If only life events came with the same type of instruction manuals that our appliances do. If they did then we’d have easy access to answers about raising children, purchasing a home and navigating divorce. Every divorce experience is different and is dependent upon the personalities of the partners, the particular issues that need to be resolved, and the state in which they are seeking a dissolution of their marriage. In the state of Pennsylvania, divorce requires at least one of the spouses to have lived in the state for six months.  Beyond that, the state’s divorce process can be exceptionally easy or exceptionally challenging.

The simplest circumstances for getting a divorce in Pennsylvania are where both spouses want to end the marriage. In that case, all that is needed is for one partner to file a divorce complaint using two forms: the Notice to Defend and Claim Rights and the Verification form, both of which can be downloaded from the state’s website. These papers get served to the other spouse within 30 days and then the couple must wait 90 days from the date of service to fill out and file consent forms. After a series of other forms are filled out, the court ends up receiving a Divorce Decree and a judge finalizes the dissolution of the marriage.

Things are notably more complicated when one spouse does not consent to the divorce. In this situation, the state requires a period of separation lasting one year from the date that the divorce complaint was filed, after which the appropriate forms can be filed to notify the court that the required separation time has been fulfilled and the other spouse to be served with notice of the intent to divorce. Once this has done the other spouse can object to the divorce or file claims for equitable distribution, child custody, child support, and spousal support. If the other spouse does nothing, a judge can enter a divorce decree 20 days after service has been made.

Divorce is a complex and often torturous process, and one of the best ways to ease the stress and anxiety is to put your situation in the hands of an experienced and compassionate divorce attorney. For assistance in navigating the Pennsylvania requirements and getting through this journey as painlessly as possible, contact our divorce lawyers today to set up an appointment.

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