What Are the Steps of Divorce in Pennsylvania?
The way you proceed with a divorce in Pennsylvania can have an effect on the outcome. Having a sheriff’s deputy serve a complaint of divorce on an unsuspecting spouse is probably not the best way to reach an amicable settlement.
At Cunningham, Chernicoff & Warshawsky, P.C., in Harrisburg, our attorneys are here to guide the process of divorce in a way that helps you achieve the outcome you want without unnecessary litigation. Call us at 717-260-3527 to talk to a lawyer about the steps of divorce.
Gathering Financial Information
One of the most important steps in divorce is gathering detailed financial information about your family’s assets and debts. You should do this before you file for divorce, not after. Discussing Pennsylvania’s equitable distribution laws with an attorney will help you understand the financial impact before you take steps you cannot undo.
Filing for Divorce
You can file for divorce in Pennsylvania after you or your spouse has lived here at least six months. One spouse will be the plaintiff who files the divorce complaint, and the other will be the defendant who responds. In some cases, it is important to file a divorce petition promptly —for example, if you suspect a spouse is wasting or hiding assets. In other cases, it is better to wait and discuss the approach with your attorney and your spouse.
You can file for one of three types of divorce in Pennsylvania: mutual consent, two-year separation divorce and fault divorce. The most common type of divorce is mutual consent.
Resolving the Issues of Divorce
Before your divorce becomes final, it is important to resolve all property issues such as how you will divide marital assets and debts. If you have children, you’ll have to determine where your children will live, how you will make parenting decisions and how you will support your children.
With the assistance of your attorneys, you and your spouse should try to come to an agreement on all of the issues of your divorce. If you and your spouse cannot agree, a judge will decide.