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How do I file for divorce in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2022 | Family Law |

Nobody likes to think about the possibility that their marriage won’t last a lifetime. However, it’s not only possible but likely that many Pennsylvania married couples will face such realizations before this year comes to a close. If you’re a spouse who is considering filing for divorce, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the legal steps you must take to do so.

Each state has its own divorce laws. In Pennsylvania, either you or your spouse must have resided within this state for at least six months prior to filing a divorce petition in court. When you file your petition, you must do so in a county where you or your ex are living.

There are 2 types of divorce in Pennsylvania

When you file for a divorce in this state, you must determine whether you will list your request as a no-fault or at-fault divorce. If you want to end your marriage because of a specific event (such as infidelity) or issue for which your spouse is to blame, then the latter option might be the best choice in your case.

If you and your spouse have already worked out a financial agreement, and both of you want a divorce because you believe that you cannot restore your marriage, it might be best to file for a no-fault divorce.

Listing fault in a divorce petition

In addition to infidelity, the following issues are legitimate reasons to file for an at-fault divorce in this state:

  • Your spouse deserted you.
  • Your spouse treated you with cruelty that put your health or safety at risk.
  • You discovered that your spouse is a bigamist.

If you list desertion as a reason for an at-fault divorce, your spouse must have left you and stayed gone for one year or more.

Resolve all issues regarding property, finances and children

No two divorces are exactly the same. Before you can settle your case, you must achieve an agreement about various issues that will have an impact on your new lifestyle. If you have children, for instance, you must resolve custody and child support matters.

You must also agree to a property division plan, which, in this state, is determined under equitable property guidelines, meaning that you and your ex must agree to a fair, albeit, not necessarily equal, division of assets and liabilities. It’s not uncommon to encounter challenges when you file for a divorce in Pennsylvania; however, as long as you know where to seek additional support when you need it, you can be confident that you will be able to accomplish your goals.