parcels. Maps can also be printed from this application.
Roads, parcels, municipal boundaries, zip code boundaries, floodplains, streams, lakes, railroads, contour lines, soils, wetlands, subdivisions, and aerial photography.
You can search by:
Items that are selected will be highlighted with a red outline and the map will zoom to them. If more than one feature is selected, then the map will zoom to include all features.
CHesCoViews allows you to Zoom In, Zoom Out, and Pan. These functions make ChescoViews similar to other online mapping applications. There is also an ‘Identify’ tool that allows you to click on a feature and get more information about it.
Certain layers will only be visible when you are zoomed in to certain scale levels. If you have a layer turned on in the Table of Contents but do not see the layer on the map, try zooming in closer.
In the window where you specify the size of the map, click ‘No’ for the 'Searched Data’ box.
ChescoViews will run in Internet Explorer (IE) 11, FireFox 35.0, and Chrome 40.0.2214.115, IE 9 and 10.
ChescoViews will not run in IE 8.
ChescoViews has not been tested in Safari in a Windows environment. As such, Chester County makes no guarantees on whether it will work in this environment or not. ChescoViews has not been tested in an Apple operating system (OS) environment.
Please feel free to email us at [email protected] or call 610-344-6096
The Chester County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is a child-focused center that coordinates the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse while helping children heal. The CAC brings together professionals and agencies as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases. The MDT consists of members representing the District Attorney’s Office, Department of Children, Youth & Families, Law Enforcement, The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc., Chester County Juvenile Probation, Chester County Adult Probation, Department of Mental Health/Intellectual Development Disabilities, and experts in the medical field. The CAC was created to provide a private, safe, non-threatening environment to conduct interviews of child victims or witnesses.
The CAC has a private waiting area for children and those accompanying them that is child-friendly and comfortably furnished. Offenders are not permitted in this area. The CAC is designed to create a sense of safety and security for children.
There are three types.
Anyone who works with children and suspects a child is being abused is a mandated reporter. People required to report child abuse include, but are not limited to:
Mandated reporters of child abuse should call Childline (1-800-932-0313) immediately after receiving a report of child abuse or when they suspect child abuse. In the event of an emergency, a mandated reporter should contact the police.
A mandated reporter who intentionally fails to contact authorities is committing a criminal offense. Mandated reporters who, in good faith, make a report of child abuse, cooperate with an investigation, testify in court proceedings, take photographs, or remove a child to protective custody, have immunity from any civil or criminal liability.
Teachers or school administrators should document the child’s precise statements, including what was said to and by the child and school staff, the demeanor of the child, and then immediately contact law enforcement and Childline (1-800-932-0313).
Childline is a 24/7 hotline for reports of suspected child abuse. Call 1-800-932-0313.
The Chester County Department of Children, Youth, and Families (CYF) is responsible for investigating alleged child abuse reports, as mandated by the Child Protective Services Law. When CYF receives a report of child abuse, it has 24 hours to begin an investigation and to see the child. The primary responsibility of the CYF caseworker is to ensure the safety of the child or children involved and assess the potential risk of further or continued abuse. Contact CYF at 610-344-5800.
The CVC is a nonprofit agency that provides free, immediate, and confidential crisis response and compassionate support to children and adults impacted by crime and violence. The CVC provides assistance through counseling, advocacy, resources, and education. It has two 24/7 hotlines:
A forensic interviewer has received extensive training in child forensic interviewing techniques that allow for legally sound, non-duplicating, non-leading, and neutral interviews. Interviewers gather information without leading or tainting the child’s recollection.
A forensic interviewer conducts interviews at the CAC with any child under the age of 16 who is a suspected victim of neglect, physical abuse, and/or sexual abuse, or any child witness under age 16. Members of the multidisciplinary team observe forensic interviews to avoid the need for multiple interviews of the child.
When a child victim and those accompanying him/her arrive at the Chester County Justice Center, they are greeted by a Crime Victims’ Center advocate who will escort them directly to the CAC. Non-English speaking children, and their non-English speaking family members, are greeted by someone who speaks their language. A comfort dog is available to accompany any child if needed.
The CAC family room is a comfortable, child-friendly area with toys, games, coloring books, and other engaging materials. Here, the forensic interviewer introduces him/herself to the crime victim advocate, the child, and the accompanying adult or family. The forensic interviewer then takes the non-offending parent/caregiver into the interview room to explain the forensic interview process. When the non-offending parent/caregiver leaves the interview room, the forensic interviewer escorts the child in.
The forensic interview room is equipped with digital recording devices, a SMART Board, and anatomically correct drawings and dolls. The number of people in the interview room is limited to make the child feel more comfortable. If a crime victim advocate is requested, the advocate may be present during the interview.
When the interview is complete, the forensic interviewer takes the child to the waiting room to be reunited with the non-offending parent/caregiver.
Members of the MDT include, but are not limited to:
MDT members meet monthly to review cases and determine if additional resources are needed, such as investigative, medical, or mental health services. MDT members also discuss language and cultural concerns.
Due to the high level of security within the Justice Center, individuals in custody are not exposed to the general public. Designated hallways and elevators are used to transport these individuals from location to location within the Justice Center, reducing the possibility of a child seeing or being exposed to possible offenders.
All entry points to the CAC are locked with badge-authorized access only.
Families are referred to the Crime Victims’ Center (CVC) for initial services. The CVC offers individual and group counseling for victims of crime at no cost. The CVC also provides off-site counseling in Oxford, Phoenixville, Kennett Square, Coatesville, and several schools in the community.
Another available resource is the Chester County Mental Health/Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Department, which oversees publicly funded mental health services for children and adults, including those on medical assistance and without insurance. In Pennsylvania, any child with a disability qualifies for medical assistance regardless of parental income.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children who are victims of abuse receive a medical examination.
There are two types of medical exams given to children who are victims of sexual abuse.
A non-acute forensic medical exam is similar to a regular well-child visit your child has with their pediatrician, assessing the child from head-to-toe. The exam’s purpose is to assess and identify injuries and allow parents and children to discuss any concerns they may have with the specialist. The medical provider(s) are experts with advanced training in identifying possible findings related to child maltreatment.
A non-acute forensic examination also includes a genital exam, which will differ for boys and girls and their sexual maturity. The medical provider will speak with you and your child in more detail about the type of genital examination that may be performed and its purpose.
Lab work and radiology tests may also be done.
An acute forensic medical exam is the same as a non-acute forensic exam, except it is recommended for children who have been sexually abused or assaulted within the past 120 hours (5 days) and is performed in a hospital’s emergency room. It may involve the collection of evidence.
Most of the local hospitals in Chester County will not examine children suspected of sexual abuse who have not reached puberty. The CAC is located near two children’s hospitals with nationally recognized doctors who specialize in child abuse.
The criminal justice system can be confusing to victims and their families. Members of the MDT are always happy to answer questions you may have. The Flowchart of the Criminal Justice System and these nine steps may help clarify the process.
While not every case will move forward through the criminal justice system, MDT members work hard to achieve the best outcome, keeping your child’s well-being a priority.
Reports can be made to our office 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 610-344-5800. Reports of suspected child abuse can also be made to Childline at 1-800-932-0313.
Yes, reporter’s names can be kept confidential.
No. You are not obligated to disclose any information if your record has been sealed. Similarly, the court and its employees may not disclose any sealed information to the public or employers checking for criminal backgrounds.
Yes. While some offenses may not be eligible for Clean Slate (automated sealing), some offenses, mainly some M1s, may still be eligible to be sealed through filing a petition in the Court of Common Pleas through the Clerk of Courts Office. A judge will then review the petition and decide whether to grant or deny said petition through an order. If granted, the eligible offenses will be sealed.
Example: If convicted of a first degree misdemeanor (M-1) Retail Theft, that charge will not be eligible for automatic sealing because first degree misdemeanors are not included under Clean Slate. However, the charge may be sealed by court petition for limited access under Act 5 of 2016 and ordered by a court judge.
Absolutely! If your record is eligible to be expunged under current Pennsylvania law, you can continue to file for expungement even after Clean Slate goes into effect. Clean Slate/Limited Access merely shields the public and potential employers from seeing your criminal record, but it does not destroy the record. Expungement is the only mechanism to permanently and completely remove criminal history record information. Petitioning for expungement greatly increases the possibility that your past doesn’t harm your future!
Note: you can generally seek expungement for cases in which you were not convicted (e.g. charges were dismissed, withdrawn, nolle prossed (never processed), or you were found “not guilty”), diversion cases like ARD where you have completed your sentence, and summary convictions after five years without arrest.
Individuals will not be notified that their case has been sealed. You may look up your case on the AOPC website. Cases that have been fully sealed will come back as a “No Cases Found” search result. Cases that have been partially sealed will only display offenses that were not eligible for Clean Slate. For more information, visit the criminal filing office at the Chester County Clerk of Courts Office.
All requests for case file information must be made at the Court of Common Pleas. As a case primary participant (i.e. Defendant) you may request proof that the entire case, or part of a case, has been sealed. There is no charge for this. You will need proof of your identity. The Clerk of Courts may provide a report listing all offenses that have been sealed and a copy of the Administrative Docket (i.e. Order) under which the offenses were sealed.
If you believe your case should have been sealed under Clean Slate but hasn’t, here are a few reasons:
For more information, contact the Clerk of Courts office at 610-344-6135
All disturbances greater than 5,000 square feet must have a written Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. Any disturbance associated with the use of Chapter 105 General Permit (GP) (stream crossing, wetland disturbance, etc.), pond dredgings, or one acre and greater disturbance must have an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan developed and reviewed by the Conservation District office.
