If you are considering divorce in Pennsylvania, you will need to obtain experienced legal guidance from our divorce attorneys at The Maroto Law Group. In Pennsylvania, there are fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce. Mutual consent is a common type of no-fault divorce. Both parties can file an affidavit that consents to the divorce 90 days after the divorce complaint has been served on the defendant.
When this mutual consent occurs, a collaborative divorce can be pursued for a much smoother resolution. Another type of no-fault divorce occurs when the parties are separated for a period of two years or more. If wrongdoing was involved in the decision to pursue divorce, a fault-based divorce may be obtained. Some of the forms of wrongdoing that can be claimed in a fault-based divorce include:
Cruel and barbarous treatment
The court can also grant a divorce if the defendant has been placed in a mental institution for 18 months and if he or she is expected to be in the mental hospital for at least another 18 months
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As you pursue divorce, many issues will need to be settled. You will need to determine how bills, mortgage payments, childcare and other responsibilities will be handled during your separation and before the court grants your divorce. Some of the main issues of a divorce that must be decided include:
If you and your spouse can come to an agreement on all of these issues without the help of the court, then you can proceed with your uncontested divorce. Many couples, however, have a difficult time resolving disputes over their divorce terms. If you cannot agree on the terms of your divorce or if your spouse will not sign the divorce papers for some reason, then you may need to pursue a contested divorce. In a contested divorce case, a master or a judge may decide some or all of the issues for the divorcing parties.
Pennsylvania judges observe the idea of equitable distribution. This means they will be inclined to divide assets and property in a way they deem fair, which may not always be equal, but will include equal consideration of the financial needs and lifestyles of each spouse to decide an arrangement of division that works for both parties.
The same will apply to spousal and custody support; the judge will consider the incomes and needs of each spouse to determine who should pay what amount.
This will be done to ensure that both parties and their children are adequately supported. Judges will prefer to rule in favor of joint custody, allowing a child to spend a substantial amount of time with each parent and giving both parents equal say in major decisions concerning the child's livelihood—including their education, religious upbringing, medical care, etc. However, they will consider each parent's lifestyle, income, and suitability to ultimately ensure that the child's best interests are maintained.