For dozens of reasons, a relationship can deteriorate to the point where staying together no longer makes good sense. While accepting this can be emotional, for some couples, pursuing a divorce is the best thing that can happen. At the law offices of van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our Allentown divorce lawyers can provide you with the legal support and representation that you’re seeking during such a difficult time. Please reach out to our Allentown divorce attorneys by phone or online today to learn more about our services.
Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania
At the time that you file for divorce–or have a petition for divorce filed against you–knowing on what grounds a divorce can legally be sought is important. Under Pennsylvania statutes, categories for divorce are divided as such:
- Fault grounds. Fault grounds for a divorce include willful and malicious desertion, adultery, cruel and barbarous treatment, bigamy/polygamy, imprisonment for a term of two or more years, or “such indignities…as to render” the conditions of the other spouse “intolerable.”
- If one spouse has been committed to a mental institution for at least 18 months, the court may agree to a divorce.
- Mutual consent. Most people seek a divorce based on no-fault grounds. If both parties allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken and both parties have submitted affidavits showing that both parties consent to the divorce, the court will grant the divorce. If both parties have not issued such affidavits, the court may still issue the divorce on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage if the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year.
In addition to satisfying the required grounds for divorce in PA, you’ll also need to meet the state’s residency requirements. You or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing.
Resolving Tough Issues in a Divorce
If you have grounds for divorce and meet the residency requirements, then the next step will be working with your spouse to resolve tough issues that must be settled before your divorce will be finalized. Issues that you will need to face and resolve include:
- How property will be divided
- How debts will be divided
- Who will get custody of any shared children
- What the visitation and parenting rights of the non-custodial parent will be
- Whether or not spousal maintenance will be part of the divorce settlement
Answering the above questions can be extremely challenging, even for couples who are in general agreement about the divorce and want to keep things civil. Our lawyers can help by informing you of the law, advising you during negotiations, and representing you during litigation if it comes to that.
Call Our Allentown Divorce Lawyers Today
At the offices of van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we know how challenging divorce is. For representation that you can trust when you need it most, please call our experienced Allentown divorce lawyers today for a consultation, or send us a message online telling us more about how we can serve you.