The mandate of the Chester County Conviction Integrity Review process is to ensure the reliability, accuracy, and credibility of trial convictions by carefully considering claims of actual innocence that meet established criteria.
No, the CIR is part of the DAO; prosecutors review all CIR cases. However, if there is a conflict for the DAO to conduct the review, the case will be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for consideration.
The CIR reviews felony or murder convictions that occurred in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, resulting from a jury or non-jury trial, where there is a credible claim of actual innocence. To see the full list of CIR requirements, click here for the Conviction Integrity Review Protocol.
Read the Conviction Integrity Review Protocol to ensure a case meets all established criteria. If it does, complete an electronic Conviction Integrity Review Application or download a Conviction Integrity Review Application PDF and return to the District Attorney’s Office. Upload or include additional documentation if warranted. DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS. Documentation will not be returned. Applications may be submitted by the petitioner or by an attorney. If a petitioner engages an attorney, all communication with the DAO must be through the attorney.
The DAO will determine if claims of actual innocence are credible and warrant further review.
Guilty pleas will not be considered.
No, the CIR considers other factual evidence whether or not DNA evidence exists.
No, the CIR will not review sentences.
No. Claims such as these should be submitted to the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole at [email protected].
The DAO will acknowledge receipt of each application either through the petitioner or through his/her attorney. After an initial review, the DAO will notify the petitioner or attorney in writing about whether the CIR criteria have been met, therefore warranting further review.
Every effort will be made to process and communicate the status of an application in a timely fashion. The initial screening time varies depending on the age and complexity of a case, the information available, the number of applications being processed, and other factors. A CIR application will not toll any post-conviction time limits.
The DAO will attempt to keep petitioners informed of their case’s status whenever appropriate. Once the review is complete, the CIR will notify the petitioner or his/her attorney of the decision and recommendations.
No. By agreeing to review a case, the CIR is prepared to investigate claims of actual innocence. It does not mean the CIR agrees with the validity of a claim or exonerates a petitioner.
No, the CIR mandate ensures the reliability, accuracy, and credibility of trial convictions by carefully considering claims of actual innocence that meet established criteria. However, the petitioner bears the burden of providing credible evidence of actual innocence.
No. The Chester County District Attorney makes the final decision on petitions. By submitting an application, a petitioner understands that he/she is bound by the District Attorney’s decision. There is no court review of decisions.
No. Submitting an application to the CIR for review has no bearing on any other legal rights a petitioner may have, even if the case meets the initial screening criteria and is accepted for further review. A CIR application will not toll any post-conviction time limits.
No. The CIR is part of the Chester County DAO. Collaboration with Innocence Projects, however, may occur.
No, the CIR is part of the DAO, a law enforcement agency, and cannot give petitioners legal advice.
The Coroner's Office is required to investigate the facts and circumstances of all sudden, violent, traumatic or unexpected deaths that occur within the County. This includes some deaths from apparent “natural diseases”, including certain infectious diseases such as COVID-19. The Coroner is also responsible for determining the individual’s identity and notifying the next of kin. A Coroner’s investigation may or may not include:
Also, refer to the Pennsylvania Coroner Statutes which provides a full list of deaths investigated as well as other responsibilities and definitions in reference to the Coroner’s Office.
The Chester County Coroner's jurisdiction encompasses the entire County of Chester, Pennsylvania. Deaths pronounced in the County fall under the Coroner's jurisdiction regardless of where an accident or injury occurred.
When a person dies suddenly or unexpectedly, your first duty is to call 9-1-1 for medical assistance and guidance. All civilians or non-emergency services agencies shall use the following number: 610-383-7000 to request a response/service from the Coroner’s Office. This recorded line will be answered in the Chester County Communication Center. Emergency Services agencies shall access the Coroner’s Office through normal contact with the dispatcher.
The Coroner's Office will send the medical certification to the funeral home. You can request a copy of the death certificate through your funeral home or you can call Vital Records with the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 724-656-3100 or 800-842-5040.
Arrangements for viewing at the morgue cannot be granted. The Coroner's Office will work as quickly as possible to have your loved one taken into the care of the funeral home you have chosen.
An autopsy is the external and internal examination of the body of a deceased person to determine a cause of death. An autopsy is not necessary in every case brought to the office’s attention.
If your family wishes to perform an autopsy and the Coroner’s Office does not need to perform one for their investigation, your family can make arrangements with the hospital where the death occurred or with a private autopsy service to have an autopsy performed at your expense.
Next of kin who wish to have a printed unofficial copy of the autopsy and toxicology reports, as permitted by law, may do so by completing the Next of Kin Report Request Form. State-mandated report fees for official copies of the autopsy and toxicology reports are as follows:
Attorneys, insurance companies, or medical providers who wish to obtain a copy of the autopsy and toxicology reports, as permitted by law, must fill out the Other Agencies Report Request Form and then contact the Coroner’s Office at 610-344-6165 (Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm) for instructions regarding prepayment of the state-mandated fees. Payment must be received by the Coroner’s Office before the reports can be mailed. The same state-mandated fees listed above apply.
Where there is a pending investigation being conducted by law enforcement, the District Attorney may request that certain records not be released. Further, in some cases, the District Attorney may petition the Court to seal the records of the Coroner’s investigation.
The legal next of kin is the closest living relative in the following order: spouse (unless divorced), adult child, parent, adult brother or sister, adult grandchild. Common law marriage was abolished in Pennsylvania as of January 2, 2005. This means you must be legally married in order to be considered a spouse, regardless of length of cohabitation or whether there are children who are issue of the relationship.
This varies case by case, depending on the type and extent of the investigation. If autopsy or toxicology testing has been performed, it may be at least 6 weeks or more before we receive all necessary reports needed to issue the final cause and manner of death.
You may initially be informed that the cause and manner of death are "pending". The initial Death Certificate will note "pending" as cause of death; you may make funeral arrangements with this document. Pending simply means that the cause and manner are still under investigation. The next of kin will be notified of all completed pending cases. For this reason, if you move or change your phone number, please advise our office immediately.
Most items are released to the funeral home with the deceased. Other items to be released can be retrieved from the Coroner's Office Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Please make contact with the Coroner's Office at 610-344-6165 for more information.
Generally it only takes 1-2 days, but can vary depending upon the extent of the investigation. The funeral director will coordinate the release on your behalf.
The next step for the next-of-kin is to select a funeral home or cremation service for your loved one. The Coroner’s Office will release your loved one to the care of a funeral home or cremation service of your choosing upon completion of our investigation. Inform the Deputy Coroner of which funeral home or cremation service you have selected, and be sure to inform the designated funeral home or cremation service that your loved one is in the care of the Chester County Coroner’s Office. The designated funeral home or cremation service will then contact the Coroner’s Office to make arrangements to transfer your loved one into their care.
The Chester County Coroner's Office cannot endorse a particular funeral home and is prohibited from recommending a funeral director. A listing of funeral homes within Chester County is available from the Coroner's Office upon request by next of kin.
This test will identify if you have any antibodies to COVID-19. These tests are also called serology tests. Antibody tests look for the body’s response to an infection instead of looking for the virus itself. Antibodies are proteins that the body makes to fight off infections. They are one part of the immune system response to infection. Because it takes days to weeks for the body to create antibodies, these types of tests are not recommended for initial diagnosis of COVID-19.
This is not a test to diagnose COVID-19. If you have symptoms or if you were recently exposed and you need to be tested to find out if you have COVID-19, RT-PCR testing (nasal swab) is more appropriate for you.
For more information about COVID-19 testing, click here.
Everyone qualifies to receive an antibody test. However, specific groups will be prioritized for testing – including healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers.
If you have symptoms at the moment or were very recently exposed and you need to be diagnosed with COVID-19, this is not the appropriate test. Please contact your healthcare provider in order to receive the appropriate test.
See results flyer
There will be several testing sites made available in phases. Testing is open to healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers. More sites will be made available throughout the next several weeks. These sites will all remain open as testing supplies allow and several time slots will be available per day.
Testing sites are located at Longwood Gardens in the South Lot (1010 East Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford 19317) and The Chester County Public Safety Training Campus (137 Modena Rd, Coatesville, PA 19320)
Registration link for antibody testing: See the “Register Here” button on the main testing page.
Only enclosed passenger vehicles and small vans and trucks will be permitted to enter the site. Large commercial vehicles and motorcycles are prohibited, as are pedestrians.
Only service animals are permitted onsite.
Yes, each individual wanting a test must register in advance. Individuals without a Confirmation # will not be permitted onsite.
Each individual must have a Confirmation # to access testing. Please retain this Confirmation # (printed or on your smartphone) and show it when you enter the site.
There will not be any treatment conducted on-site.
Click the registration button above to register for active testing sites.
If you do not have internet access, please call the Health Department to make a testing site appointment: 610-344-6225, option number 4, 8:30am-4:30pm 7 days a week.
You will receive a Confirmation # over the phone and must keep it for your records in order to access the testing sites.
When you register, you will receive a registration email and scheduling confirmation email. Click the appropriate links in the scheduling email to adjust or cancel your appointment.
Testing is currently for first responders, healthcare workers, and essential workers who live or work in Chester County.
No. COVID-19 Antibody Testing is offered at no cost to the public.
A printed or digital copy of your registration Confirmation #.
Registration confirmation will be emailed to you (or provided via phone) and will include instructions on what to bring with you for testing, testing site location address, and precautions to be taken upon arrival at the site. Each individual must complete a registration. Individuals are required to come directly to the testing site and return directly home.
No. Testing appointments are provided one per person. If multiple members of a household want to be tested, then each member must register for their own appointment time slot. If there are other people in your car without a registration, they will not be provided a test.
Please ensure that only people living in your house come to the testing site with you. Do not offer to carpool with neighbors, friends, etc.
