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Divorce Process in PA

Divorce Process in PA


Guide to Divorce Process in PA


Most of the time, divorce procedures cause stress and complications for the spouses, children, and rest of the family.  The divorce process in PA is intended to provide equal rights to both spouses and all children equally, but the process can be fairly complex within the state.  The divorce process in PA is similar to other states in some aspects, but some of the procedures are unique to the state.  


Grounds for Divorce


Within the state of Pennsylvania, there are “no-fault” grounds and many fault-based grounds for divorce.  Below are the conditions for each ground of divorce:


1) No-Fault Based- a marriage must be irretrievable and 90 days must go by after the petition is filed.  The two parties must also live apart for at least two years before this divorce option is available.  


2) Fault-Based- The following conditions can result in a fault divorce:


• Malicious desertion for at least one year

• Adultery

• Cruel treatment or endangerment of life or health

• Bigamy 

• Incarceration for at least two years


Filing and Settlement Procedures


The first step to filing divorce includes submitting the necessary papers to the circuit county clerk’s office.  There are many forms that are needed in the state of Pennsylvania, so you should consider hiring a family law attorney before you begin any stage of the divorce.  The next step in the divorce process in PA includes sending the other spouse a copy of the court papers through certified mail or a proper server.  


The next step includes the division of property, child support and custody, and spousal support.  This divorce process in PA is extremely complex, and each category is determined upon many factors.  


Property Distribution


Property distribution may be based upon the following under the Court of Common Pleas: 


• duration of the marriage

• prior marriage of each spouse

• the age, health, amount of income, job skills, estates and liabilities of each spouse

• the contribution of each spouse to the other as far as education or increased earnings

• standard of living established during the marriage

• federal, state, and local tax consequences 


Spousal Support


The following conditions apply to spousal support in the divorce process in PA:


• earning potential of each party

• age and health of each party

• expectations of inheritances and pre-marital property

• length of the marriage

• standard of living while married

• contribution as a homemaker 


The above considerations are not a complete list, but only some of the more conditions.  


Child Support and Custody


The following conditions will be considered by a judge when determining child support and custody within the divorce process in PA:


• personal preferences of child

• income and earning capacity of both parents

• unusual needs of children or parents

• insurance benefits of each parent

• physical and emotional condition of child when in each parent’s custody

• any evidence of abuse within the household


After a settlement is reached, the divorce process in PA requires each party to complete an Affidavit of Consent and file the Praecipe to Transmit Record, Marital Property Settlement Agreement, and a Record of Divorce and Certificate.