An Experienced Divorce Attorney located in Chester County, PA
Are you seeking a Divorce in Chester County?
How do I file for Divorce in West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania?
There are two (2) main roads to obtaining a divorce decree in Pennsylvania either a 1) no-fault divorce or 2) a divorce based on fault grounds. The vast majority of clients choose the no-fault divorce as their highway rather than the bumpy dirt road of a fault divorce. If and when you decide to file for divorce you may want to make other claims for relief including but not limited to alimony pendente lite, 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 me now to set up a consultation!
What is a No-Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania?
There are two main types of no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania: Mutual No-Fault Divorce and Unilateral No-Fault Divorce.
A Mutual No-Fault Divorce - 3301(c) or a 90-day consent divorce is when the plaintiff (or the party filing the divorce) files the divorce complaint and serves it on the defendant. If after the 90-day waiting period expires and both the plaintiff and defendant (Husband and Wife) consent/agree to a divorce, then 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 that serves as a cooling-off period to make sure that the parties truly want to divorce.
However, this is important, it is almost always the case to have the financial issues resolved –e.g. all equitable distribution and alimony claims before a divorce decree is entered.
Unilateral No-Fault Divorce - 3301(d)
What if one of the parties will not consent to the divorce after 90-days? The Legislature was wise to include a 1-year no-fault unilateral divorce option. After the parties have lived separate and apart (which has its’ own unique definition) for a period of 1 year, the plaintiff may obtain a divorce without the consent of the other spouse – usually the defendant.
However, it should be noted that in Chester County, it is required that the financial issues between the parties be resolved first before a divorce decree is entered (unless you attemped to bifurcate the divorce). You may be living separate and apart from one another even though you live under the same roof. You should contact our office immediately to set up a consultation to find out your rights.
Fault Grounds (a dying breed).
Moving for a fault divorce is a very rare occurrence and is only appropriate in particular circumstances. A fault divorce is something seen on TV and not really a practical option for people in the real world. Basically it is procedurally easier, financially easier and emotionally easier for the parties to proceed with a no-fault divorce.
If there are procedural advantages to obtaining fault divorce, then it will be required to have a limited hearing to determine whether the “fault” exists. The most common “fault” grounds are indignities or adultery. What is an indignity? Some examples are verbal and/or physical abuse and public humiliation.
Proceeding under a “fault” divorce has its’ pitfalls as well; and Condonation is one of them. Condonation is the legal jargon 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 sexual intercourse with the “fault” offender.
If you are considering divorce in Chester County and want to learn more about your options, contact the Law Office of Wesley W. Legg, Esquire 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, Montgomery and Delaware Counties.