Understanding Divorce Law in Pennsylvania
Divorce law can be complex. At one of the most emotionally trying times in a person’s life, he or she must also sort through and understand the complexities of laws related to the divorce process. It can help to have the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney.
To file for divorce in Pennsylvania, one or both of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months and file in the county in which he or she resides. The state permits divorce on both no-fault and at-fault grounds. No-fault grounds mean one of three things:
- Both spouses agree their marriage is “irretrievably broken”
- One spouse alleges the marriage is irretrievably broken and both spouses have been living apart for at least two years
- One spouse has been confined in a mental institution for at least 18 months with no reasonable prospect of discharge for at least another 18 months
Pennsylvania requires couples filing for divorce based on mutual consent to attend up to three counseling sessions before receiving their divorce decree.
At-fault grounds are based on the conduct of one spouse. This allows the non-offending spouse to file for divorce without any consent or approval from the offending spouse. In order for a spouse to file for divorce based on at-fault grounds, one of the following must have occurred:
- Willful and malicious desertion, which amounts to absence from the family home for at least one year
- Cruel and barbarous treatment and/or endangering a spouse’s life
- The criminal conviction followed by imprisonment of at least two years
- Offered such indignities to that rendered the other spouse’s condition intolerable and created a burdensome life
It is important to work with a divorce attorney regardless of your specific situation, but is essential when you or your spouse has filed for divorce based on at-fault grounds. As the filing spouse, you will be required to prove the grounds and as the allegedly offending spouse, you could be faced with penalties that could prove to be a long-term detriment.
There are many things to consider during a divorce. Legal issues can be complex and the added component of difficult emotions in a divorce can make things even more difficult. The most important thing you can do when settling your divorce is to make sure the most vulnerable members of your family – usually the children – are protected. Having the best possible legal representation makes this easier, whether you are using mediation or you must take matters to court.
If you have decided to end your marriage or your spouse has asked you for a divorce, Gregory Bazylak can help. Gregory understands the stressful nature of divorce and the legal issues it brings. He has worked with clients from all walks of life and knows each family is different and requires a personalized solution that gets to the root of the problem.