Haverford Divorce Lawyers
Legal Representation in a Haverford Divorce
Haverford is immortalized in a classic film dealing with love, marriage, and divorce. The Philadelphia Story shows Katherine Hepburn, as a Main Line divorcee, at the Merion Cricket Club in Haverford. In the movie, she gets to choose between marrying Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and John Howard. Not every divorced person has three re-marriage options, but divorce can give you more choices.
Around 6,000 people live in Haverford proper. Of those, 46.59 percent are married - and only 5.73 percent are divorced. Of course, these statistics do not take into account first or second marriages that ended in divorce before the right one came along. Divorce can be difficult, both emotionally and legally. In Haverford divorce cases, there are a few extras to consider.
Why Is Divorcing in Haverford More Complicated?
Because Haverford is unincorporated, it belongs to two separate jurisdictions: Montgomery County and Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Where exactly you live in Haverford will determine which county court handles your divorce complaint.
Haverford to the east belongs to Lower Merion Township, which is in Montgomery County. Haverford to the west belongs to Haverford Township, which places all residents in the jurisdiction of Delaware County. If you’re near the middle, it’s down to county lines.
Basics of Filing in Delaware County
Fill out your Pennsylvania divorce complaint, with all the required forms. Divorce pleadings are filed at the Office of Judicial Support at the Delaware County Courthouse. Pay the Delaware County-specific filing fee to the clerk.
Then, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce complaint, and prove that you did so. In the upcoming case, you must comply with all Delaware County’s local rules in addition to Pennsylvania’s.
Delaware County recommends that you have an attorney.
Basics of Filing in Montgomery County
Fill out your Pennsylvania divorce complaint, with all the required forms. Check for any Montco-specific forms that may also need to be filed. Divorce cases are filed at the Prothonotory’s office in the Montgomery County Courthouse. Pay the Montgomery County-specific filing fee to the clerk.
Serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce complaint, and file an affidavit to prove that you did so at the same office. In the upcoming case, you must comply with all Montgomery County’s local rules in addition to Pennsylvania’s.
Divorce Checklist: Things to Think About
- Consider a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement works the same way as a prenup - you and your ex-spouse sit down and divide up your assets. In Pennsylvania, both spouses MUST have different attorneys representing them. Likewise, all assets must be fully disclosed for the postnuptial agreement to be valid. But if the divorce is amicable, this agreement should cover all your bases.
- Consider what you want to file. If you fail to raise a claim for alimony, division of property, lawyer fees or expenses in your initial divorce complaint, you lose your right to claim any of this when the divorce decree is entered.
- Consider custody arrangements. When children are involved, divorce is more difficult. The basic Pennsylvania divorce form does not mention children at all, but some counties require the spouse who files for divorce to disclose if there are any children under 18. Custody can be addressed in a postnuptial agreement or through the court.
- Consider child support. Child support should be requested at time of divorce. If you file for child support afterward, applications must be filed in person either through Montco’s Domestic Relations office, or through Delaware County’s Domestic Relations office.
- Consider your estate plan. If you have a will, you’ll want to update it. But your estate plan isn’t just a will; it’s managing all the things you’ve earned or care about, including who will raise your children if something happens to you.
- Consider changing your name. Legal name changes are done through the local county clerk or prothonotory’s office, and it can be requested at time of divorce. After your request is approved, name changes can be requested for driver’s license, passport, emails, etc.
Contentious Divorce in Haverford
If you or your spouse is unwilling to allow the divorce (or disagrees with who-gets-what), you can try alternative dispute resolution (ADR) like mediation - but you should always have your own Haverford family law lawyer. Contentious divorces almost always end up in court.
Haverford has six "at-fault" grounds for divorce, per Pennsylvania law:
- Abandonment of more than one year
- Cruel treatment
- Imprisonment of more than two years
- "Indignities" suffered by one innocent spouse make the marriage intolerable
Insanity is also grounds for divorce, but requires a long period of confinement in a mental institution. If you claim a “fault” for your divorce, then you must prove it in court.
Contested divorce requires the filling of asset inventories along with asset appraisals, and you will attend a pre-trial conference. If you and your spouse are still unable to settle, then you proceed to a full court trial.
Divorce Resources for Haverford
Montgomery County Courthouse - Court of Common Pleas
2 E. Airy St,
Norristown, PA 19404
Delaware County’s Court of Common Pleas
Office of Judicial Support, Room 126
201 West Front St.
Media, PA 19063
Support Groups and Divorce Therapists
School and Day Care
Haverford Divorce Attorney Sheryl R. Rentz
Haverford has a proud history and great educational institutions - including, but not limited to Haverford College - and it is the perfect place to call home. All around the Haverford rail station is a strong community made up by men and women, young and old, married and single. It may not be fashionable to divorce, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do for your future.
If you’re facing divorce, contact The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. We work with families to handle high-profile divorce cases involving all types of domestic issues, including alimony, annulment, bankruptcy, child custody and support, mediation, asset division, and more. Please call (610) 645-0100 for a free consultation with a Haverford divorce attorney about your situation.