In order to file for divorce in Pennsylvania, one of the parties must be a resident of the state for at least six months. Either party can obtain a divorce by claiming that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and both spouses must consent to the divorce in sworn affidavits or must have been separated for two years.
Like any legal proceeding, the divorce process has specific steps that must be taken as follows:
- Filing the divorce petition. The divorce process begins when one spouse files a divorce petition, and this step also includes serving the petition on your spouse.
- Response. After the divorce petition is served, your spouse may respond to the complaint.
- Discovery. During the discovery stage, the parties exchange documents and information relative to assets and income. Discovery may also include depositions and/or interrogatories.
- Temporary orders. If either spouse wants the court to make temporary orders while the divorce is pending, they may file with the court. Temporary orders often include support, child and property issues.
- Settlement/mediation. The court may order mediation in order to settle as many matters as possible before trial. Divorcing spouses are free to participate in voluntary mediation to resolve issues and thereby avoid litigating the issues in court. If the spouses are able to settle all issues, a Marital Settlement Agreement can be drafted and filed with the court.
- Litigation. If an agreement cannot be reached or certain issues cannot be settled, the parties proceed to court. After evidence and arguments are presented, the judge has the final say on any contested issues. Once all matters have been adjudicated, a judgment is prepared and entered by the court.
An experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney can provide advice and discuss the options in your circumstances. Contact us online or call (215) 886-1266 to schedule a consultation today and discuss your divorce needs.
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