Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Pennsylvania Divorce Court

Divorce is a stressful process. You cannot just cut off your ties to your previous life. It is always hard for individuals to make the decision to get divorced. Laws in Pennsylvania Divorce Court are discussed here.

Residency Requirements and Grounds for Divorce

Either party must be a Pennsylvania resident for at least six months to file for divorce.

A spouse can get a divorce if he/she simply states in divorce papers that the marriage is permanently broken. This means that there's no chance to continue the marriage. As well, both spouses must agree in writing to the divorce, or need to be separated for two years.

Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania Divorce Court

In cases where spouses have been separated for lesser than two years and don't agree to divorce, one spouse can ask for a divorce on these grounds:

  • Adultery
  • Cruel and brutal treatment putting in danger the life or health of the spouse
  • Imprisonment for two or more years
  • Personal humiliation
  • Imprisonment in a mental institution

If both the parties agree on the main issues, the divorce can be finalized without a trial. The court sets a time for a hearing, if you donít agree on certain issues. If the court thinks that there's a sensible chance for reconciliation, it can order a 90-day cooling-off period.

Dividing the Property

Pennsylvania divorce court believes in equitable division of property. This means that the court looks for a fair division in dividing property. While making a decision about dividing the property, judges are likely to concentrate on some of the following factors:

  • Marriage length
  • Previous marriages
  • The age, health, location, income, career skills, estates, legal duties and needs of each party.
  • The chance of the parties to gain future income and assets
  • Source of income
  • The standard of living of both the parties
  • With whom the children will reside most of the time

A court can order alimony, as it thinks reasonable to either spouse, but only if it's needed. Alimony usually isn't permanent.

Child Custody and Visitation

In Pennsylvania, the court will make child custody decisions based upon what is in the best interest and welfare of the child. Sole or joint custody are the two options. Visitation is granted to a non-custodial parent.

In making a custody decision, the court will consider such factors as:

  • The child's first choice and the wishes of the parents concerning custody
  • Ability and wishes of parents to be involved in meeting the needs of the child.
  • The relation of the child with parents and any other person who may affect the child's best interests
  • Which parent may allow the child regular contact with the other parent
  • Childís adjustment to the his/her home, school, and society
  • The mental and physical health condition of parents
  • If there is any history of child abuse

In Pennsylvania divorce court, child support is based on the combined net income of the parents and how many children each parent is responsible for supporting.

Once the judge signs the custody orders and they are filed with the court clerk, it is very important that both parents follow it. The Pennsylvania divorce court can change the orders if there has been an important change in situations.

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