Divorce is the process by which a marriage is legally ended. In Pennsylvania, a divorce can be granted by the court as either fault or no-fault. Most often divorces are granted as no-fault in cases where the parties have irreconcilable differences. This is the quickest and easiest way to get a divorce. Some divorces, however, are granted based on the "fault" of one of the parties. Fault grounds include malicious desertion, adultery, imprisonment and/or indignities. Divorce cases range from the simple and uncontested to the complex.
An action for divorce is commenced with the filing of a Divorce Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas. In addition to requesting the court to grant a divorce, the complaint may also include counts involving the following issues:
Equitable Distribution (division of marital assets)
Spousal Support / Alimony / Alimony Pendente Lite / Counsel Fees
Will You Have To Go To Court?
You may complete the entire divorce process without ever having to go to court. Often times
each party will retain the services of an attorney and the attorneys will exchange information and negotiate a settlement of all issues in your case. This settlement becomes a written court order
and your case is completed. Other times the couple getting divorced has already agreed on what they want to do before ever seeing the lawyer. In this situation the lawyer sees to it that the proper paperwork is processed according to the rules of the court and makes sure that you will not have any problems in the future. In all cases an attorney is necessary to ensure that you are treated fairly and that your case is handled properly so that you will not have future problems.
What happens to the home when both parties are on the deed and mortgage?
What happens to a pension or retirement plan?
Who is responsible for debts?
These are questions that you should review with an attorney.
Because a lot of people are using the courts, the process is backed up and takes a long time - months and even years. It can be expensive, in terms of time and dollars and can be very stressful. I think court should be a last resort in divorce and family law cases. An experienced trial lawyer, however, will not hesitate to take a matter to court and vigorously assert your rights when necessary.
Family law issues are especially difficult because their repercussions can last a lifetime. The way a divorce is handled not only affects today, but will affect your personal and financial life in the future. The terms of a child custody agreement will help shape the relationship you have with your children — a relationship that will last a lifetime. The terms of a divorce settlement will effect your financial future and that of your children.