Children must be at least 12 years old to get tested. They must be registered and have parent or guardian consent in the registration process.
Public bathroom facilities are not available at the test sites, so plan accordingly as wait times may vary.
This test is a finger prick test, similar to a glucose self-test. You will hold out your finger through your car window and a testing team member will prick your finger with a small lancet. A drop of blood will be collected and placed into the testing device.
If you provided an email address at the time of registration, you will receive your results within 24 hours following your test via email.
If you provided a phone number at the time of registration, you will receive your results by phone within 48 hours following your test. If you do not pick up this call, you will be called one more time by Health Department staff. After that, you will have to call the Health Department during business hours (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM).
Staff will NOT leave a voicemail with test results. Staff will NOT give results after business hours.
Most Chester County Magisterial District Judges perform wedding ceremonies in their courtrooms during regular office hours by appointment only. To inquire about a wedding ceremony, contact the District Court directly.
District Courts may accept filings up to $12,000. You may file a civil complaint, sometimes referred to as small claims, in the Magisterial District Court where the party you are suing (the defendant) lives OR where the incident (accident) occurred. If your case involves a landlord-tenant dispute, you may file the case where the property is located. To look up property locations, visit ChesCoViews.
Civil costs vary depending on the amount of your claim and the type of service option you choose to have your complaint served. Please contact the District Court to obtain the exact amount of filing costs.
The Civil Complaint form can be obtained at the District Court or by accessing the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts WEB page.
An appeal for a Civil or Landlord and Tenant case is filed at the Prothonotary's Office. An appeal for a summary, non-traffic or traffic case is filed at the Clerk of Courts Office. Both offices are located on the 1st floor of the Chester County Justice Center.
Yes. Most traffic and parking citations can be paid on the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania Web Portal. You can search for a citation by name, citation number, docket number or payment plan number. If your citation does not appear, contact the appropriate District Court located in box #1 on the front of your citation. A transaction fee of $2.75 will be charged to the user. Please confirm with the District Court that the payment was received and there is no balance on the case.
No, you do not need an attorney to file a case in the Domestic Relations office. You may start an action in person or online. To start an action online, visit www.childsupport.state.pa.us. You may start an action in person by visiting our office any weekday between 8:30am-3pm and we will explain the process and help you complete and file the necessary paperwork.
Please bring the following information:
Your interview will take about one hour.
If an order is entered after the initial support conference, a wage attachment will be issued immediately. It normally takes an employer two to three weeks to begin deductions from the defendant’s paycheck. The defendant is required by law to make payments on his/her own until the automated deduction is completed. If payments do not arrive in a timely fashion, the Enforcement Officer assigned to your case will investigate with both the employer and the defendant.
Generally it takes 3-4 weeks from the date of your intake until the date of your conference.
If the defendant has been served with notice to appear (this is usually handled by our office through certified mail), and we have wage information and paternity has been established, a temporary order for support will be issued and a hearing will be scheduled before a Hearing Officer. If we don’t have proper service or wage information, we will continue our efforts to obtain this information and reschedule the conference. If the defendant does not live in Chester County, we may request another county or state to enter the order. We process all necessary paperwork in that event.
$56.85 per family. Testing is performed on mother, father and child.
You will receive an Order to Appear for the conference with a list of the required documents. These documents include
Defendants should be prepared to make their first payment at the conference.
By all means you must appear for the conference and you should also bring a parent/ guardian along with you.
Please call the our office (610-344-6215) as far in advance of the conference as possible. We will arrange for a sheriff to be present at the conference, and to escort you to your car if necessary.
No. You do not need to complete that for the support conference.
If the defendant challenges your entitlement on economic grounds, a Temporary Order can be entered, even if no divorce complaint has been filed. If the conference officer has the proper financial information, there is a pending divorce complaint filed in Chester County, and there is an Equitable Distribution claim included in that complaint, the conference officer will enter a temporary order for spousal support even if the defendant challenges the plaintiff’s entitlement. This applies to Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) as well.
Using the parties’ incomes and the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines, the conference officer will calculate the proper amount of support owed by law.
Income for purposes of support is “net income.” Net income is gross income from any source less taxes and mandatory retirement and union dues.
Basic child support is intended to cover the following for the child in question:
Responsibility for other expenses, such as child care and health insurance premiums, is assigned to the parties, depending on who pays them directly and usually in proportion to their incomes, and added to the base amount.
It is always wise to seek legal counsel, but it is not mandatory to have an attorney represent you at the support conference. If either party does not agree with the guideline amount calculated at the conference, they can request the case be listed for a Support Hearing. Most plaintiff’s are entitled to a staff attorney to represent them at the Support Hearing.
If he/she has been properly served with notice of the conference, regardless of whether plaintiff or defendant, an order may be entered in his/her absence.
Approximately one and a half hours.
Children are entitled to support until they are emancipated. In Pennsylvania, emancipation is defined as lasting until age 18, or until the child graduates high school, whichever occurs later. Emancipation may be later for children with special needs. That determination is up to the Court.
Yes. Depending on the amount of overnight time the child is with either party.
Most often, conferences will be rescheduled by the agreement of both parties. If there is no agreement to reschedule the conference the Court may make a determination to reschedule that conference to the next available date.
You will receive notice of your hearing either in person at you conference or through the U.S. Mail. We schedule 20 hearings per day, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. All hearings are scheduled at 9:00 a.m. The Hearing Officer will call the list, assign an order to the list and hear the cases in that order. You are required to remain until dismissed by the court.
If you know about your hearing and you don’t appear, an order may be entered in the other party’s favor or a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest.
You should inform your enforcement officer and/or their support staff; or update your information online at www.childsupport.state.pa.us. You must inform us immediately of any changes, including address, telephone number or employer.
All clients are assigned an enforcement officer to help you with your case. Assignments are made based on the defendant’s last name. We usually give you that name and contact information at the conclusion of your first conference. You may call our office during normal business hours Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. to find out exactly who has been assigned to your case. Our phone number is (610) 344-6215 and our Fax number is (610) 344-6977.
We have many options available to you. You can visit the Pennsylvania Child Support website at http://www.childsupport.state.pa.us/ for an update. There you can sign up for alerts and emails as well. You may also contact our office by phone at 610-344-6215 or using our Automated voice response number 1-800-221-INFO
The following are some of techniques that may be used: Credit Bureau Reporting, Driver’s License Suspension, Professional License Suspension, Recreational License Suspension, Tax Refund Intercept, Income attachment, Arrears conferences Contempt Court, Seizure of bank accounts or other assets, Passport denial, or intercept of lottery winnings.
Drug and alcohol treatment is available in Chester County regardless of insurance. If the person has insurance, they should contact their insurance provider. If the person does not have insurance, or has insurance without behavioral health coverage, they can call their nearest outpatient program. A counselor from the program will meet with them to do an assessment and set up a treatment plan. This could be treatment as an outpatient or a referral to a different service that would best meet their needs such as a residential rehab program. Again, if the person has insurance, they should start by calling the insurance company to find out how to proceed.
See our list outpatient programs or call the Compass Mark Information and Referral Line at 1-866-286-3767.
Compass Mark is funded by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services to provide drug and alcohol information and referral to citizens. They can provide you with information about the signs and symptoms of substance use and can provide you with resources. Please call the Compass Mark Information and Referral (I&R) line at 866-286-3767 for more information.
Yes. Funding assistance is available for drug and alcohol treatment. The first step is to contact the closest drug & alcohol treatment program. The outpatient program will complete an assessment, make necessary referrals, and arrange for funding assistance from the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services.
Contact the Chester County DUI Program at 610-344-6800.
Yes. There are strict state and federal laws covering the confidentiality of drug and alcohol treatment records. No one may be given information about your participation in drug and alcohol treatment without your specific written consent.
The Department of Drug and Alcohol Services contracts with two agencies, Compass Mark and Be a Part of the Conversation, in Chester County to provide drug and alcohol speaking engagements to the community. To coordinate a speaking engagement with Compass Mark, please contact Laura Wiechecki by email [email protected]. To coordinate a speaking engagement with Be a Part of the Conversation, please email [email protected] or call 267-629-2214.
Compass Mark is funded by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services to provide information to the community. They can be contacted to obtain pamphlets, brochures, etc. at 1-866-286-3767.
Click here to be taken to the Health Department after hours FAQs.
For births after 1906, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health
You can find out the age of your system by requesting a copy of your septic system permit by submitting the Sewage and Well File Look Up Form.
There are several laboratories in Chester County that offer well water testing.
Records are available from our office. Call 610.344.6252 during regular business hours.
Complaints are handled by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Visit the Chester County Solid Waste Authority for information on disposing of red bag waste.
Visit our webpage on medication drop-off disposal boxes.
Latex paint is not hazardous waste. Latex paints are water-based and are a safer substitute for oil-based paints. They can be placed in the trash after allowing to harden. Take the top off the pain can and place it outside, away from pets and children. Allow it to harden. If the can is very full, absorb the material by mixing it with sawdust, clay-based cat litter, or rags. Stir with a stick until all the paint is absorbed. When the paint is solidified, it can be placed in the trash leaving the lid off.
Several municipalities in Chester County maintain their own code enforcement office. These municipalities have primary jurisdiction over housing conditions such as high grass/weeds, abandoned vehicles, junk/debris accumulations. If you live in one of these municipalities and have a housing complaint, please contact thecode enforcement office for your area. If you live in a municipality that does not have a code enforcement office, please call 610-344-6225 or email [email protected] to lodge a complaint.
Chester County Hospital and Paoli Hospital have travel immunization programs. You can find information on both on our International Travel Information web page.
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.
