Are you thinking about filing for divorce in Pennsylvania? If so, first we want to commend you for taking the initiative and doing your own research about the process.
The more you understand about Pennsylvania divorce law, the better position you will be in to make informed decisions about your future.
In Pennsylvania, divorces fall into one of four categories: Mutual consent, one-year separation, fault divorce, and mental hospital. Of the four basic types of divorce, we recommend a mutual consent divorce wherever possible.
For our purposes, we are going to go into detail about the mutual consent and one-year separation divorce. For starters, the mutual consent divorce is by far the easiest and least stressful type of divorce.
With a mutual consent divorce, the spouses can obtain a divorce as early as 90 days after the complaint is filed and served upon the defendant.
Once the complaint is filed by the plaintiff (the spouse who files the divorce), over the next 90 days the spouses' attorneys work on a settlement agreement that addresses:
If the spouses can agree on a settlement agreement on the aforementioned issues, the judge can sign off on their agreement and enter it into the final divorce decree.
The above applies to a "mutual consent" divorce. If one of the parties refuses to consent to the divorce, then the couple will have a one-year separation divorce.
One-Year Separation Divorce
Like a mutual consent divorce, a one-year separation divorce is a "no-fault" divorce under Pennsylvania law. In this type of divorce, one of the spouses is refusing to consent to the divorce.
When this happens, the person who wants the divorce has to wait until they have been separated from their spouse for one year before they can get divorced.
Once one year has passed, the spouse who wants the divorce must sign an affidavit stating that they have been separated from their husband or wife for one year or longer, citing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
The spouse who wants the divorce must serve the affidavit upon their spouse, and if he or she fails to respond, their divorce can be granted.
If the spouse – the defendant – files a counter-affidavit disputing that one year has passed or argues that the marriage is NOT broken, then a hearing will be scheduled and the judge will decide if a divorce should be granted.
If you need a Pennsylvania no-fault divorce attorney, contact Cairns Law Offices to learn about our simple and affordable divorce services!