Divorce in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania provides for both fault and no-fault divorce. Typically, it is less expensive to seek a no-fault divorce, but in a limited number of circumstances, it may be strategically necessary to seek a divorce on fault-based grounds. Each divorce case is unique, which makes it necessary to seek the assistance of a well-qualified negotiator. Contact Dutko Law and see how we can assist you in your divorce proceeding.

Jurisdiction is an important consideration when filing a divorce complaint. Pennsylvania law requires that the party filing the complaint reside in Pennsylvania for at least 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.

What To Expect From An Experienced Divorce Lawyer

Attorney Dutko will gather the necessary information required for the divorce complaint and diligently prepare the complaint for filing. If you are the defendant in a divorce matter, Attorney Dutko will review the filing to determine whether a counterclaim should be filed. After the filing and service, Attorney Dutko will begin to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement to resolve all claims between ex-spouses. When negotiations are unsuccessful, Attorney Dutko will prepare and serve discovery on the opposing party in order to move the case forward in the most effective manner. Discovery responses can often initiate settlement negotiations and can result in a fair and equitable distribution of marital assets.

Fault Grounds

Pennsylvania recognizes six-fault grounds:

  1. Adultery
  2. Desertion
  3. Cruelty
  4. Indignities
  5. Bigamy
  6. Incarceration of the spouse

Each ground has its own requirements that must be proven before a divorce will be granted. For instance, to prove “indignities” the party must show that the treatment was intolerable and burdensome. For a party to prevail on incarceration, the imprisonment must be for two or more years. Click here for a FREE CONSULTATION.

No-Fault Grounds

Pennsylvania legislatures have created two types of no-fault divorce: consent and non-consensual.
A consensual divorce can be granted after 90 days from the filing and service of the complaint. Both parties are required to sign a few forms and then the attorney prepares the final documentation so the forms can be presented to a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Once the judge has signed the documents, the decree of divorce is complete.

A non-consensual divorce is the second type of no-fault divorce. Here, the parties must live “separate and apart” for a period of one or two years, depending upon the year of separation, and the marriage must be irretrievably broken. Living separate and apart does not require the parties to live in separate residences. Pennsylvania courts have found couples that continue to reside together, in limited instances; can be deemed to be living separate and apart.

Other Claims

Pennsylvania permits other claims to be filed within the initial divorce complaint. For instance, a common divorce complaint would include counts for Custody, Alimony, Alimony Pendente Lite, and Equitable Distribution of Property. Spousal support and property division are important considerations and should be discussed with an attorney to make sure your economic rights are protected.