The court system is taking the necessary actions to protect the safety of court staff, court users, judges and the public, guided by general CDC and Department of Health recommendations. The Judiciary is working to protect public health while ensuring that individuals retain their fundamental state and federal constitutional rights to trial by jury. To that end, the Department of Health assisted the judiciary in developing recommended guidelines designed to ensure that jury selection and jury trials can be conducted safely.
If you are unable to appear for jury service due to COVID-19 related reasons, please submit a request for your jury service to be postponed or to be excused as soon as possible after receiving your Summons for Jury Service. You may also contact the Jury Office directly. If you are sick, this includes having a fever, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 on the day you are expected to appear for jury service DO NOT REPORT. Contact the Jury office at 610-344-6174.
Enter the Justice Center through the Market Street entrance. Take the elevator to the 5th floor. Make a left and follow the hallway to the Jury Assembly Room, Suite 5325.
You may be called to serve on jury duty if you are at least 18 years old, a United States citizen, and a resident of Chester County.
Chester County uses residents who are registered to vote with Chester County Voters Services. The required number of jurors for a particular day are randomly selected and summoned to appear for jury service.
Jury selection is a random process. As such, there is always the chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times.
No. Jury service is a civic obligation. No one is automatically excused because of their occupation. Many doctors, lawyers, dentists and school teachers have served as jurors in Chester County. Not even the judges themselves are exempt from jury service.
If you are selected to serve as a trial juror, your jury service will be for the length of that trial. Most trials take between one and five days to complete. Because of this, DO NOT make any appointments or commitments that would interfere with you serving on a trial that may take up to five days to complete. If you are not selected as a trial juror, your length of service will be two days.
When you arrive, you will need to check in with jury personnel. A brief orientation will be provided by a jury commissioner advising you of the jury selection procedures. During jury selection you will be told about the length of the trial. Any conflicts that you may have will be addressed during jury selection.
The normal business hours for the Chester County courts are 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. You may be required to report at a different time. The phone call-in system will advise you of the specific time to report if your services are required. If you are seated on a trial, you may serve later than 4:30 p.m. Breaks and a minimum of one hour for lunch will be provided.
After you receive and respond to your summons, you must call the Jury Information Line: 1-800-223-5879) or 610-344-6597 after 5:00 p.m. each day prior to your service dates. Service dates are listed on your jury summons. Instructions concerning reporting time will be given via a recorded message. Please listen carefully and follow all instructions. Jurors scheduled for Monday and Tuesday must call Sunday and Monday evenings. Jurors scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday must call Monday and Tuesday evenings. Jurors scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday must call Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Jurors scheduled for Friday must call Thursday evening.
Per Pennsylvania law, jurors are paid $9.00 per day for the first three days of jury service and $25.00 per day for every day thereafter. PA law also requires payment of mileage at the rate of 17 cents per mile. Mileage is calculated by using a zip code table from the Chester County Justice Center to the center of the zip code listed in the mailing address of the juror.
No, Pennsylvania law does not require an employer to compensate an employee for jury service. Check with your employer for their policy.
The law provides that such conduct is contempt of court and can be punishable by fine and or imprisonment.
Pennsylvania law does not exclude persons over the age of 18 due to age. However, Chester County is liberal with excusing senior citizens upon written request for good reason.
The number of jurors needed by the court changes daily. An adequate number of jurors must be summoned each day to cover potential trials. We try to summon as few jurors as possible.
Only persons for whom jury service would be an extreme hardship may be excused. Should you need to be excused from jury service or have your jury service postponed, YOU MUST SUBMIT A REQUEST IN WRITING to the Jury Commission’s Office, Chester County Justice Center, P.O. Box 2746, West Chester, PA 19380-0989. Please include your juror number and service date with your request. These requests must be in writing and will not be accepted over the phone or via email.
Parking is provided for jurors in the Chester County Parking Garage located directly across the street from the Chester County Justice Center. You must show your juror information sheet to the parking attendant to enter the garage. After entering the garage, proceed to the third floor where an attendant will be on duty between 8:00am-8:30am to admit jurors - plan to arrive accordingly. When approaching the two gates located on the third floor please use the gate on the left side. Once the attendant has opened the gate, you will be directed to park on the top floor.
Reminder: If you leave the garage during the day you cannot get back in. The County will pay for your parking in the above-mentioned parking garage ONLY. There are two entrances to the garage - from Market Street and from Wollerton Alley.
If there is inclement weather and the county has a delayed opening, the time to check into the parking garage will be adjusted accordingly. For example, if the county opens on a one-hour delay, parking will be open from 9:00 am – 9:30 am.
If you have an emergency on the day your are scheduled to report for jury duty, please call the Jury Commission Office at 610-344-6174 before 9:00 a.m.
Please use good judgment and dress conservatively We suggest simple business attire that is comfortable and not extreme in style. This helps maintain the dignity of the court. Blue jeans, shorts, tank tops and tee shirts are not suitable.
Yes, all persons entering the Justice Center are subject to a security search and will be required to pass through a metal detector. Please do not bring any sharp objects with you (scissors, pen knives, knitting needles, etc).
In case of inclement weather, always visit chesco.org (a banner will appear at the top of the page if there is a weather delay) for any updates regarding jury service OR call 1-610-344-6000 after 6:30 a.m. If the County is running on a one-hour delay, you may arrive for jury service beginning at 9:00 a.m. If there is a two-hour delay, you may arrive for jury service beginning at 10:00 a.m.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have greatly limited the number of jurors that are called in each day. The maximum capacity for our Jury assembly room is 55 and is currently the maximum number of Jurors called in at one time. Juror’s reporting time may be staggered between an 8 am reporting time or an afternoon reporting time, further decreasing the number of jurors appearing for service at any one time.
If the jury message says that individuals with jury numbers 1 through 100 report for service, 100 jurors do not report to the jury assembly.
Do NOT wear: shorts; tank tops; tight or revealing clothing; pants that hang down and expose your underwear; clothing with drug, gun, or gang references; or ripped or torn clothing.
The certification is signed by the Assistant Clerk of the Orphans' Court. In some instances, for example, Foreign Registration of the Marriage or Foreign Adoptions, the certification must be signed by the Elected Clerk of the Orphans' Court and the Court. You must determine which type of certification is needed. Refer to the section on Marriage Records for a Foreign Country for more details.
A form for requesting certified marriage records is available in the Forms and Documents section. Walk-in requests are processed immediately. Please allow 7 to 10 working days for processing of mail-in requests. All requests require the following information:
Name of male applicant Name of female applicant at the time of application Date of Marriage Daytime Telephone number for all mail-in requests $15.00 fee payable with Cash, Credit Card, or Money Order ONLY. Please do NOT mail cash. Make money order payable to "Clerk of the Orphans' Court." If the request is by mail, a self-addressed, stamped envelope must be enclosed for the return of the Certification. Mail the request to: Marriage License Department, Chester County Justice Center, 201 W. Market Street, Suite 2200 PO Box 2746, West Chester, PA 19380.
Age 18. In Pennsylvania minors are not permitted to marry. Both applicants must be at least 18 years old to apply for a marriage license.
A comprehensive directory of Chester County Parks + Trails can be found at: https://www.chesco.org/4520/Parks-Trails
Yes. All gatherings must abide by the Chester County Parks Ordinance. Larger gatherings and gatherings open to the general public must be approved under a Special Event Permit. Further information about the requirements of hosting an event at a Chester County park or trail can be found at: https://chesco.org/4613/Permits-Events
Chester County currently owns seven dedicated Parks: Black Rock Sanctuary, Exton County Park, Hibernia County Park, Nottingham County Park, Springton Manor Farm, Warwick County Park, Wolf’s Hollow County Park
And three Regional Trails: Chester Valley Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, Struble Trail
Hibernia County Park at over 1000 acres with Chambers Lake at 94 acres boasts some of the best recreational opportunities in Chester County. Offering meadow and woodland trails, the West Branch of Brandywine Creek, Campgrounds, Playgrounds, Chamber’s Lake and Historic Structures visitors will have plenty of opportunities to fulfill their recreational needs.
You’re amazing! We’re so happy you’d like to come help us keep the parks in tip-top shape. For information on how to get involved please contact us at: [email protected] or visit: https://chesco.org/4611/Volunteers
Excluding Christmas Day the Parks will remain open from 8 AM until approximately Sunset year-round. Regional Trails are open 30 minutes before Sunrise and 30 minutes after Sunset. For a complete listing of Park Closing times please visit: https://chesco.org/4605/Parks-Trails
All kinds! You never know what you’ll see on your next hike. Commonly sighted species are Whitetail Deer, Red Foxes, Eastern Bluebirds, Red-tailed Hawks, Eastern Chipmunks, Woodchucks, Pileated Woodpeckers, Norther Flickers... the list goes on and on! Come out and see what you can spot and be sure to ask a Park Ranger about the fascinating wildlife in Chester County.
Hibernia County Park is home to three separate camping areas. Whether you are looking for a large, group-camping for a scout troop or just a weekend get-away with your significant other Chester County Parks + Trails have the perfect solution. To reserve a campsite, for $15 per night, please visit: Reserve a Campsite (Note: Group-camping please call us at 610-344-6415.)
Parks are the perfect place for your next party or gathering! Many of our parks offer amenities such as pavilions, picnic areas, camping and more. Larger gatherings and events open to the public require some special considerations and organizers must submit an application for a Special Events Permit. More information on these options can be found at: http://chesco.org/4613/Permits-Events
Food is permitted at privately hosted park events provided the organizers follow the complete guidelines put forth by the Chester County Department of Health. If food vendors are present they must also be licensed to operate by the Chester County Department of Health. Alcohol is not permitted in the parks.
