Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC

Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC

Getting a divorce can mark a time of tension and strain in your life. Having a skilled representative in your corner can make this time that much easier.

Firm Overview

The attorneys at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC offer caring, sensitive legal representation and have experience handling all aspects of divorce and divorce-related legal issues. With five conveniently located offices throughout the greater Philadelphia area you can feel confident our team can support you in cases involving:

Contested Divorce: A contested divorce refers to a split in which neither spouse can agree on all details of the end of the marriage. Such details include alimony, child custody, division of marital property, and more. Sometimes contested divorces go to trial, and often they can be settled out of court through negotiation. Our marital trial lawyers will help you understand your options for ending your marriage as stress-free as possible.

Child Custody: Determining where your children will live following the end of a marriage is among the most sensitive and potentially contentious issues that arise. Our family law attorneys recognize the importance of maintaining your family ties, and know there is likely nothing more important to you than your children. We will work hard to ensure you are well-represented throughout your divorce to get the child custody agreement that you deserve.
Main Office
1845 Walnut Street
19th Floor
Phiadelphia  PA  19103
  • (215) 523-6900


Services Offered For Fixed Fees?
While a divorce generally is not cheap, you can count on the attorneys at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC to strive to keep your legal costs reasonable and save money wherever possible. So you know what to expect when working with our lawyers, below we have laid out a general framework of the divorce process.

Initial Case Assessment

To begin the process, we schedule an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer to talk to you, get to know you, and listen to some of the details of your case. After we discuss your situation, we can provide you with an analysis of your case and a tentative strategy for moving forward. If we are comfortable taking your case, and if you are comfortable with our law firm, we will sign a retainer agreement and begin the process.

Cost Of A Contested Divorce

For a contested divorce, our firm will generally require a retainer beginning at $5,000.00. Please keep in mind that no two divorces are the same, so the final costs for a contested divorce, as well as the amount of the retainer, will vary depending on your particular situation. It is our policy always to do our best to keep the price of your divorce down and your legal fees reasonable. If you are dealing with an uncontested divorce, the cost may be considerably cheaper.

Cost Of Other Family Law Services

Our attorneys handle a wide variety of family law cases, including prenuptial agreements, adoptions, child custody negotiations and modifications, child support negotiations and modifications and much more. Naturally, the cost of our retainer will depend on the facts and legal complexities of your case, so we encourage you to call our office today to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.

Other Offices

NORRISTOWN (610) 924-2870
516 DeKalb Street
Suite C
Norristown,  PA  19401
VOORHEES, NJ (201) 655-7204
227 Laurel Road
Suite 100
Voorhees,  NJ  08043
PRINCETON, NJ (609) 917 9560
29 Emmons Drive
Suite E-30
Princeton,  NJ  08540
DOYLESTOWN (267) 938-4480
44 E Court Street
2nd Floor
Doylestown,  PA  18901
CHICAGO (312) 252-2085
Two Prudential Plaza 180 North Stetson
Suite 3500
Chicago,  IL  60601

Thomas J. Petrelli, Jr.

Thomas J. Petrelli, Jr. is a Philadelphia based family lawyer who focuses his practice on divorce and family-related matters, including support, custody, adoption, and parental rights.

His goal is to help families of all shapes and sizes thrive despite the legal and financial difficulties that arise from divorce, child custody disputes, and domestic violence. Tom prides himself in being adaptable to each individual situation. He works tirelessly to find workable solutions for his clients, regardless of whether he is working on the fair distribution of assets in a divorce or on legal protection for a victim of abuse.

Mr. Petrelli is a trial attorney with a LLM in trial advocacy from Temple University's James E. Beasley School of Law. This means that he has the experience needed to provide representation for cases which go to trial, including custody cases and complex divorces. However, Tom also has a strong background in mediation. He is the owner of Divorce Done Right, a mediation company that offers solutions for families who want a peaceful resolution to divorce and custody issues.

Tom has built his reputation handling high asset divorces. Petrelli Law offers a premier divorce representation services for clients with contentious divorces. However, not all divorces are contentious. Tom also offers a flat-fee Flash divorce for couples who are on a tight budget with few disputes. He has also worked to increase online access to simple legal procedure through a website that provides access to Pennsylvania divorce forms and tools for those who prefer a do-it-yourself option for no-fault divorce.

Tom has received several national and peer-reviewed awards, including being named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since 2009. Tom has been recognized by his peers for his creative solutions to family law matters and is a recurring guest speaker on divorce and family law at the People's Law School.


Named a Top 40 Under 40 Lawyer by the American Society of Legal Advocates
Superb AVVO Rating of 10
Selected for inclusion to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013
Recognized in Who's Who of American Lawyers: 2006 -2009
Voted to Arrival Magazine's Top 50 Family Lawyers in Northeast: 2010, 2011
Named in Suburban Life Magazine's Awesome Attorneys Divorce and Family Law: 2010

Melinda Previtera

Melinda M. Previtera, a partner at Petrelli Law,focuses her practice in all areas of family law including divorce, child support and custody, same-sex marriage rights, and domestic violence law.

