In Pennsylvania the majority of couples manage to go through the divorce process relatively collaboratively, arguing about a few points but eventually allowing both partners to move forward with their lives. Unfortunately, there are some spouses who choose not to cooperate at all, refusing to sign off on divorce papers that are presented to them or engage in any way. This is called an uncontested divorce.  If you suspect that your spouse is going to go this route, or if you have specifically been informed that is the case, here is how best to handle your situation.

Though a contested divorce makes things harder, you can still get divorced whether your spouse agrees to it or not. As long as you file the papers in the correct court and properly serve the divorce papers to your spouse, a divorce is possible. It’s just going to be more problematic.

The first thing you need to do in every Pennsylvania divorce is to determine what grounds you are going to file under. Most couples opt for a no-fault divorce and simply agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, but some are based on fault issues such as infidelity or abuse. These factors can be important in certain situations, and if proven can impact child custody, support, and other elements of how the divorce is decided.

If you file your paperwork and find that your spouse is being non-cooperative, failing to respond to your filings for the sake of being difficult or for some other reason, your attorney can file what is called a motion for default judgment and get a court date. If your spouse doesn’t show up on that date, the judge can record the divorce order based on your submissions, without your spouse’s cooperation. However, every issue will have to be addressed in order for this to happen.

However, when your spouse argues against the divorce, whether entirely or on a specific issue, then things get significantly more complex. The court will require that both sides submit testimony and evidence to the judge for them to make decisions about each aspect of the divorce, including how to allocate child custody and assets. The process will entail numerous hearings and will take significantly longer. It is also likely to be far more expensive because it demands so much more intervention from your attorney.

Marriages deteriorate for many reasons, and a contested divorce may simply be an extension of your already unhappy situation. Having an experienced attorney representing you is the best way to make it through this challenge. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

 

 

 

 

 

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