Finding an injured animal can be heart-breaking, but please do not approach the animal. Contact a Chester County Park Ranger immediately by calling 911 and maintain a safe distance. Never put yourself in danger. The Park Ranger will attend to the well-being of the animal by contacting the appropriate entities for wildlife rescue/rehabilitation depending on the species, location, and nature of injury.
All press-related inquiries regarding Chester County Parks and Preservation contact our Public Information Officer at 610-344-6279 or via email at [email protected]
Yes, all of our events are incredibly family-friendly and many programs are geared towards children. We strongly encourage all ages to come out and help us foster a sense of community in the beautiful natural setting our Parks provide. Upcoming events, programs, and activities will be posted on the park’s website and social media, and throughout your local park. http://chesco.org/4613/Permits-Events
Regulated archery hunting is permitted in limited park areas during open seasons, by application and lottery selection process. In order to be considered the applicant must have successfully completed the PA Game Commission Successful Bowhunting Course. Hunting permits are issued upon approval and successful completion of an Archery Proficiency Test. Further information about Archery permits can be obtained at https://www.chesco.org/4641/Hunting. County-regulated goose hunting is permitted at Chamber’s lake. Public hunting for geese and pheasant is permitted at Struble lake.
Personal photography and video is permitted. Professional photography/video sessions are required to apply for a Special Event Permit. You can apply for a permit at www.chescoparkspres.org.
No. Feeding is prohibited for the well-being of the wildlife in our parks. When we feed the animals they learn to become dependent on our involvement and it disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem.
Yes. Up-to-date park/trail closing information will be available on social media or you can subscribe to ChescoAlerts for information.
Of course! Enjoying the outdoors with your furry friends is a great way to spend the day. Just remember to keep any pet on a leash no longer than 6 feet, make sure they have access to drinking water, and check them for ticks before returning home. The only location pets are not allowed is the Great Barn complex at Springton Manor Farm.
You can inform any Staff Member or Ranger on duty of any unfavorable conditions in the park or regional trails. We want every visitor to have the most positive experience possible and will make an active effort to provide a safe and enjoyable environment. If you would like to speak directly with the Lead Ranger, Park Manager, or Director you can email us at [email protected]
Absolutely! We work hard to ensure all individuals are welcome and are encouraged to enjoy the beauty of nature free of charge.
Our park staff make every effort to accommodate visitors with disabilities. Most County park trails are ADA accessible. Hibernia, Nottingham and Warwick Parks offer playgrounds accessible to those with disabilities per ADA standards.
ParksAll of our parks have some internal trails particularly well-suited to horseback riding, except for Wolf’s Hollow, which is only open to hiking, per township requirements.
TrailsHorseback riding is permitted on the Schuylkill River Trail because it is unpaved and does not have a high degree of pedestrian and bicycle activity. Other county trails are off-limits to equestrian due to the large numbers of joggers and cyclists and the excessive damage that regular horseshoes can cause to paved, macadam trail surfaces.
Yes, any of the County parks would make a lovely backdrop for an informal outdoor wedding. Please submit a special event permit request via ChescoParksPres.org at least 60 days prior to the event date. An agreement must be signed and fees paid in advance, including pavilion or other needed rentals. For a more formal occasion, The Manor House at Springton Manor Farm is available. For more information on the Manor, call J. Scott Catering at 610-733-2516.
Regional trails with smooth, asphalt macadam surfaces (ie., the Chester Valley Trail) are permitted for: walking, jogging, cycling, non-motorized scooters, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, Battery-operated wheelchairs or battery-powered bicycles by persons with doctor-verifiable disabilities, Dog walking under leash (maximum 6’ length), and Strollers, including those connected to bicycles.
The following are NOT permitted for use on our trails: Motorized vehicles including segways, motorcycles and mopeds, Powered scooters , Snowmobiles (excluding authorized vehicles), Skateboards, Horses or horseback riding, and Horse carriage, pony carts, etc.
The operation of any type of mini-bike, trail bike, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile or other vehicle that cannot be registered for operation on public highways, except in areas designated for that purpose, is prohibited. Only then, with County approval and the appropriate permit, are such vehicles permitted.
No, ice-skating is strictly prohibited on any pond or lake at all County parks.
Swimming is not permitted at any County Park.
Chambers Lake is stocked with warm water species including channel catfish, chain pickerel, smallmouth and largemouth bass. Non-motorized or electric powered boats ONLY. No sailboats. All watercraft must be registered with the PA Fish and Boat Commission. Boating for the purpose of fishing is also permitted after park hours. A public fishing pier is open on the north side of the lake and may be accessed from Lake Trail. Other shoreline fishing is permitted, but is prohibited from the dam breast itself. Swimming is prohibited at Chambers Lake.
No, drone flight is not permitted by the public over any County park or trail property.
No, metal detecting is not permitted by the public on any County park or trail property.
We would love to see you at our next event! Please check out our website for a listing of upcoming events: chesco.org/390/Events
If you would like to receive notifications of all programs and events you can subscribe to our newsletter Nature of Things.
Many of these nature preserves are owned and managed by land trusts. If you look up the name of the nature preserve you can see who manages and owns that preserve.
Many of the local parks in your neighborhood are under the jurisdiction of the municipality you are in. The best option is to look up the municipality for their individual contact information.
An easement deed is public record, and you can find and review most easements on the Chester County Recorder of Deeds. If you can’t find a deed you are looking for there, contact staff via phone (610) 344 - 5656, or by email: [email protected]. If the property was preserved by the county, they will be able to provide a copy to you.
If you’re concerned that a property the county helped to protect is not following the terms of the easement, you can contact our compliance staff at [email protected]
Preserved farms are not open to the public; they remain under the control of the owner. The public can benefit from the pristine views, and the knowledge that the landscape will remain in farming in perpetuity.
Farms must be at least 50 acres in size, unless they are adjacent to preserved land. If the property is adjacent to preserved land the minimum is 10 acres.
Chester County has preserved over 500 farms.
The program is funded through County, State, Federal, and municipal funding. Landowners also may choose to provide a donation, which helps the County leverage more funding.
The farmland preservation program is for productive farmland, however, Chester County has multiple programs in place to preserve multiple facets of land. For more information please visit https://www.chesco.org/4618/Farmland-Preservation
Yes, it is required that Chester County visits each farm at least once every two years.
Yes, all preserved farms are required to have a conservation plan and follow the stewardship practices. https://www.chesco.org/4621/Stewardship
Yes, a real estate appraisal is completed to provide the easement value that is offered for each farm.
A parcel map of all the preserved farms is located at https://www.chesco.org/DocumentCenter/View/5759/ProtectedOpenSpace?bidId=
Due to Covid-19, passport applications could face a significant delay in processing. If you are traveling within 72 hours due to a life or death emergency, please call 1-877-487-2778, Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time, except federal holidays.
It takes a minimum of 18 weeks for processing of a routine passport application. The fee for an expedited passport is an additional $60 and takes a minimum of 12 weeks.
2. Naturalization certificate if you became a naturalized citizen.
3. Valid drivers license. Parents ID will be used for minors who do not drive.
4. Two 2” x 2” identical photographs. Photographs may be taken at the Sheriff’s Office, located at the same address, for a fee of $10 payable by check or money order. School photos are not acceptable.
Information required on the form: your social security number, parent’s birthdate and birthplace, current or previous marriage information.
If one parent or guardian cannot be present, a statement of consent form (#DS3053), or a comparable written statement, must be presented at the time of applying and must be notarized within 90 days of the application. Please be sure to include a front and back copy of the non-appearing parent's ID. It must be the same ID the parent used to notarize the documentation. All minor children age 15 years and younger that had a previous passport are required to bring both the expired passport and the long form birth certificate.
You do not need to include the resident's room number.
Medicaid is a joint Federal and State program that will pay for care in a long-term care setting if the resident does not have the financial means to be able to cover the cost of care. The Medicaid applicant must be medically eligible and meet financial criteria.
The basic responsibilities of a poll worker is to check in voters on election day and help to maintain a safe, secure and efficient voting system at voting precincts.
Every polling place should be staffed by a minimum of five poll workers:
There are two elections each year:
The Judge of Elections and inspectors are required to work the full day (6:00AM until about 9:30PM). Clerks can choose to work full or half-day shifts.
The benefits of being a poll worker are ever expanding, but include serving your community, meeting your neighbors and making new friends all while getting paid.
Yes, although it is primarily a volunteer position, poll workers are compensated for their respective shifts as well as for attending poll worker training classes.
Judge of Elections
Supplies Pick Up
Election Night Drop Off
Applicable IRS standard mileage rate
$250.00 + mileage
All poll worker positions, including appointed students
Roamers (non-County employees)
You are eligible if:
students are encouraged to volunteer.
You are not eligible if:
Submit the poll worker application below, or contact us at 610-344-6410 or [email protected].
The political parties and the Department of Voter Services must then fill the position by appointment.
Yes. Comprehensive training typically begins six weeks before each election.
Yes, students of good standing who are 17 years of age or older may serve as clerks or machine operators. Students must complete and submit the Student Authorization Form. The form must be signed by both the school and the student's parent/guardian prior to the election.
Yes, as long as the committee person does not engage in any political activity while the polls are open and acts in a nonpartisan manner while working the polls.
The process of filing a petition for a PFA in Chester County takes approximately two hours. The filing procedure to file a petition is a multi-step process that includes the drafting of the narrative and petition, a hearing for the petitioner alone with the Court, and the actual filing, certifying and submitting of the completed petition to the Sheriff for service.
The Court of Common Pleas is available from 8:30AM with the last hearing held at 3PM. PFA petitions are filed in the order in which they check in which means that if a petitioner checks in for a PFA at 3:00PM there may be other petitioners that checked in before who will file ahead.
