Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer
The Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers of Sadek & Cooper Law Offices are experienced in representing the legal needs of our clients in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Our Philadelphia law offices focus on Family Law matters. Representing clients for divorce, uncontested divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, support, equitable distribution, settlement arrangements, custody, and alimony. Our law office provides clients with high-quality legal services, including divorce and family law proceedings while still being able to deliver efficient and affordable legal advice. Our Philadelphia divorce attorneys service Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and provide legal representation for residents of Philadelphia County, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware Counties, Southern New Jersey and other nearby cities. Our primary Philadelphia divorce law office is conveniently located near public transportation and attractions in Center City Philadelphia, PA.
Ending a marriage can be one of the most complex situations that an individual will ever have to deal with. Every marriage is different and, as a result, every PA Divorce is different. At Sadek and Cooper, our law firm understands that your situation is unique and we approach every case with the skills necessary to make sure that your interests are being protected and that you have the best possible chances of achieving your desired outcome.
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Understanding Divorce in Pennsylvania
Under the revised Pennsylvania Divorce Code, a “no-fault” divorce may be obtained without regard to marital fault. The relevant issue in no-fault divorce is whether the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” The Pennsylvania Divorce Code defines an irretrievable breakdown as “estrangement due to marital difficulties with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.” 23 Pa.C.S.A. Section 3103. In addition to irretrievable breakdown, either the consent of both parties or separation of more than two (2) years is required for a Pennsylvania no-fault divorce. These two no-fault grounds are generally raised simultaneously but ultimately, the no-fault divorce must be requested from the Court on one or the other.
Philadelphia Divorce Attorney
For the Pennsylvania Court to grant a divorce based on consent of both parties three requirements must be met: 1) A Complaint has been filed alleging irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, 2) more than 90 days have passed since the date of filing the Divorce Complaint with the Pennsylvania Court, and 3) each party has filed an affidavit consenting to entry of a divorce decree. If the parties fail to comply with the court procedures or time restraints, the Court may dismiss the divorce action. It is imperative that you seek legal counsel for all no-fault divorces in order to avoid the headaches and frustration that go along with trying to navigate the legal system and possibly forfeiting important rights that you may have including but not limited to property distribution.
- LIVING SEPARATE FOR TWO YEARS OR MORE
- The court will grant a divorce, at the request of either party where it can be proved that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the parties have lived separate and apart for two (2) years or more. Physical Separation from the marital home by itself will not satisfy the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. One of the parties must demonstrate an intent to terminate the marriage and such intent must be clearly communicated to the other spouse. On the other hand, it is possible to prove that the parties have been living “separate and apart” even if the parties continue to reside in the same household, whether for economic or other reasons. The separation must be a direct result of marital discord and not due to extenuating circumstances such as employment, military service or hospitalization. If you are considering filing for a no-fault divorce but do not necessarily have the cooperation of your spouse, this is the most likely avenue for success. You should contact us at Sadek and Cooper to schedule a confidential consultation so that we can review your case and make sure that you understand your rights.
- FAULT BASED DIVORCE GROUNDS
- Although their use is relatively uncommon in Pennsylvania today, the Divorce Code still provides Fault Grounds under which an “innocent and injured spouse” may be granted a divorce in the absence of consent or a two year period of separation. Often, today, these grounds are used as a strategic maneuver or a means to an end more than they are an end in and of themselves. If you believe that your situation falls into any of the below categories, that you have any of the below grounds for divorce, you should contact us at Sadek and Cooper to discuss whether raising fault grounds either instead of or in addition to no-fault grounds may be advantageous to your case.
A divorce may be granted when the defendant has willfully and maliciously deserted the innocent and injured spouse and has remained absent from the Plaintiff, without cause, for more than one year.
Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person other than the spouse. There are several defenses that exist to a claim of adultery including, but not limited to recrimination, insanity and the alleged innocent spouse received an ancillary benefit.
CRUEL AND BARBAROUS TREATMENT
An innocent spouse may obtain a divorce on the grounds of cruel and barbarous treatment, where the defendant has endangered the life or health of the filing spouse. A divorce on the grounds of cruel and barbarous treatment may be obtained on the basis of a single, isolated incident if the incident is of sufficient severity. On the other hand, the divorce ground of indignities (discussed hereinbelow), requires a continuing course of conduct.
An innocent and injured spouse may obtain a divorce on the grounds of bigamy where the defendant knowingly entered a bigamous marriage while a former marriage continued. Bigamy may also be a ground for an annulment of a marriage as well.
