Frequently Asked Questions About Pennsylvania Divorce
How long must I have been a resident of Pennsylvania before I can file a divorce in a PA county court?
I want a clean, amicable divorce, but I also want to ensure that my rights and my children are protected at the same time. How do I go about this?
Q: My spouse and I have both agreed upon a divorce. What’s the next step?
A: If you and your spouse wish to conduct the divorce amicably, mediation may be your best option. It allows you and your spouse to negotiate the divorce on your own terms with a divorce mediator taking the place of the judge. All divorce mediation cases fall under the Pennsylvania no fault divorce statute, meaning that neither spouse has to be proven at fault for the divorce. After an affidavit of consent has been signed by both spouses, they may move forward with the divorce after a 90-day cooling off period. If a spouse changes his/her mind, they must live apart for at least two years from the date of filing before grounds for a divorce can be established.
Q: My spouse wants a divorce. What should I do?
A: You may understandably be jarred from the experience of being served divorce papers, especially if you did not see it coming. Consider consulting with a divorce coach for advice and emotional support. Then speak with a trusted Montgomery County divorce attorney in your county right away, or contact your county courthouse for assistance. You have a two year deadline to consent to the divorce. You can choose not to respond, but you may lose certain rights this way. Discuss your options and possible outcomes with your attorney and decide whether mediation or litigation is right for you.
Q: How long must I have been a resident of Pennsylvania before I can file a divorce in a PA county court?
A: At least one of the spouses must have lived in Pennsylvania for at least six months immediately prior the commencement of the action for divorce.
Q: What are grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania?
A: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes the following conditions as grounds for divorce:
- Willful and malicious desertion for a period of one or more years;
- Cruel and barbarous treatment which endangered the life or health of the innocent spouse;
- Imprisonment for two or more years;
- Indignities to the innocent spouse as to render that spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome;
- Institutionalization in mental institution for at least 18 months; and,
- Irretrievable breakdown.
Q: What is the difference between a separation and a divorce?
A: Both separation and divorce involve the establishment of legal terms of agreement through which all affairs are settled. Matters that may be resolved in a separation agreement include property division, debts, child custody, alimony, and child support. Court approval is not needed for a separation in Pennsylvania so separating couples can discuss the separation of their estate privately whenever they decide to.
Q: I want a clean, amicable divorce, but I also want to ensure that my rights and my children are protected at the same time. How do I go about this?
A: Mediation is always an option for spouses who want to divorce amicably. However, it may or may not be available to you depending on the feelings of your spouse. Either way, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your case and determine the best way to protect yourself and your children. Be as open as you can with your attorney and ask any questions that come to mind. The more you and your attorney know about your case, the better chances you’ll have of an optimal outcome.
Q: What is the difference between mediation and collaborative divorce?
A: A divorce mediator, a neutral party whose only concern is to protect the interests of all parties involved in the divorce, presides over the former process. Whereas in collaborative divorce, each spouse gets their own lawyer but agrees not to litigate any issues that may arise. Since the court is not involved, they may schedule their own meeting sessions to discuss the terms of settlement with their lawyers present. Once an agreement has been reached, it is filed with the court.
If you have questions about your divorce, please call (610) 645-0100 or (866) 290-9292 today to speak with Montgomery County divorce attorney Sheryl R. Rentz.
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