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5 frequently asked questions about divorce in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2021 | Family Law |

Thinking about divorce can be unnerving. You may have a friend who had a traumatic experience or a co-worker who swears that their ex took them to the cleaners and left them with almost nothing.

Many people stay for longer than they should in miserable marriages simply because they don’t have the right information about divorce. Learning about the basics of divorce in Pennsylvania could make you feel more confident in filing for divorce or responding to your spouse’s filing.

What happens to your property when you divorce?

Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means splitting your property up in a fair manner. Judges will look at everything from your health and custody arrangements to your income to decide the best way to divide your property and your debt when you divorce.

How does a judge decide how to split custody?

If you have children who are minors or a dependent adult child with special needs, you probably worry about what divorce will mean for your relationship with your child.

In Pennsylvania, the biggest concern in custody proceedings will usually be the best interests of the children. Usually, that means keeping both parents involved, but sometimes a judge will award sole custody if one parent can show that the other poses a risk to the children.

Does your ex have to agree to the divorce?

A surprising number of people seem to think that both spouses must agree for a divorce to move forward. However, only one spouse has to believe that the marriage is beyond repair for the courts to grant a divorce.

Do you have to go to court to divorce?

To obtain a formal dissolution of your marriage, you do need a court ruling on the matter. However, you do not necessarily have to litigate the process. You and your ex can settle issues outside of court and maintain control over the outcome of your divorce proceedings.

What are some ways to keep the costs for divorce lower?

An uncontested divorce will almost always be a cheaper option than a litigated divorce. There are multiple ways for couples to settle matters outside of court.

They might have a marital agreement, like a prenup or a postnuptial agreement drafted when they realize divorce is imminent. They might engage in collaborative divorce, communicating directly or via their attorneys to negotiate a settlement. They might also try alternative dispute resolution systems, like mediation or arbitration.

When you know what happens during divorce, you will feel more confident handling the challenges that arise at the end of your marriage.