What to Expect During a Divorce in PennsylvaniaNovember 11, 2012
Divorce is a complicated and difficult area of practice. Most individuals have no idea what to expect during the divorce process. In this blog post, we explain what you can expect should it become necessary for you to seek a divorce.
Under Pennsylvania law, you or your spouse must have lived in Pennsylvania for at least six months prior to filing a divorce complaint. The complaint should be filed in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where you or your spouse lives.
No-Fault or Uncontested Divorce
If you and your spouse agree to proceed with a divorce, you can obtain an uncontested divorce by mutual consent. If you share property, debts or have children together, you will need to reach a mutually acceptable marital settlement agreement that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party. An uncontested divorce is faster and allows the parties to avoid going to court. If you and your spouse are not in total agreement on the issues surrounding your divorce but believe it is possible that you could come to an agreement, you may want to look into an alternative method of dispute resolution, the Collaborative Law option.
Collaborative Law at Daley Zucker
Daley Zucker recognizes the importance of alternative methods of dispute resolution, which is why we offer the Collaborative Law option to our clients facing separation and divorce. Collaborative Law is a dispute resolution practice that allows spouses to resolve their divorce issues by negotiating a mutually acceptable settlement. It is often a less expensive and more amicable way to obtain a divorce.
No-Fault but Contested Divorce
If your spouse does not agree to a divorce, you may still obtain a no-fault divorce if you have been living separate and apart for a period of at least two years, the marriage is irretrievably broken and either (1) your spouse does not deny your allegations, or (2) the court determines that you have lived separate and apart for two years and the marriage is irretrievably broken. However, if any issues in the divorce, such as custody, support or division of property are not agreed upon, these issues will have to be resolved by court order.
Fault or Contested Divorce
Fault divorces require a court hearing and evidence. There are seven grounds for a fault divorce in Pennsylvania:
- Willful and malicious desertion and absence from the marital home, without a reasonable cause, for the period of one (1) or more years.
- Extreme cruelty, including any physical or mental cruelty that endangers your safety or health, or which makes continued living together improper or unreasonable.
- Knowingly entering a bigamous marriage while a former marriage still exists.
- Sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two (2) years upon conviction of having committed a crime.
- Imposed such indignities on the innocent spouse as to render that spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome.
- Insanity or serious mental disorder which has resulted in confinement in a mental institution for at least eighteen (18) months immediately before the filing of the complaint, and where there is no reasonable prospect that the spouse will be discharged from inpatient care during the 18 months subsequent to the commencement of the action.
Contact DZMM for Help with your Harrisburg Divorce
Regardless of whether your divorce is amicable, contested, or somewhere in between, the attorneys at Daley Zucker will meet with you, explore all of your options, and do everything necessary to protect your interests and help you get through the process. If you are in central Pennsylvania and require a divorce, please contact us at 717-724-9821 to learn how our attorneys can help you.