The PFA Act does not cover abuse by a stranger or a roommate that the victim is not intimately involved with.
Even though each county is different, the legal process follows the same general pattern. The PFA process usually starts by filling out a form called a "petition" at the local county courthouse. The questions in the petition ask victims to explain why they want protection and to describe the abuse they suffered. In legal terms, the person who wants the PFA is called the "petitioner" or the "plaintiff". ThePFA petition also asks the petitioner to tell what they want the PFA to do. Usually, there are employees at the courthouse who can help to complete PFA petitions, and give information about free or low-cost legal services in the county or region. The PFA Act says that courthouse information and assistance to PFA petitioners should be provided in both English and Spanish.
After the petition is filled out, a judge will read it and may ask the plaintiff to answer a few questions. The abuser will not usually be present in the court for this. The judge may grant or deny a temporary PFA order and will schedule a date for a final hearing. A temporary PFA order will protect a victim and/or children until the date of the final hearing. This hearing will take place within 10 business days.Even if the judge does not grant a temporary protection order, the judge will schedule a final order hearing.
On the date of the PFA hearing, the plaintiff/victim and defendant/abuser will come before a judge. Both are allowed to have attorneys to represent them at this hearing. A domestic violence advocate may also come with the victim. If both the plaintiff and defendant agree on the terms of an order, the judge will make it official. If either does not agree, the judge will give the victim and abuser the chance to talk on the record about the abuse described in the petition.
After listening to the testimony, the judge may grant the plaintiff a final PFA order. Final orders can be in place for any period of time up to and including 3 years.
The short answer is yes. Please remember that this is a legal proceeding. While the statute does not require a petitioner to have an attorney it is a very good idea to have someone who can advocate on your behalf to the court. Unlike the hearing with the judge that occurred in chambers when the petition was filed initially, this will be before a judge in open court. Furthermore, if the defendant has an attorney and you do not, you may be at a disadvantage in court. Petitioners granted a PFA are entitled to a free attorney from Legal Aid, regardless of income. Please contact Legal Aid if you are granted a PFA at 610-436-4510.
When you leave the courthouse with a temporary order it is very important that you take a certified copy to your local police department or Pennsylvania State Police barracks. A certified copy will have a raised stamp and a red seal that says "Certified from the Record." Always keep a copy of the PFA with you. If there are minor children protected by the PFA provide a copy to the children’s school or daycare center. You may also give a copy to your employer if you so choose.
A defendant who violates a PFA order can be arrested and charged with a crime called indirect criminal contempt. The victim may be asked to testify about the violation at a court hearing. If the court finds the defendant guilty of violating the PFA order, the court can give jail time, probation, and/or fines. Even though the police may arrest and charge an abuser for indirect criminal contempt, the abuser may be released before the hearing. Victims should consider talking to a domestic violence advocate about steps to take to stay safe.
A plaintiff who has a PFA order does not have to register it in a different county or state for it to be valid, but registering it with the local courthouse may be helpful. On the plus side, registering an order allows police to quickly verify the order and respond faster to if an abuser violates it. On the downside, some states will notify the defendant when the victim registers a PFA order in a new county or state. If thevictim does not want an abuser to know where they are, they may not want to register the PFA. Procedures for registering a PFA order vary from state to state.
It is good for a victim to have a certified copy of the order along at all times, especially if a victim decides not to register a PFA order after moving. (A certified copy is one that is stamped with a raised seal and initialed by the court.) It is also a good idea to have multiple copies of the order for work, home, and/or school.
A domestic violence advocate can help victims with many services. They may be able to help victims fill out a PFA petition or go with the victim to court. Advocates can give victims information about the county PFA process and help victims to make a safety plan.
What a victim says to a domestic violence program advocate is confidential. By law, an advocate cannot repeat what victims tell them, even if called into court by a judge. The only exception is that the advocate must report it if the victim reveals that a child is in danger of being abused. Confidentiality between victims and advocates means that victims can speak freely about their circumstances and planfor their future safety.
Whether a plaintiff wishes to file a PSV or a PFI depends on the facts of the case.
A plaintiff files a PSV when the plaintiff has been a victim of sexual violence. Sexual violence is conduct between persons who are not family members that includes: sexual offenses, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children, and unlawful contact with minors and sexual exploitation of children.
A plaintiff files a PFI when the plaintiff is a victim of harassment or stalking AND the conduct is committed by a person over 18 against a person under 18.
Even though each county is different, the legal process follows the same general pattern. The PSVI process usually starts by filling out a form called a "petition" at the local county courthouse. The questions in the petition ask victims to explain why they want protection and to describe the abuse they suffered. In legal terms, the person who wants the PSVI is called the "petitioner" or the "plaintiff". ThePSVI petition also asks the petitioner to tell what they want the PSVI to do. The PSVI Act says that courthouse information and assistance to PSVI petitioners should be provided in both English and Spanish.
After the petition is filled out, a judge will read it and may ask the plaintiff to answer a few questions. The abuser will not usually be present in the court for this. The judge may grant or deny a temporary PSVI order and will schedule a date for a final hearing. A temporary PSVI order will protect a victim and/or children until the date of the final hearing. This hearing will take place within 10 business days. Even if the judge does not grant a temporary protection order, the judge will schedule a final order hearing.
On the date of the PSVI hearing, the plaintiff/victim and defendant/abuser will come before a judge.Both are allowed to have attorneys to represent them at this hearing. If both the plaintiff and defendant agree on the terms of an order, the judge will make it official. If either does not agree, the judge will give the victim and abuser the chance to talk on the record about the abuse described in the petition.
After listening to the testimony, the judge may grant the plaintiff a final PSVI order. Final orders can be in place for any period of time up to and including 3 years.
Always keep a copy of the PSVI with you. If there are minor children protected by the PSVI provide a copy to the children's school or daycare center. You may also give a copy to your employer if you so choose.
A defendant who violates a PSVI order can be arrested and charged with a crime called indirect criminal contempt. The victim may be asked to testify about the violation at a court hearing. If the court finds the defendant guilty of violating the PSVI order, the court can give jail time, probation, and/or fines.
Even though the police may arrest and charge an abuser for indirect criminal contempt, the abuser may be released before the hearing.
It is important for victims to have their certified PSVI orders with them whenever they are traveling. A certified copy is stamped "Certified" in red with a raised seal and initialed by the court.
It is also a good idea to have multiple copies of the order for work, home, and/or school.
Currently, we accept check, cash, money order, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. Please make checks payable to the “Prothonotary of Chester County.”
In landlord/tenant cases, we only accept cash, money order or certified funds for payments to be escrowed.
Yes, ChescoPIN is a paid subscription service that provides access to docket entries. ChescoPIN may be accessed at no charge in the Prothonotary's Office or at libraries in the Chester County Library System.
To obtain a copy of a divorce decree:
Come to the Prothonotary's office during regular business hours (M-F,8:30am-4:30pm).201 W. Market Street, Suite 1425 West Chester, PA 19380-0989
ORMail a request to our office. Include the name of both parties and approximately when the divorce occurred. Include case number if known. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with the exact amount for the cost of your divorce decree:
Our records begin in 1688. However most of our records prior to 1900 are stored on microfilm and are available through the Chester County Archives Office. Most of these records are hand-written and some are difficult to read. Records are available in their original form. There are also other resources to supplement genealogical and other historic research.
General Recording Requirements and Fees can be found on our website or by calling our office. pemloyees are not permitted to perform searches. For information regarding previously recorded papers you must come to the office or hire an attorney.
If the document was recorded after 1994, you can print it from our website using Records Search. If the document was recorded prior to 1994, there are three ways to obtain copies:
1. Visit our Search Library to look up and print documents. The fee is $0.50 per page for printed copies and $1.50 for certification if needed
2. Submit a written request - must include owner’s name, the book and page number of the document, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and a check covering the fee. Fee is $5 per page, and $1.50 to certify the document if needed.
3. FAX - must provide book and page number. The fee is $5 per page, plus $1 fax charge. We are not able to certify copies sent by fax.
Records are kept by the property owner’s last name and by the book and page number assigned to every document recorded in our office. If you have this information, then you can search our database via the Records Search area of this website. You can also visit our Records Library. Library staff can get you started but are not permitted to conduct research for the public. If you do not have the book and page, you will need to refer to our indexes which list documents alphabetically by the last name of the party to a transaction.
If you are recording a plan [subdivision, septic, etc.], you may need additional approvals prior to recording. Check with your municipality for details.
Yes. Make sure the document meets our Document Standards and include the a check payable to the Recorder of Deeds for the correct amount along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the return of your original documents. See also Recording Fees for more information.
Every parcel in the County is assigned a Uniform Parcel Identifier (UPI) number. The UPI Number can be located using ChescoViews.
Yes. With the exception of military discharges, all documents recorded in this office are public information.
Yes, but it is best to have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, such as an attorney, draft the deed. Employees of the Recorder of Deeds cannot draft a deed for you.
Physical possession of a deed is not necessary to prove ownership of land once the deed has been recorded in our office. Any documents filed in our office are there to provide public notice of the contents of those documents. You can obtain a copy of a deed or any other document from this office a number of ways. See How can I get a copy of a document recorded in your office?
The Recorder of Deeds cannot alter documents once they have been recorded. Changes can only be made by recording a new deed. It is generally best to have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, such as an attorney, draft the deed. Employees of the Recorder of Deeds cannot draft a deed for you.
No. The Recorder of Deeds cannot alter any documents once they have gone on record. If you want to remove the deceased person’s name from the deed, you will need to have a new Deed prepared and recorded in this office. It is generally best to have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, such as an attorney, draft the deed.
