Divorce in Pennsylvania
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At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, we understand that divorce is an emotionally difficult time for you, your children, and your family. An experienced divorce lawyer from Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can help you file for divorce in Pennsylvania. For an initial consultation, call us at (412) 471-5100 or use our online contact form.
Ending a marriage and moving forward independently changes everything. It is also challenging on a practical level, particularly when it comes to dividing your real estate, savings, and debts, or coming up with a parenting plan. A divorce brings up a number of questions that you and your spouse may not agree on, even though you thought you would.
Whether you and your spouse are mostly on the same page or you are already part of a contentious situation, you will benefit from working with an experienced and trusted Pittsburgh divorce attorney. Getting a divorce is always a complicated process, and a lawyer can be there to guide you through the court system while protecting your rights and fighting for your future happiness and success. Call an experienced Pittsburgh divorce lawyer from Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 or contact us online to setup an initial consultation.
How Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC Can Help
Divorces can be contentious, especially if you and your spouse have children. A Pittsburgh divorce lawyer can take a clear, objective view of your situation. Getting a divorce is a complicated process. It’s helpful to have a compassionate lawyer guide you through the court system while protecting your rights and fighting for your future happiness and success.
Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC wants to be part of the solution
Pittsburgh family lawyer Anthony Piccirilli understands that ending a marriage can shatter life as you know it. We are dedicated to helping our clients through direct communication and tenacious representation. At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, we can answer your questions about filing for divorce in Pennsylvania. We’ll be by your side through the divorce court process.
Don’t face the end of your marriage alone. Contact a Pittsburgh divorce lawyer from our divorce law firm today for an initial consultation about your options.
Contested & Uncontested Divorce
Some couples opt for legal separation before filing for divorce. A legal separation requires creating a contract with your spouse on decisions such as property issues, child custody, and more.
Pennsylvania recognizes two types of divorce: contested and uncontested.
An uncontested divorce is an option if you and your spouse agree on most issues, like property division, child custody, child support, and alimony. You can expect an uncontested divorce to be resolved relatively quickly.
A contested divorce occurs when a couple cannot or will not agree on significant issues. You can try to work out your differences in mediation, but a contested divorce goes to court if that fails. It might take months or even years to resolve.
Challenges in a Divorce
An attorney can help you determine whether you need to file a contested or uncontested divorce. There are times when an individual believes they can have an uncontested divorce. It’s best to consult with a Pittsburgh lawyer about your divorce in PA to find out what fits your specific situation.
Divorce presents complex issues when both spouses are active members of the military. Our divorce lawyers can help resolve problems of location and timing drive for military clients.
Sometimes, both parties want to seek an annulment for religious reasons. An annulment is different than a divorce. A divorce recognizes that a marriage occurred and legally ends it. An annulment indicates that no legal marriage ever happened.
Annulments are rare and only available in certain circumstances. If you are interested in obtaining one, speak with an attorney immediately.
How to File for Divorce
The process of filing for divorce in Pennsylvania can be complex. You’re not required to have an attorney, but it will benefit you in the long run. You should also consider your emotional state and additional stress if you have young children. A Pittsburgh divorce lawyer relieves you of the many steps in filing for divorce.
Where Do I File for Divorce in Pittsburgh?
You file for divorce in the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The Family Division of the Court is at 440 Ross St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Their phone number is 412-350-5600. There are forms available for download on the Family Division website.
Divorce complaints and related documents are filed electronically through the Allegheny County Department of Court Records Electronic Filing and Retrieval System.
How Much Does It Cost to File for Divorce in Allegheny County?
The current cost of filing a Divorce Complaint is $190.75.
Adding a child custody matter to the complaint is an additional $162 fee. Other add-ons, such as alimony, name change, or child support, are $45.25 per matter.
Pennsylvania Divorce Residency Requirements
Pennsylvania has residency requirements for divorce. You or your spouse must have lived within the state for at least six months. Generally, couples file the complaint in the county where both parties reside. If you and your spouse live separately, you may file in the county where you live.
Divorce Court Process
Your divorce begins when you file the Divorce Complaint. You then have documents served to your spouse. Once your spouse receives notice of the divorce, they have an opportunity to answer. Serving notice is vital if you have alleged grounds for divorce.
No-Fault Versus Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania
A no-fault divorce means that you are ending the marriage based on mutual consent, irretrievable breakdown, or institutionalization.
You can also file for an at-fault divorce in Pennsylvania in certain circumstances, including:
- Your spouse abandoned you and the family for more than one year
- Your spouse committed adultery
- Your spouse made your life intolerable
- Your spouse treated you cruelly
- Your spouse married someone else during your marriage (bigamy)
Your divorce attorney can best advise you on how to file your divorce.
If your spouse doesn’t respond to your divorce notice, you will likely get a default judgment on your preferred terms. If they answer, you will begin the hard work of resolving many challenging issues either through mediation or in court.
Will I Have to Appear in Court?
