Deborah Zitomer Esquire, LLC
Advocating for Families In Norristown and Montgomery County Since 1990
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The Basics Of Filing For Divorce In Pennsylvania

It's unfortunate that you've reached this point, but things are just too far gone between you and your spouse and a divorce is on the horizon. As a Pennsylvania resident, there are some things you should know before beginning the divorce proceedings.

  • The Divorce Process - In Pennsylvania, divorcing begins with a "complaint." A complaint is filed by the plaintiff, with the other spouse thereby becoming the defendant. You are able to file for divorce in Pennsylvania as long as one spouse has been a resident for at least six months before the divorce began. The complaint is filed in Pennsylvania's Court of Common Pleas.
  • Types of Divorce - When filing for divorce in Pennsylvania, there are three options available: A mutual consent divorce, a fault divorce, and a divorced based on a two-year separation. A mutual consent divorce is best when both spouses agree that there is no alternative to save the marriage, and that a divorce is necessary. This is otherwise referred to as a no-fault divorce. A fault divorce occurs when the defendant has directly caused the marriage to fail, as determined by Pennsylvania law. A divorce based on a two-year separation occurs if the parties do not agree on a divorce but have lived apart for two years prior to the complaint being filed.
  • The Cost of a Divorce - A divorce is costly for both parties, with financial experts saying that an individual's net worth can be reduced by 75% as a result. You'll want to invest in a trusted, reputable legal team that can help protect your assets and best interests. There will also a court fee when submitting your divorce complaint.
  • There Are 17 Factors of Alimony - Alimony is one of the most important part of the divorce proceedings. In Pennsylvania, there are 17 elements that are considered when the courts are deciding whether to award alimony or not, and how much will be paid if so. Although these 17 factors are considered, there is no set formula used by the courts, so trying to predict alimony beforehand can be difficult.
  • You'll Have to Hand Over Some Important Documents - During a divorce, you'll be required to give current balance statements for all of your assets and liabilities. You'll also need to provide proof of income and tax information dating back a few years. Any insurance that you have will also need to be provided. These documents will be especially important if there is a disagreement between you and your ex over your children or finances.
  • A Divorce Is Permanent - A divorce should not be an emotional decision. You should only file for divorce if there is no other alternative, and you and your ex have exhausted other options. You should be able to divorce with dignity and respect for your ex so that the process is not painful. You can have a separation agreement that settles your affairs and allows you to live apart without filing for divorce.

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