When you file for a divorce, you are seeking to end your marriage by law. A divorce is a court judgment ending a marriage. As such, a dissolution of marriage is a personal matter that must be well thought of before proceeding with the divorce process.
The final outcome will have a significant impact on you and your ex-spouse’s financial and parental rights. As such, with so much at stake, it is essential that you retain an experienced legal counsel to protect your perspective rights during and after the divorce process.
Pennsylvania recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. No Fault can either be a mutual consent divorce or no-consent divorce. Fault grounds includes willful desertion, adultery, cruelty and bigamy. No Fault is usually filed under irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, thus qualifying for a no fault. No Fault divorce is usually a consensual divorce initiated by the couple, however that is not always the case, in which case it would be a no-consent divorce.
A No fault divorce is usually a divorce obtained by the mutual consent of the parties. As such, each party must usually submit a sworn statement consenting to the divorce. However, if it happens that the Divorce is not initiated by the mutual consent of the couple, then the rules are different in Pennsylvania. In that case, parties to a divorce must each submit sworn statements that they had lived separate lives for a least one (1) year . The judge determines the allegations in the divorce paper and whether there’s a reasonable expectation of reconciliation. In some cases, the judge may follow up for a couple of months, usually about four months, so that the couple can seek counseling if there is any hope of reconciliation.
A fault divorce is usually obtained when the spouse seeking divorce alleges that the other spouse is the reason for the failure of their marriage. The reasons vary and they include adultery, bigamy, domestic violence and unreasonable abandonment.
Petitioner: The spouse who files the first divorce or legal separation forms with the court.
Respondent: The spouse who is on the receiving end of the filed divorce or legal separation forms.
In Pennsylvania, one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six (6) months prior to filing for divorce. Divorce can be filed in the county where either one of the spouses reside.