No. If for some reason you wish to reflect that the property is now owned by the same people with different names you will need to have a new deed prepared and recorded in this office. It is generally best to have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, such as an attorney, to draft the new deed.
No. The Recorder of Deeds is merely a repository for any deeds that are recorded. If your current deed has been recorded and you subsequently sell a piece of that land on another deed which is then recorded, a title search will reveal these two transactions and allow a person to conclude that the amount of land you own has now changed. If for some reason you wish to reflect that the property's legal description is different, you will need to have a new deed prepared and recorded in this office. It is generally best to have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, such as an attorney, to draft the new deed.
You cannot alter any documents once they have gone on record. In order to replace the current deed, you will need to have a new deed prepared and recorded in this office. This is usually referred to as a Deed of Correction. It is generally best to have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, such as an attorney, to draft the new deed .
Yes. With the exception of military discharges, all documents recorded in this office are public information. This means anyone can look at any deed, mortgage, and any other documents filed in this office.
There is a State Tax and a Municipal Tax each amounting to 1% of the fair market value of the property or interest being conveyed. For property located in the City of Coatesville, the Municipal Tax is 2%. For property located in both Tredyffrin Township and the Borough of Malvern, it is 1.5%. The fair market value of the property is not necessarily the sale price.
You must view a US Coast and Geodetic Survey Map of your area to determine elevation. Maps are available through the Chester County Planning Commission and Chester County Geographic Information Systems.
For information on E-Recording[electronic recording] in Chester County, visit the E-Recording section of this website.
The Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court frequently receive requests for assistance in preparing and/or filing forms required for a particular matter. Our staff are not permitted to offer opinions, directions or instructions on any matter that may be construed as legal advice. We provide, as required, many of the forms needed for estate administration, including the inheritance tax return. The offering of these forms is not a statement that no other forms are necessary or that those provided must be completed in every instance. The Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, acting as a conduit for the court, accepts filings for Orphans’ Court matters. The court, in accordance with federal, state and local rules and statutes, determines the correctness of the filings. The Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court have prepared the information provided on this website. Nothing contained herein is intended to be legal advice or to offer any opinion of the legal remedies available or appropriate in any particular circumstance. It is hoped that the information presented will merely be useful in answering frequently asked questions concerning the Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court.
The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, excluding holidays. Please check the county website to see which days we will be closed. Marriage applications and estate probates are accepted by appointment ONLY. Please go to our main website at www.chesco.org/wills or call 610-344-6335 to make an appointment. All other filings will be accepted until 4:15 pm.
Yes. Call the office at 610-344-6335. If you provide a name, we will search our records for that name. If a record is found, a file number is provided. Once you know the file number, more detailed information can be requested by mail. There is a nominal fee depending on the type of information requested.
The records go back to 1924 for Register of Wills and Orphans’ Court. Marriage Licenses go back to 1930. Records are in various formats - paper, microfilm or scanned images. For records previous to these dates, contact the Chester County Archives Department at 610-344-6760 or visit chesco.org/archives.
ALL records in the Register of Wills, Orphans’ Court and Marriage License Department are open to the public with the exception of adoptions or any other records impounded by court order. Public access to adoptions and other impounded records require a court order.
This is the process more correctly known as Probate of the Will. The procedure requires that the original will and, if applicable, codicil(s) be brought to our office. The document(s) are reviewed for proper execution. Details such as the original signatures of the decedent and witnesses are checked. Due to the complexities of proper execution, it is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for the preparation and probate of a will.
No. A will is not registered until the person who wrote it (testator) dies. It is important that someone, usually (the executor) knows where the will is kept or the name of the attorney who prepared it.
There are many reasons to register or probate a will - chief among these is the need to transfer assets, e.g. real estate or personal property (cash, checking and savings accounts, etc.) from the decedent to beneficiaries.
This expression refers to the process in which an estate personal representative is appointed. A Petition for Probate and Grant of Letters is completed by the attorney or person qualifying as personal representative. The filing of this petition is the first step required to open an estate. The petition is available as a fill-in form on this website.
There is no time limit or requirement to open an estate unless or until a short certificate or proof of appointment is requested to transfer an asset from the decedent to a beneficiary. If it is more than 21 years after death, a court order is required.
A short certificate is a document that is certified proof of the appointment of the estate personal representative (executor or administrator). It is required to gain access to the assets of the decedent. The term "short" certificate refers to the size of the document. The personal representative can request as many short certificates as necessary to complete the estate administration. There is no time limit to request extra short certificates.
We are required by law to retain the original will and codicil(s). Since all records in this office are permanent, that is kept "forever," the document(s) will always be available in paper form or as microfilm or scanned images. It is recommended that you make a copy of the original document(s) for your records before you come to the office.
A petition to admit a copy of the will to probate is required. This petition is not provided by this office. We strongly suggest that you contact an attorney for the form of the petition that must be prepared and presented to the Register of Wills to accept a copy of the will for probate.
"Letters" is a formal document appointing the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. If the decedent died with a Will, the document is referred to as Letters Testamentary. If the person died without a will, the document is called Letters of Administration. Estate administration typically requires more than this one document certifying the appointment of the personal representative. Rather than the formal letters, short certificates are provided as proof that the letters were issued by the Register of Wills.
No, however, due to the complexity of the process, it is strongly recommended that an attorney be engaged. This office provides the form for the Petition for Letters and other forms that may be required but cannot offer any direction or legal advice as to the preparation.
The order of appointment is very detailed and specific. Usually, the spouse is the first one to qualify. If there is no spouse, then the children can apply to be appointed. These situations often require the advice of an attorney.
Please be advised that this list is not all inclusive. There may be other forms or actions required that cannot be determined until the documents provided are reviewed by this office.
No. This office functions only as an agent for the filing of the Inheritance Tax Return and the payment of the inheritance tax. This means that we accept the return and payment and send them to the Commonwealth. The staff is not trained to give direction or advice concerning the correct completion of the return or calculation of the tax. If you have questions that are not answered in the return instruction booklet, you should contact an attorney or an accountant for assistance. The Inheritance Tax Booklet with instructions is provided by this office at the time that the Estate is opened. To download forms and instructions from the Inheritance Tax Department, visit http://www.revenue.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
The Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court frequently receive requests for assistance in preparing and/or filing forms required for a particular matter. Our staff are not permitted to offer opinions, directions or instructions on any matter that may be construed as legal advice. The Register of Wills provides, as required, many of the forms needed for estate administration, including the Inheritance Tax Return. The offering of these forms is not a statement that no other forms are necessary or that those provided must be completed in every instance. The Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, acting as a conduit for the Court, accepts filings for Orphans’ Court matters. The Court, in accordance with federal, state and local rules and statutes, determines the correctness of the filings. The Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court have prepared the information provided on this website. Nothing contained herein is intended to be legal advice or to offer any opinion of the legal remedies available or appropriate in any particular circumstance. It is hoped that the information presented will merely be useful in answering frequently asked questions concerning the Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court.
The office is on the second floor, Suite 2200, of the Chester County Justice Center, located at 201 West Market Street in West Chester, PA.
The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, excluding holidays. Please check the county website to see which days we will be closed. Marriage applications and estate probates are accepted by appointment ONLY. Please go to our main website at www.chesco.org/wills or call 610-344-6335 to make an appointment. All other filings will be accepted until 4:15 pm.
Yes, email us at [email protected] If you provide a name, we will search our records for that name. If a record is found, a file number is provided. Once you know the file number, more detailed information can be requested by mail. There is a nominal fee depending on the type of information requested.
The records go back to 1924 for Register of Wills and Orphans’ Court. Marriage licenses go back to 1930. Records are in various formats-paper, microfilm or scanned images. For records before those years, contact the Chester County Archives Department at 610-344-6760 or visit chesco.org/archives.
Yes. All non-impounded records are available to anyone. Copies of records are provided for a nominal fee.
Sales are held on the third Thursday of the month, January through November. There is no sale in December. All sales begin at 11:00 a.m. and are conducted online via Bid4Assets.
Listings are posted, and printed listing books are available, in the Sheriff’s Office in Suite 1201 of the Chester County Justice Center, located at 201 W. Market Street, West Chester, PA.
Listings are advertised in the three weeks leading up to every sale in the Chester County Law Reporter, the Daily Local newspaper, and the Chester County Press newspaper.
Listings are posted and updated on our website under “Sheriff Real Estate Sales Information”.
In order to bid on a Sheriff Sale, registration is required to participate in the Bid4Assets online auction at least 7 days prior to sale date. A $35.00 non-refundable registration fee paid to Bid4Assets is required, along with a $10,000.00 deposit. Please visit the Bid4Assets website for more information, including our Conditions of Sale.
The minimum bid price, also called the upset price, is set by the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney. These upset prices can be obtained by contacting the plaintiff’s attorney of record on the day before the sale or can be viewed, once uploaded by plaintiff's attorney on the Chester County landing page on Bid4Assets.
Contact information for plaintiff’s attorneys is in our website database under “Sheriff Real Estate Sales Information”. The Sheriff’s Office does not set or publish the upset prices.
Yes. There are significant differences between Sheriff Sales and Tax Sales or Judicial Sales. For information regarding Tax Sales or Judicial Sales, contact the Chester County Tax Claim Bureau at (610) 344-6360.
No. No Sheriff’s Office employee is permitted to give legal advice; we can assist with factual and procedural questions. You may wish to consult an attorney for any issues related to Sheriff’s Sales or other matters involving the Sheriff’s Office, and you can reach out to the Chester County Bar Association for a referral at www.chescobar.org. If you have financial constraints, you can contact Legal Aid of Southeastern PA at www.lasp.org. You may also choose to conduct your own legal research by visiting the public Law Library located in the Justice Center at 201 W. Market Street, West Chester, PA.
