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In March, Alvina Stewart—Anthony Anderson’s (Blackish, Law & Order) wife—filed for divorce for the second time. Stewart previously filed for divorce in September 2015. The couple reconciled, however, and the petition was demised in 2017. Now, divorce is again a possibility for the couple. In her current petition, she has asked that Anderson:

  • cover both parties’ attorney’s fees, and
  • pay spousal support (amount TBD).

Anthony Anderson soon filed a response. Both parties cited irreconcilable differences, and Anderson listed their official date of separation as February 25th. In Anderson’s response, he has asked that each party pay their own attorney’s fees. He has also agreed to pay alimony but asks that the specific amount be determined later. Anderson’s net worth is believed to be $25 million, and the division of property and debts will also have to be ironed out later.

What Are Irreconcilable Differences?

Irreconcilable differences can be cited as a no-fault ground for divorce in many states, including Pennsylvania. When a couple cites irreconcilable differences (or irretrievable breakdowns) as the grounds for their divorce, they are agreeing that the dissolution of the marriage is not the fault of either party or for a specific reason and is beyond repair. Irreconcilable differences can be born out of:

  • Loss of trust between spouses
  • Communication issues (including arguing or constant disagreement)
  • Physical or emotional intimacy issues
  • Drifting apart
  • Familial tension
  • Personality clashes
  • Financial issues

Advantages of No-Fault Divorce

Couples can benefit from filing no-fault, because no-fault divorces are often quicker and less expensive than fault-based divorces. The other pros of no-fault divorces include:

  • Reducing the amount of stress parties can experience in contentious divorces
  • Allowing couples to have more privacy as fewer details are disclosed in court
  • Benefiting your children and co-parenting relationship by eliminating stress and tension
  • Allowing the process to be more amicable

Requirements for a No-Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

Couples can be awarded a no-fault divorce if they both agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If both parties consent, they can be granted a no-fault divorce if they file a declaration stating they consent to the divorce and 90 days have passed since the divorce petition was filed.

However, if one party files under no-fault grounds and the other party disagrees, things can get complicated. In these cases, a divorce will only be awarded if the divorce petition cites irreconcilable differences, and the following requirements are met (Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 3301(c)).

  • The plaintiff (filing party) submits an affidavit that says the couple has lived apart for at least a year and has irreconcilable differences, and
  • The defendant (non-filing party) doesn’t deny the allegations included in the affidavit, or denies the allegation but the court determines the allegations are true.

Can Fault Impact Divorce Determinations in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the fault-based grounds for divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Cruel treatment
  • Bigamy
  • Imprisonment (for over 2 years)
  • Desertion (for over 364 days or more)

If you file for divorce on fault-based grounds, you will have to substantiate your claim and provide evidence that your spouse caused the divorce because of your cited reasoning. Sometimes people file fault-based divorces because they believe that they (the innocent party) will have an advantage in custody, property division, or alimony determinations.

Marital conduct is one of the factors considered in establishing spousal support (see Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 3701(b)). In some property division cases, a spouse’s marital conduct can be reviewed if it is believed that they wasted marital funds by buying expensive gifts for a mistress, gambling, or funding their drug addiction. If a spouse misused marital funds, the court may award the “innocent” spouse with more assets to offset the other party’s spending.

Why Does the Date of Separation Matter in a Divorce Case?

In a divorce, the date of separation is the day that you and your spouse officially separate and begin leading separate lives. Couples may disagree on the date of separation because this date is important as it relates to the division of property. Once you have separated, the property you gain after the date of separation is considered separate property, which means it is not subject to division by the court.

Affordable No-Fault Divorce Services

Getting divorced doesn’t have to be an extensive, drawn-out process. Cairns Law Offices offers Pennsylvanians a quick and easy way to file for divorce. Using our Divorce Wizard, you can file for an uncontested, no-fault divorce for only $299 (court cost and feeds included). We offer payment plans as well, and you can get started for just $29.

Call (888) 863-9115 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our divorce services.

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