Prior to moving to private practice, Ms. Previtera served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable James P. Savio in the family division. She subsequently worked as an associate at the Law Office of Nicholas Clemente, where she was managing attorney of the firm's UFCW Union Legal Plan. Melinda partnered with Diana Schimmel Avena to establish Previtera & Schimmel, LLC after working at Petrelli Law as an associate. She joined the firm again as partner in 2017.

Melinda earned her law degree from Rutgers School of Law. While at Rutgers, she received a certification in mediation, conducted research in child advocacy rights, and completed a domestic violence clinic. She earned dual bachelor's degrees, cum laude, from Dickinson College. She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

In addition to her legal background, Ms. Previtera is an executive committee member of the Justinian Society and an active member of both the Nicholas A. Ciprani Inn of Court and the Philadelphia Bar Association.

The International Women's Leadership Association recognized Melinda as a "Woman of Outstanding Leadership" for her personal and professional achievements and for her dedication to supporting other women in reaching their goals. She was also selected for inclusion in the 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Stars list an honor given to attorneys younger than 40 or who have been in practice for 10 years or less. Also in 2016, Melinda was named to the Top 40 under 40 list by the Institute of Family Lawyers.
  • Bar Number: 308106
  • Bar Number: 308106
  • Bar Number: NA
    New Jersey
  • Bar Number: NA
    New Jersey
  • Rutgers School of Law
  • Dickinson College
    B.S. in Political Science
  • Dickinson College
    B.S. in Women Studies
  • Dickinson College
    B.S. in Women Studies

Diana Schimmel

Diana Schimmel, Partner, focuses her practice exclusively on family law in areas including divorce, custody, support, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, enforcement and modification of agreements, same sex rights, domestic violence, paternity and adoption.

Before establishing her own family law firm, Diana served as the interim law clerk to Judge Donna M. Woelpper in the Family Court of Philadelphia, Juvenile Dependency Branch. She also worked as a child advocate attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia in its Child Advocacy Unit. In that role, Diana honed her courtroom presence, represented numerous dependent children, and advocated for their needs and best interests. She opened Schimmel Family Law in 2013 and worked as a solo practitioner for almost four years before partnering with Melinda Previtera to establish Previtera & Schimmel. Ms. Schimmel Avena has experience in mediation and is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

In addition to her legal background, Diana is a member of the Nicholas A. Cipriani Family Law Inn of Court. She also volunteers with the Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program, The Montgomery Child Advocacy Project and The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research.

Ms. Schimmel Avena is active in the legal community, and her outstanding legal work has earned her the recognition of her peers. She has been selected for inclusion in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers' annual Rising Stars List since 2015, and she was named a Lawyer on the Fast Track by The Legal Intelligencer. Diana was also listed as a Top Family Law Attorney by Philadelphia Life Magazine every year since 2014, and she was named Best Overall Advocate by the Widener Intensive Trial Advocacy Program.
  • Widener University School of Law
  • George Mason University
    Bachelor of Arts in Government & International Politics,

Clymer Bardsley


Clymer Bardsley joined Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC in 2017. Dedicated to serving his clients, Clymer focuses his practice primarily on divorce and family legal matters.

Clymer has been involved in family law since 2004. As an Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, he handled delinquency matters as a prosecutor and carried a caseload of 100 cases at a time from initial appearances through to adjudication. Since 2010, he has handled custody matters in Philadelphia, assisting parents in achieving the best results for themselves and their children. In 2016, he began to work in the area of special education law.

Clymer earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College. He earned his law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Cardozo Journal on Public Law, Policy and Ethics. He received Cardozo's Jacob Burns Medal for his service to the law school.

Clymer has taught at Temple University's John Beasley School of Law, the Ohio State University's Moritz School of Law, and Cardozo School of Law.

An experienced mediator, Clymer regularly mediates divorce, custody, and support matters, as well as other non-family matters when called upon.

Clymer is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and New York.
  • Middlebury College
    Bachelor's Degree
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Kathryn Lyons

Kathryn Lyons has been a family law attorney since 2012. She practices in all areas of family law including divorce, child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, property distribution, paternity and post-degree litigation. A versatile attorney, Kathryn provides her clients with a wide range of legal options for resolving their disputes. She possesses the skills to provide the right means of solving the issues in each unique case, whether it involves artful negotiation, mediation, a contested evidentiary hearing, or trial.

Matthew F. Fox

Matthew F. Fox brings 20 years of legal experience to Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, LLC. He represents clients in all areas of family law including divorce and spousal support, equitable distribution of assets, custody and child support, and more. His education and previous work experience give him an edge in each of his cases.

Jennifer Wallner Saltzman

Recognizing the impact of her work, Jennifer Wallner Saltzman does not shy away from helping clients navigate complex personal issues surrounding their family law matters. Her thoughtful, strategic, and goal-oriented attitude aligns with the firm's mission to help people toward resolution as efficiently and successfully as possible. Simply put, you can expect Jennifer to know all of the details and relevant issues in your case.

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