Divorce Law

Divorce Law Pittsburgh, PA

Divorce LawDivorce is a complex matter that cannot be handled merely by filling out the correct forms. First the petitioner must understand the grounds for divorce peculiar to his or her locality.  There also may be residency requirements. In Pennsylvania filing can come only after you or your spouse has been a resident for six months. After filing papers, called the Complaint, the spouse is served with the Complaint and has thirty days, if a resident of the state, or sixty days out of state to reply.  If there is no reply, the proceedings may go on if proof of service of the Complaint is provided.  If the spouse lives outside the United States the period is ninety days. Pennsylvania does not have a legal separation procedure.  Pennsylvania has two types of divorce: Fault and No-Fault. All Fault divorces require appearance in court.

Fault: Grounds:

  • Willful and malicious desertion for one year or more. Adultery
  • Extreme physical or mental cruelty endangering safety or health.
  • Bigamy
  • Two years imprisonment for a crime.
  • Intolerable indignities
  • Insanity or serious mental disorder necessitating eighteen months confinement in a mental institution before papers are filed with no prospect of discharge during subsequent eighteen months.

No Fault: Grounds:

  • Mutual consent.
  • Irretrievable breakdown.  Parties must have lived apart for at least two years as determined by the court.
  • No court appearances are required.

Spousal Support

The question of spousal support enters into the picture after the divorce papers have been filed.  If the parties cannot agree on support, the court takes into consideration relative income of the parties, assets, education, standard of living, time needed by non-working spouse to find employment, among other factors.  A judge will decide if support is necessary and for how long. Child support is a separate matter. Before filing for divorce it is important to find out your spouse’s assets, whether there is a pension, retirement account or other significant property..

In today’s environment there are cases where issues like electronic surveillance become involved in gathering evidence pertinent to a case.  If this happens, legal advice is extremely important.  In cases of domestic violence, whether the abuse is related to a divorce action or not, a lawyer can be of assistance. A court order may be issued prohibiting the abuser access to the victim.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained on this web site are provided for information only and do not constitute legal advice. Contact with this web site does not establish an attorney-client relationship.