Visit Tax Claim at or mail to: 313 West Market Street Suite 3602 West Chester, PA 19380 Pay online at: Government - Departments - Tax Claim Bureau - Online Payments
An interim assessment is derived from a straightforward mathematical calculation. Simply put, the interim assessment represents the value difference (increase) attributable to any assessable improvement to the land. It is important to note that an interim assessment is the difference between the prior and the revised total assessments. These 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 secondary improvements such as swimming pools, garages, barns, etc.
All checks must be made out to "Chester County Treasurer".
The Chester County tax bills will be sent out on February 1st. Municipal bills will be sent out February 2nd.
For County annual tax bills, we have three payment periods after the tax bills are mailed on January 15:
1. 60 day 2% discount period from Feb 1st.
2. Face value due during the 60 days after the discount payment period.
3. Payment made after the face value date incurs a 10 % penalty for payments made up to December 31 of current year.
The last date for payment must be postmarked or paid by December 31st of the current year, no later. No exceptions.
Tax bills are normally sent to person on record listed as the property owner. However, if your property is mortgaged, one of two billing events can occur:
The ultimate responsibility for payment of the real estate tax in Chester County rests with the property owner even though they may not have received their tax bill. If you have not received a tax bill, contact our office and speak with a representative about how to correct the problem. If there has been a change of address, and this is causing your tax bill to be mailed to an incorrect address, the property owner must contact the County Assessment Office to complete the required forms to change the mailing address. Also, it is the responsibility of the property owner to notify the Treasurer's Office of the address change so that the tax bill can be mailed to the correct address.
You must send a written request to the Assessment Office, 313 W. Market St., Ste. 4202, PO Box 2748, West Chester, PA 19380.
You can pay online, via postal mail, or in person. Tax bill payments are also accepted at any Chester County branch of S&T. For more information, visit the Treasurer's Office website.
The Chester County Treasurer collects for some townships and boroughs but not for school districts. The authority for your school tax is the school district in which you reside. Any township tax imposed on your residence is under the authority of your local municipality. Municipalities collected by the Chester County Treasurer (listed by municipal number and name):
01 - West Chester Borough06 - Oxford Borough07 - Atglen Borough09 - South Coatesville Borough10 - Modena Borough12 - Honey Brook Borough22 - Honey Brook Township28 - West Caln Township29 - West Brandywine Township32 - Upper Uwchlan34 - West Pikeland Township38 - Valley Township40 - East Caln35 - Charlestown Township47 - East Fallowfield Township50 - West Bradford Township51 - East Bradford Township53 - East Goshen54 - Willistown Township55 - Easttown Township56 - Lower Oxford Township58 - Penn Township60 - New Garden Township63 - Pocopson Township65 - Birmingham Township72 - Franklin Township
The current county tax rate is 4.551.
No, Chester County Government is not the tax authority for the Local Earned Income Tax. This tax is imposed by local cities, boroughs, townships and the like, and may vary from community to community. The PA Department of Community & Economic Development website contains specific information about the many local taxing authorities throughout the state. Please contact your local township/borough with any questions regarding the Local Earned Income Tax.
Simply provide the top portion of your tax bill along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, when mailing your payment. The top portion is stamped "PAID", and returned to you via postal mail.
A tax certification applied for in person is completed while you wait. For a tax certification by mail, the process takes one to two weeks from the date the request is received. An online application will be emailed the next day. We do not accept tax certifications by fax.
No. Please do not fax requests for a tax certification. The request form must include payment, or the request will not be processed. Also, we do not fax-back any tax certifications.
Under Chester County Ordinance #2019-2, every business holding itself out as a “hotel” must apply a 5% tax to each and every rental of a room with a bed. Other communities throughout the country sometimes refer to this type of tax as a bed tax, lodging tax, occupancy tax or transiency tax. Depending on the size or class of the county and the intended use of the collected revenue, some counties may apply a higher tax rate. In Chester County all but 4% of collected hotel tax dollars is paid over to the Chester County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The intended purpose is to provide the CCCVB with enough funding to allow them to market Chester County in a highly competitive tourism market. The process is cyclical in nature. That is, we generate revenue through taxes from transients in order to successfully promote our community to those we hope will return again.
Complete the Hotel Room Rental Tax Registration Form and send to the Office of the Treasurer.
Permanent residents, anyone occupying or possessing the right to occupy a room, for 30 consecutive nights or longer, are exempt. PA State and Federal employees, on official business, are also exempt.
Hotel Tax Forms
Hotels must submit a tax report by midnight of the 25th day after the close of each calendar month. If your mailing is post-marked before the 25th day of the subsequent month, you will be on time and avoid a penalty.
All hotels must submit a Hotel Room Rental Tax Report on a monthly basis, unless they meet the requirements of Resolution 40.01, which allows for quarterly reporting if certain criteria are met. Contact the Hotel Tax Auditor to see if you qualify.
The meal exemption was intended to provide a small measure of tax relief to those whose hotel bill includes a meal and a room in the same basic charge. The exemption applies to only that portion of the charge, which addresses the meal. Because this charge is not separately identifiable, the allowable exemption rate is stated on the Hotel Room Rental Tax Report. This exemption should NOT be treated as a discount, nor is it intended to serve as an additional source of revenue to the hotelier. If this is difficult to apply, contact the Hotel Tax Auditor for assistance.
Hunting licenses are issued for a fiscal year. Your license will expire on June 30 of the same calendar year.
Yes, you can purchase a license online through the PA Fish & Boat Commission or at a local sporting goods retailer if they are a state agent for the sale of fishing or hunting licenses.
You must be a Pennsylvania resident 65 years of age, or older to apply for a lifetime license.
All dogs, 3 months of age or older, are required by the State of Pennsylvania to have a valid dog license. Lack of compliance could result in a fine of up to $300.
Dog licenses can be purchased online, at the Treasurer's Office and at other locations throughout Chester County. Visit our Dog License page for options.
Dog licenses can be purchased for a calendar year and then renewed annually, or you can purchase a lifetime license if your dog is microchipped. For details, visit our website.
If a lost dog is found, please contact the Treasurer's Office at 610-344-6370 during normal business hours (8:30am-4:30pm) and provide the tag number and the year on the front of the tag. If you find a dog outside of regular business hours, call the Chester County SPCA at 610-692-6113. They may be able to shelter the dog until the owner can be found.
No, licenses are only available to not-for-profit organizations.
A replacement permit can be obtained for a $6 fee. Visit our website for details.
Refunds for overpayment or duplicate payments can occur. If you are in doubt as to why you received a check, please contact us at 610-344-6370 or email.
The check may represent the amount provided as a one-time death benefit for veterans of the Armed Forces. All inquiries for this activity should be directed to the Department of Veterans' Affairs at 610-344-6375.
The Pennsylvania Bingo Law (the Law), 10 P.S. §§301-308.1, was passed in 1981. The Law allows certain nonprofit associations, known as “Associations”, to conduct Bingo for the purpose of raising funds for “Charitable” and “Civic” purposes.
A license cannot be granted to an individual. Only an “association” as defined in the Bingo Law, 10 P.S. §§301-308.1, can apply. Members of interested associations should refer to §303 of the Law which can be viewed or downloaded from this site, to see if their association is eligible for licensing.
All licenses are valid for one year from date of issue. An association applying for a three consecutive day license must specify the dates they intend to conduct bingo and an association granted a three consecutive day license cannot apply for and be granted any other bingo license for one year from the date of issue of the three consecutive day license.
No, only the association in whose name the license is issued may conduct bingo.
Yes, as long as they are a “bona fide member” of the association as defined by the Law and the application has been completed in its entirety, is signed by the President (Executive Officer) or Secretary of the association and the application is notarized.
No, it will be filed by the Treasurer with the application and becomes public information.
Provided there have been no changes to the documentation and no lapse in the license, the documentation does not have to be provided unless specifically asked for by the County Treasurer's Office. However, an application must be prepared each time a license is renewed. The completed, signed and notarized application, along with those records that the association is required to keep concerning its conduct of bingo, must be brought to the County Treasurer’s Office for review.
The district attorney is responsible for investigating violations of the Law, however, any State, county or local law enforcement official is empowered to investigate violations of the Law.
Bingo, with one exception, may only be played at the association’s “licensed premises” (regular place of business, or other location specifically listed on the association’s application for license). Each association must list its “licensed premises” on its license application. An association may conduct bingo at the association’s exposition, carnival or fair site for a period not to exceed ten days.
Yes. No person under 18 years of age shall be permitted to play bingo unless accompanied by an adult.
Yes. §305 (c) (7) of the Law states: “Each association shall keep written records of the moneys and merchandise collected and distributed for each day they conduct bingo. These records shall indicate the total proceeds collected, the total prize money distributed, the total value of all merchandise awarded as a prize and the amount of moneys paid as rentals or wages and to whom such rentals or wages were paid. All prizes awarded having a value greater than $250 shall be specifically described in the association's records”. In addition, §305 (c) (8) of the Law states: “Each association shall deposit with a financial institution all proceeds for each day's bingo game in an account in the association's name. This deposit shall be made before any of the proceeds may be used for any other purpose, except for payment of prize money and compensation to members employed in the operation of the game”.
Yes. The Law permits the proceeds to be used for only “charitable purposes” or “civic purposes” as defined in §303 of the Law.
Yes there are very specific prize limits. §305 (c) (3) of the Law states: “Prizes awarded shall not exceed a value of $500 for any one game of bingo, except for jackpot games which shall not exceed a value of $4,000 for one such game. In addition, no more than $8,000 in prizes shall be awarded in any calendar day”.
No. According to House Bill 411 there are no longer any limits to how often a licensed association may hold bingo.