Divorce is one of the most difficult decisions you can make. It not only affects you but, in many cases your children and extended family.
We, at Kayden & Vaporis, LLC, will work on your divorce with empathy while never forgetting about your future, and protecting your rights and your assets along the way.
In order to file for a divorce in the state of Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must be a resident of the state for at least six months. Either spouse may file – there is no stigma associated with the terms “Plaintiff” and “Defendant” in a divorce matter.
Most divorces today are “no-fault” divorces. This means that you are asserting that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” and you are not specifying a reason as to why. If you and your spouse both agree upon a divorce and how to distribute any assets and debts, the process can be done within about 3 and a half months from start to finish. Pennsylvania has a mandatory 90 day waiting period between one party being served with a divorce complaint, and the parties executing the final paperwork.
If your spouse is not in agreement with the divorce, but you have been separated for at least one year, you can still request that the court grant you a no-fault divorce without your spouse’s consent. There are special requirements for a court to grant a divorce over a spouse’s silence or objection – the biggest one being that there cannot be any pending/unresolved asset or debt issues.
If you have been separated for less than 1 year or don’t agree on the divorce, we can still file on one of the following fault grounds:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- Imprisonment for years two or more
- Personal indignities
- Confinement in a mental institution
Fault divorces are uncommon today, as they require the parties to have a divorce trial, which is quite often avoidable under a no-fault divorce. At trial, there would be testimony and evidence taken to establish the particular fault ground. If the court finds that you have established a fault ground, and the other side has no valid defenses, the court will grant your divorce.
Negotiation or trial
If you and your spouse can agree on the issues that need to be addressed — such as property, debt division and support — then we can finalize your divorce without a trial. We will draw up a document called a Marriage Settlement Agreement, which is a legally-binding contract that specifies how your marital estate is to be divided.
If you can’t agree on these issues, then it is time to request that a divorce master be appointed to your case. A divorce master is an experienced family law attorney, who is appointed by the court to preside over your divorce case in lieu of a judge. The divorce master will schedule your case for a pre-trial conference, where they will act as a mediator to help you and your spouse resolve the outstanding issues. If a resolution is not reached at the pre-trial conference, then the divorce master will schedule the matter for a trial date, and, after hearing evidence and testimony, will ultimately make the decision as to how to divide your property. Divorce masters are typically paid by the parties in a divorce, and typically the court requires that they be paid a certain amount upfront. If you do not agree with the divorce master’s recommendations, you may have grounds to file exceptions, meaning that you would be asking a judge to review the transcript of the divorce trial and decide if the divorce master’s findings are consistent with the law and the facts of the case.