Yes, you will likely have to appear in court at some point. However, in many situations, your divorce lawyer can appear on your behalf. Your hearings may even take place via video conference.
Be Honest with the Judge
When you appear in court, the judge may ask you questions. Answer them honestly and in a similar fashion to the statements made on your divorce documents in the case. For example, if the judge asks about your income, your answer should match your written information.
Finalizing My Divorce
A judge finalizes your divorce during a hearing. The judge will review what both sides are requesting and issue an order. That order will contain information about dividing assets and debts, child custody, child support, and alimony. If you and your ex agreed on these things, the judge signs your proposed order. Their order is the final word. If either party does not comply with the order, they can be held in contempt later.
“I want to use my knowledge and experience to help families dealing with difficult situations. I can help them navigate the legal process while they focus on building a stronger family”
Begin Economic Settlement Negotiations
While you and your spouse can fight for what you want in court, it is often better to negotiate a property settlement. Many couples are required or choose to utilize mediation to develop a property settlement. We do not provide mediation services, but we can explain the process.
During negotiations, you and your spouse must determine how to divide your assets and debts, including your real estate, vehicles, personal property, retirement savings, investments, loans, and credit card debt.
Financial settlements are simplified if there is a pre-or post-nuptial agreement or clear divisions between marital property and separately owned property.
An often contentious economic issue is alimony and spousal support. Spouses often disagree on whether alimony is appropriate and how much and for how long.
Types of Spousal Support
Our legal team at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC helps with all types of spousal support:
If you believe you should receive alimony, we will fight for you to receive a fair amount. We are also experienced in fighting to limit or bar spousal support.
Pennsylvania has an appointed Divorce Master for contested divorces. A Divorce Master is a family law attorney appointed by the Court of Common Pleas to conduct the proceedings and make recommendations.
Both parties provide financial and other economic documents and a memorandum outlining your reasoning for your proposed settlement. The Divorce Master makes a recommendation for you and your spouse. If you cannot reach an agreement, the property division may then go before a judge.
Financial Issues in a Divorce
At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, we are here to help you with all types of financial matters during a divorce, including:
- Division of Marital Property
- Debt Distribution in Divorce
- Calculating Alimony or Spousal Support
- High Asset Divorce
- Divorce Tax Planning
- Protecting Your Business in a Divorce
Review a Pre- or Post-Nuptial Agreement
If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, inform your divorce attorney right away and provide them with a copy of the contract. These types of agreements may dictate a number of issues within your divorce, such as how assets and debts are divided and alimony.
Your lawyer will review whether the agreement is likely valid and how it applies to the current situation. Then your attorney will analyze the best way to utilize the contract or fight against it in court.
Our divorce attorneys are also experienced in drafting, enforcing, and fighting cohabitation agreements. If you and your partner are separating and had a cohabitation agreement, call us today.
Discovery is the phase of a lawsuit during which the plaintiff and defendant exchange information. You and your spouse can request specific information and documentation from one another. Discovery is helpful if one spouse has been unfaithful or hiding income.
What If We Own a Business Together?
If you and your spouse own a business together, you must decide the fate of the company. One spouse could buy out the other, you could sell the company, or you could both decide to put the family business into a trust for your children or grandchildren.
The discovery period may last between 90 and 120 days, depending on deadlines agreed upon by your attorney, the other party, and the judge.
Child Custody in a Divorce
At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, we are highly experienced in addressing legal matters relating to your children during a divorce. We are here to address your concerns about:
- Child custody
- Same-sex parents custody
- Mothers’ rights
- Fathers’ rights
- Stepparent rights
- Grandparent rights
- Child support
- Modifying child support
- Child support appeals
- Child support enforcement
You and your spouse can decide on child custody and related issues. If you cannot reach an agreement, you will need to negotiate the matter. We are here to explain your rights and legal options concerning a parenting plan and fighting for a fair amount of child support.
Divorce Appeals & Modifications
There are circumstances in which you may have the right to appeal a decision made by a judge during your divorce. If you feel a decision was made contrary to law, speak with us at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC immediately. We will review the circumstances and determine whether you can appeal the decision to a higher court.
If you agreed to a settlement, it is challenging to appeal. There must be evidence that the settlement agreement is not valid such as due to fraud, duress, undue influence, a mistake of material fact, or fundamental unfairness.
Consider Modifying Your Divorce Agreement
Instead of appealing your divorce, you may wish to modify the divorce agreement. If you believe a provision of your divorce should chance because the circumstances or the information you have has changed, then call a lawyer today. It is possible to seek a modification or a divorce agreement, however, it can be challenging to convince a judge to modify an agreed upon settlement or court order.
After your divorce is final, the process of separating your lives may not be over. It can often be difficult to enforce the terms of the divorce, such as receiving the property you were granted or receiving alimony payments. These situations can arise due to misunderstandings and hard feelings.
The best way to resolve the issue is to work with an experienced divorce lawyer. There are numerous ways to enforce the provisions of your divorce order. In certain circumstances, you may need to return to court.