Your Local & Caring Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyer
Melissa R. Montgomery, LLC can help answer any questions you might have at any point in the divorce process. We walk you through each step because we know divorce is an extremely emotional time in your life – we’re here to make it as stress-free as possible. At Melissa R. Montgomery, LLC, we care and have the knowledge to ensure that your divorce has the most favorable outcome for you.
Understanding Pennsylvania Divorce Laws
In Pennsylvania, those who are married and wishing to separate or divorce must qualify under special circumstances. Pennsylvania law outlines the situations that allow people to qualify as residents, obtain a fault-based divorce, or be granted a no-fault divorce.
No-Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania
No-fault divorce is when someone files for divorce and specifies that it is not the fault of either spouse. The state of Pennsylvania recognizes the following as no-fault divorces:
- Institutionalism: The court may grant no-fault divorce when the spouse has been declared insane or suffers from a serious mental disorder. The spouse must be institutionalized at least 18 months prior to the commencement of divorce action.
- Mutual Consent: Both spouses must attest that the marriage is irretrievably broken and file an affidavit stating that they consent to the divorce in a mutual consent, which can usually be done without a court hearing.
- Irretrievable Breakdown: When the marriage cannot be repaired and has required the couple to live apart for at least one year, living separate, or the other spouse has not denied that the marriage is irretrievably broken. A judge may hold a hearing if one spouse declares that the marriage is not irretrievably broken and will take the matter under consideration for 90-120 days if there is reasonable possibility that the marriage may be repaired. The judge may require the couple to undergo counseling during this time.
Fault-Based Divorce in Pennsylvania
A judge may grant fault-based divorce when the evidence shows that one or both spouses have done/committed any of the following:
- Cruel and barbarous treatment, including domestic violence in which the spouse has put health and life at risk through maltreatment
- Imprisonment for more than two years
- Spouse made life unbearable or extremely difficult
Each Pennsylvania divorce is different, so if you’re thinking about getting a divorce, contact Melissa for more information specific to your circumstances.
Still have questions? Check out our handy divorce FAQs or give us a call!
How long will the process take?
The process typically takes approximately 4-5 months if there is an agreement about how everything (debts and assets) will be divided. If there is no agreement, then one party may refuse to sign a consent to proceed and the divorce may take up to one year from the date of separation.
Can parties be separated but still living in the same home?
Yes, but there are a number of factors that the court looks at to determine if the parties truly were separated when they were living together.
Is my divorce contested or uncontested?
Like most of the U.S., Pennsylvania allows no-fault divorce. It is not necessary for you to prove your spouse has wronged you in order to seek the dissolution of your marriage. However, this doesn’t mean getting a divorce is easy, for you or your children if you have any.Uncontested divorce simply means the ex-spouses reach an agreement on all major issues and do not need to litigate the case. A contested divorce happens when some parts of the divorce can only be resolved in court.
When and where can you get divorced in central Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania family laws dictate that couples can get divorced as long as one spouse has been a state resident for at least six months. Specific rules apply as to which county you should file in. We invite you to contact us directly to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation.
Can I get exclusive possession of my house? Should I be the one to move out? How can I protect my business and other assets?
The biggest issues in divorce usually involve how property will be divided, whether spousal support or alimony is necessary, and how child custody and visitation will be handled. Divorce attorney Melissa Montgomery has more than a decade of experience helping couples resolve these issues.
READY FOR REAL HELP?
We can get back to you within 24 hours during the week. Contact us on the weekend, and we’ll schedule something by the next business day!