Divorce In The State Of Pennsylvania
When a married couple residing in Pennsylvania wishes to legally divorce, it’s important to understand the unique aspects of the law that may differ from state to state. These nuances are significant and can impact the outcome of your divorce. In this article, we will take a look at Pennsylvania’s divorce process and the laws governing it so that we can bring to light the important differences of which you should be aware when filing for divorce in this Commonwealth.
How Does Divorce In Pennsylvania Differ From Other States?
Let’s begin with the more important topic, the differences. Unlike many states that only have “no-fault” divorces, Pennsylvania allows spouses to seek “fault” divorces. In a fault divorce, courts will consider either spouse’s misconduct as it relates to the divorce. Marital misconduct includes adultery, abuse and drug addiction. Additionally, you should be aware that divorce differs state-by-state in any of the following areas, so you should learn the most current laws governing these:
- Process serving requirements
- How to file for divorce
- Waiting periods or cooling-off periods
- Property distribution
- Divorce filing fees
- Child custody laws
- Child support and alimony
- Legal separation requirements
- Grounds for divorce and getting a no-fault divorce
- Contested vs. uncontested divorce
- Divorce vs. dissolution of marriage
- And more…
What Part Of The Divorce Process Is The Same?
Though divorce in Pennsylvania differs from other states in certain regards, the divorce process generally follows a similar series of steps. Keep in mind this process can and will vary greatly for any number of reasons.
- The divorce process begins with a petition (or complaint) which is a legal document that says why the spouse wants a divorce and how he or she wants to settle finances, custody, and other issues.
- The petition is then filed and served to the other spouse who must then answer the petition within a certain amount of time, otherwise the court will assume parties are in agreement.
- Next the divorcing spouses must divide assets and determine custody of children, support, and alimony. If an agreement can be reached through mediation or settlement, and the judge approves of the agreement, the divorce is granted without needing to go to trial.
- If an agreement cannot be reached, each side may present evidence and arguments. The judge then decides any unresolved issues and grants the divorce.
The Pennsylvania Divorce Process
Grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania Include: adultery, abandonment for at least one year, bigamy, excessive cruelty (abuse), felony conviction, imprisonment for at least two years, institutionalization for insanity or a serious mental disorder for at least 18 months with no prospect of discharge, or irreconcilable differences.
To obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania, at least one of the parties must have resided in the state for six months before divorce procedures begin. Spouses may agree to a mutual divorce, or may present a fault divorce to the court.
The length of the divorce process depends upon many factors. With the help of a divorce lawyer, there is no waiting to file for a fault divorce. Also, it is possible to file a mutual consent divorce after a 90-day waiting period. Other divorce types, including mental hospital divorces, two-year separation divorces, non-consent divorces, and military divorces may take longer to complete for a variety of reasons including mandatory waiting periods.
Most important to note is that a lawyer must be hired if the spouse who is filing wishes to divide property, file for custody of children, receive alimony, or receive payment for expenses including legal fees.
Contact Colgan & Associates To Be Your Divorce Lawyer Today
When filing for a divorce in Pennsylvania, it can be an overwhelming task to navigate on your own. You want to be sure you have an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney on your side to represent your best interests and to be sure you are treated fairly, both by your spouse and by the law.
Colgan & Associates has extensive experience representing Pennsylvania dicorce cases and helping divorcing spouses navigate the intricacies of paperwork, court hearings, separation of assets, child custody, and much more. Should you or someone you know be in need of legal representation in a divorce, do not hesitate to contact Colgan & Associates today for a no-cost, no-obligation phone consultation. Call us at (717) 790-2048.