Proactive Representation Focused On Delivering Positive Results

If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, Noel & Bonebrake can help take much of the stress out of the process. Our divorce attorneys are experienced, capable and highly responsive to your concerns. With candid counsel, we help you focus on realistic, attainable goals, while we work diligently to protect your personal and financial interests. We are accessible to you throughout the process, so you can have confidence in our efforts on your behalf.

The Basics Of Divorce In Pennsylvania

To file for divorce, you or your spouse must meet the residency requirement by having lived in the commonwealth for at least six months. The petitioner initiates the process by filing a Complaint for Divorce in the court of the county where either spouse resides, or a county where both have agreed in writing to file. They can set the tone for the divorce by choosing to file no-fault or to allege grounds for the divorce. No-fault divorces are generally less adversarial, because the petitioner is not impugning the conduct of the other spouse, but is simply asserting the marital relationship is “irretrievably broken.” However, there is a waiting period for a no-fault divorce, depending on specific grounds, as follows:

  • Insanity — The spouse with the mental disorder must have been confined to an institution for at least 18 months prior to filing.
  • Mutual consent — If both parties agree the marital relationship is hopelessly lost, the divorce can be granted 90 days after filing.
  • Petitioner only — The couple must have lived separately and apart for two years if only the petitioner alleges the relationship is over.

Marital misconduct which the law considers to be fault grounds for divorce includes:

  • Willful and malicious desertion, and absence from the home of the innocent spouse, without reasonable cause for at least one year
  • Adultery
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment and/or actions that endangered the life or health of the innocent spouse
  • Bigamy
  • Conviction of a crime and subsequent imprisonment for at least two years
  • Indignities forced upon the innocent spouse that render his/her conditions intolerable and life burdensome

In many cases, alleging grounds allows the divorce to move forward more quickly. Marital misconduct is also a factor the court uses to determine an award of alimony. However, the petitioner who alleges grounds must have hard evidence to support the allegation.

Before the court can issue a divorce decree, the parties must resolve their ancillary issues — alimony, child custody, child support, and division of property — through a negotiated settlement or by litigating the issues in court.

Different Divorce Processes In Pennsylvania

It’s always best to discuss your plans for divorce with an experienced family law attorney before hastily filing. An attorney can provide great assistance by drafting your complaint. But even more importantly, your attorney can advise you on the processes for divorce that might be best for you, such as:

  • Simplified divorce — Couples with no minor children and few property issues can expedite the process with a simplified divorce.
  • Uncontested divorce — If you and your spouse are able to work cooperatively in negotiations or mediation, you might be able to resolve your ancillary issues and present the court with a signed marital settlement agreement. This saves time and expense, and it helps you maintain greater control over the outcome than you would have if you left these questions to a judge.
  • Contested divorce — If there are intense differences in vital areas, such as child custody or property division, you may have to litigate these issues aggressively in court.

Contact Us For Honest And Determined Representation

Noel & Bonebrake provides quality divorce representation for clients in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. To learn how our experienced divorce lawyers can help protect your future, call us today at 610-892-7700 or contact our Media office online to schedule a free consultation.

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