CONVICTION OF A CRIME
Upon a conviction of a crime where the defendant was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of two years or more, the innocent and injured spouse may seek a divorce.
Indignities may consist of vulgarity, unmerited reproach, habitual contumely, neglect, intentional incivility, manifest disdain, abusive language or ridicule and other manifestations of hatred or estrangement. A divorce may be obtained upon a showing that the defendant offered such indignities to the innocent spouse as to render his or her condition intolerable and life burdensome.
Where insanity or serious mental illness has resulted in the confinement of the Defendant in an institution for 18 months prior to filing the Complaint is deemed grounds for a divorce.
If you are considering filing for divorce or your spouse has filed for divorce against you, you should contact a Philadelphia PA divorce attorney at Sadek and Cooper to schedule a confidential consultation so that we can discuss your situation and advise as to the best possible course of action in order to protect your rights and help you to navigate the system to your best advantage.
When divorce arises, nobody wants to give up possession of anything— especially not children. In such situations divorcing spouses who have children must decide who will get various forms of child custody: it’s noteworthy that physical custody can get especially contentious.
In Pennsylvania, physical custody refers to the legal right of either of the spouses to have the child in one’s care. In essence, this is the person who will have the child in his or her home. Plus, he or she must attend to the child’s needs.
Pennsylvania has 4 types of physical custody, namely: primary, shared, partial and supervised visitation.
- Primary Physical Custody – In this situation, one spouse is awarded care of the child for the majority of the time. He or she will be the child’s primary caregiver.
- Shared Primary Custody – With this type of custody, both spouses are entitled to care for the child. The spouses will usually agree to a set schedule or work together in the best interest of all parties involved.
- Partial Physical Custody – With partial physical custody, a party is granted the right to have unsupervised visitation with the child in question. In most scenarios the schedule can vary: it can be a few hours per week, a certain day or days of the week or weekends, etc.
- Supervised Physical Custody – Supervised physical custody is a special situation where a party has been identified as a known danger to the child. The visit of such a party can be supervised by a relative, a friend, a social worker or somebody else acting on behalf of the county.
According to Pennsylvania law, both natural parents can seek custody of the child. However, a party cannot seek custody if his or her parental rights have been terminated due to adoption proceedings. The judge will look at a number of guidelines to determine if one, both or neither spouse should get custody and what type of custody agreement should be agreed upon. In any case, it helps if both spouses work cooperatively and collaboratively to determine what is best for the child.
Every divorce case is different. Some cases are very complex and involve assets and liabilities, child custody, and alimony, among other issues that must be resolved either by the court or by a written agreement between the parties before a divorce may be granted by the court. Other cases are very simple and do not require the resolution of such issues before a divorce decree may be granted by the court.
If your case is the former, a more complicated matter with assets to divide or other financial claims such as alimony to resolve, then Pennsylvania Divorce law holds that the proper venue, or County, in which to file your case is either the County where you reside or the County where your spouse resides.
If your case is the latter, a less complicated matter where you do not require the division of assets or resolution of other financial claims, then you may want to consider filing your Pennsylvania divorce in a low cost County.
Choosing the Proper (And Most Economically Efficient) Venue in which to File your Pennsylvania Divorce
What is a low cost County? Each County in Pennsylvania sets its own filing fees that must be paid in order to file your divorce paperwork with the court. Most of the Counties surrounding and including Philadelphia County (for example Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, and Chester Counties) charge relatively high filing fees of $300.00 and up. Other Pennsylvania Counties such as Cameron County and Potter County charge less than $100.00 in filing fees. The difference in filing fees and an uncomplicated financial situation can mean big savings for some clients.
In order to determine which type of divorce will most effectively and efficiently achieve your goals, you should schedule a free consultation with Sadek and Cooper today.
Contact our Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers If You are to Begin Custody Proceedings
Irrespective of whether divorce proceedings haven’t been started or if they are already underway, a minor child must be at the top of priorities. When it’s time to seek physical custody, you should contact a custody attorney at Sadek and Cooper Law Offices so that we can help you do what’s best for your child.
Speak To A Philadelphia Divorce Attorney
At Sadek & Cooper Law Offices we understand the stress and sleepless nights your situation may cause, therefore phone calls are promptly returned by our Philadelphia divorce attorneys and professional staff. To schedule a confidential consultation with our lawyers regarding your legal matter please call our primary law office at 215-814-0395.