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Simple truths about a Pennsylvania divorce

Despite a veritable avalanche of information about divorce across the Internet, the process remains confusing and chaotic for those who are contemplating such an action. In stressful times like a divorce's beginning, too much information can have an undesired effect -- it can worsen the confusion divorcing parties already feel.

Instead of trying to absorb everything about divorce in one huge serving, it might be a better idea to take small bites and focus on the most simple pieces of information as couples move forward with their plans.

Here are a few simple, easy-to-digest truths about getting divorced in Pennsylvania:

  • You only have to reside in the state for a full six months before filing for divorce in Pennsylvania.
  • A no-fault divorce is typically faster and works for couples splitting by mutual agreement as well as for couples who have lived apart for at least two years. In the latter case, it may still be a no-fault divorce if only one spouse wants the split.
  • A fault divorce can occur when one spouse proves he or she has been injured in some way by the other spouse. Examples include one spouse injuring the other with violence, abandonment, adultery, etc.
  • Marital property is the sum total of all of the assets (cash, bank accounts, real property, stocks, etc.) you and your spouse acquired throughout the marriage.
  • One spouse cannot prohibit the other spouse from entering shared property during divorce without a court order.
  • If abuse or violence is an issue during the divorce, the court can step in and order the alleged abusive spouse to stay away from the other spouse.

The takeaway here is that there is no need to over complicate what is an already complex life event. Relying on the wisdom and accumulated knowledge of a family law attorney is one of the best ways to understand what is happening through every step of the process.

Source: Pennsylvania Bar Association, "Divorce & Separation," accessed May 26, 2015

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