by: Stephen Sebald

If you’re in the situation where you are seeking a divorce in the state of Pennsylvania, there are a number of factors that should be considered as you begin the process. Unlike many other states, PA will accept reasons of fault and no-fault while filing for a divorce, but even then it’s never a simple process, especially when children are involved. At Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox, we seek to make your divorce proceedings as painless as possible. Read on to learn more about divorce proceedings in the keystone state.

Timeline Rarely a smooth and quick process, there are a number of time considerations when it comes to filing and finalizing a divorce. If the separation is mutually agreed upon and consented to, the couple must still wait 90 days after filing until the court will rule on the divorce.

Without mutual consent, and either spouse denies what’s being said in the divorce paperwork, four months can elapse in which the couple is urged to seek counseling. In addition, at least one spouse needs to have lived in PA for at least half a year preceding the divorce filing.

Establishing Grounds Reasons for divorcing are as different as each individual relationship. Grounds for divorce include those where one partner is considered at fault, including adultery, bigamy, cruelty, and willful desertion. When filing for a no-fault divorce, the marriage is considered by both parties to be broken beyond repair, and must sign a statement swearing so.

Dividing Property Dividing assets from a marriage is one of the most difficult parts of a divorce proceeding. The following factors are all considered by a judge, regardless of fault reasons for filing: marriage length, past marriages, standard of living during the marriage, the needs and resources of each person, and the contributions each person brought to the marriage.

Caring for Children When a marriage includes minor children, there are multiple factors at play when the courts consider how to best care for those children, including setting custody rights and child support payments. This is ideally done with the best interest of the children in mind, as well as keeping each parent accountable for supporting the children throughout their lives.

  • Child Support in Pennsylvania takes into account the parent’s income and financial ability when setting child support requirements, but do allow for exceptions if a child has particularly unusual or exceptional expenses, such as in the case of a disability. One firm requirement is that the child in question will be receiving healthcare benefits from at least one of the parents.
  • Custody battles are infamously painful, but don’t have to be with a dedicated lawyer. Courts will take into account the best living environment for a child, including consideration of factors housing situations, drug or alcohol abuse, and the likelihood of each parent to encourage the child to maintain contact with the other. If a parent wishes to relocate with their child, against the wishes of the other parent, they will need to prove that such a change is in the child’s best interest.

Going through a divorce can be stressful and painful, which is why it’s important to obtain the best legal assistance you can to help ease your anxiety. While it might be tempting to simply skip the cost of hiring a lawyer, an experienced family law attorney will ensure that the paperwork is properly filed and if necessary, help you negotiate terms of separation that are more beneficial than what you could do on your own. Call us today at Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox to discuss your situation: (814) 833-1987.