There are two main roads to obtaining a divorce decree in Pennsylvania: a no-fault divorce, and a divorce based on fault grounds. Most people prefer to use the no-fault divorce as their highway rather than the bumpy dirt road of a fault divorce.
When filing for divorce, you may request other types of relief, including alimony pendente lite (temporary alimony during the divorce process), equitable distribution of property, spousal support, child custody, counsel fees and maintenance of health/life insurance. Wesley will explain the law and how it will impact your unique situation. Call him now to set up a consultation.
There are two types of no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania: Mutual No-Fault Divorce and Unilateral No-Fault Divorce.
A Mutual No-Fault Divorce, or 90-day consent divorce, is when the party filing the divorce, also known as the plaintiff, files the divorce complaint and serves it on the defendant. If after the 90-day waiting period expires and both the parties consent to a divorce, an affidavit of consent is signed by each party and filed with the court. This does not mean that you will be divorced in 90 days. The Pennsylvania legislature made the 90 days a statutory waiting period to make sure that the parties truly want to divorce.
However — and this is important — it is almost always necessary to have all financial issues, such as equitable distribution and alimony claims, resolved before a divorce decree is entered.
What if one of the parties will not consent to the divorce after 90 days? The Pennsylvania legislature was wise to include a 2-year no-fault Unilateral No-Fault Divorce option. After the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of two years, the plaintiff may obtain a divorce without the consent of the defendant (the other spouse). In Chester County, it is usually required that the financial issues between the parties be resolved before a divorce decree is entered.
The phrase "separate and apart" has a specific legal meaning in Pennsylvania. You may be living separate and apart from one another even though you live under the same roof. Contact our office to arrange a consultation to discuss your rights.
A divorce based on fault is increasingly rare in Pennsylvania, and is only appropriate in particular circumstances. Most of the time it is procedurally, financially, and emotionally easier for the parties to proceed with a no-fault divorce if possible.
In some cases, there are procedural advantages to pursuing a fault divorce, and a limited hearing will be to determine whether the “fault” exists. The most common “fault” grounds are indignities or adultery. Examples of "indignities" include verbal and/or physical abuse and public humiliation.
Proceeding under a “fault” divorce has pitfalls as well; condonation is one of them. Condonation is the legal term for forgiveness of a fault ground for divorce. It is the resumption of the marriage with forgiveness of the fault. It can simply mean having had sexual intercourse with the offender after the fault was committed.
If you are considering divorce in Pennsylvania and want to learn more about your options, contact the Law Office of Wesley W. Legg, Esquire, LLC today at (484) 401-7079 or via our online contact form to set up a consultation regarding your family law issue. Wesley W. Legg represents clients living in Chester County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County.