Montgomery County Divorce Lawyer
When most people enter into a marriage, they do not expect it to end in divorce. Still, there are almost half as many divorces every year in Pennsylvania – about 2.8 divorces per year for every thousand Pennsylvania citizens, according to CDC statistics.
At the Law Offices of Sadek and Cooper, we understand that divorce may be one of the most stressful things people go through. Sometimes, both sides are willing to work together to come to a quick and simple end to a marriage, and that is great. But other times, each side is bitter about the divorce, or one side may have suffered abuse or mistreatment. In these cases, divorce is often drawn-out and hard-fought. In either case, having an experienced divorce attorney can help you get the results you want from your divorce.
If you are seeking a divorce in Montgomery County, you may have some questions about how divorce works in Pennsylvania. Hopefully, this guide can help answer some of your questions.
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Types of Divorce in Pennsylvania
In some states, you are allowed to get a divorce for any reason (or no reason), and both parties simply need to agree to the divorce. This is called a “no-fault divorce.” Contrast this with the process in other states, where one spouse needs to sue the other for divorce, and prove that there is some reason for the divorce (such as unfaithfulness, abuse, or abandonment). That is a “fault divorce.” Pennsylvania is a hybrid state, and allows both fault and no-fault divorce. This means that, whatever your situation, divorce in Pennsylvania is possible.
A no-fault divorce can be a simple process, if both sides are willing to agree to the divorce itself, division of property, and terms of child custody. If this happens, then filing for divorce is relatively simple. The only thing that holds people back from a quick and simple divorce process is a ninety-day waiting period.
You can also file for a no-fault divorce based on “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. This requires that one party file for divorce, and the other does not contest the divorce. This also requires proof that the couple lived “separate and apart” for two years. That two-year period may start on the day you file for divorce, or could have started much earlier. Sometimes courts will hold hearings and order counseling to try and fix the marriage.
To get a fault divorce in Pennsylvania, one side files for divorce, and alleges a particular reason they want the divorce. Under 23 Pa.C.S. § 3301, there are six different grounds for a fault divorce:
- Desertion – one spouse abandoned the other for one year or longer.
- Adultery – one party had relations outside the marriage.
- Cruel and barbarous treatment – one spouse put the other, innocent spouse’s life or health in danger.
- Bigamy – the other spouse was already married, and knew about it.
- Imprisonment – one spouse has been sentenced to two or more years in prison.
- Indignities – one spouse treated the other, innocent spouse so poorly that their life was miserable.
If any of these conditions are met, and can be proven in court, then that spouse can get the court to grant a divorce, even if the other spouse does not want to get divorced.
What Happens Financially in a Divorce?
There are a few areas of concern with regard to finances in most divorces. First, is the division of property. While most people expect that property is divided equally, there is actually nothing in Pennsylvania law that entitles either party to 50% of the assets. Instead, all marital property is divided “equitably,” under 23 Pa.C.S. § 3502(a) – which basically means “fairly.” This is decided by many factors, including the length of the marriage, age of the parties, jobs, contribution to education, contribution to income, the value of each party’s separate property, and other factors.
Additionally, only “marital property” is divided. This includes anything jointly owned by the spouses, anything acquired during the marriage, and the increase in value of the individual property of both parties during the life of the marriage. “Individual” property is the property that each party had when they entered into the marriage, as well as some gifts and inheritances.
Speak With a Montgomery County Divorce Lawyer of Sadek & Cooper
The other financial concern is support and alimony. Sometimes, courts award alimony, also known as spousal support, so that one spouse is financially taken care of during the divorce, and sometimes for many years after. The amount here is based on factors like the length of the marriage, and relative income of the parties, but also factors like the fault of a spouse in the divorce – something that is not considered in dividing marital property.
If you live in Montgomery County, and you are considering a divorce – or your spouse has filed for divorce against you – call the Law Offices of Sadek and Cooper. Sadek and Cooper works in Montgomery County and the Greater Philadelphia Area to get clients the divorce they want. Call 215-814-0395 to set up a consultation.