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Pittsburgh Contested Divorce Attorney

The emotional, the psychological, and financial stress of divorce can take a negative toll, but when you disagree with your former spouse on one or more of these issues, matters can be further compounded. It not only makes an already tense situation even more fraught with anxiety, but it also requires an investment of additional time, money, and energy for two people to go their separate ways.

Our experienced Pittsburgh contested divorce attorneys at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC will help you understand the necessary actions to take in a contested divorce. Our dedication to every client will allow you to resolve matters as quickly and efficiently as possible so you can move forward with your life. Call (412) 471-5100 to learn how Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can help you with your divorce in Pennsylvania.

What is An “Irretrievable Breakdown”?

An irretrievable breakdown divorce is one in which one party will not consent to the divorce. One party may refuse to sign divorce papers for any number of reasons, including anger, finances, or refusal to recognize the marriage has come to an end. This lack of cooperation prevents a couple from what Pennsylvania law terms a mutual consent divorce in which both spouses agree to dissolve the marriage.

How to Proceed Under Irretrievable Breakdown No-Fault Grounds

Proceeding with a divorce under irretrievable breakdown no-fault grounds requires the following:

  • The marriage be irretrievably broken without possible reconciliation
  • A couple’s separation for at least two years

Even reaching the two-year mark of the separation does not guarantee the divorce will take place, and it certainly will not happen automatically after those 24 months. Pennsylvania requires filing a signed statement that verifies the date of separation, which the court then serves on the non-consenting spouse. The non-consenting spouse then has 40 days to reply.

The 40 days that follow the service of a signed statement are critical because that spouse must deny the two-year separation and/or the irretrievably broken state of the marriage within that period if they still want to contest the divorce. In addition, they must file any economic claim such as a petition for alimony or a request for property division within the 40-day timeframe. If the non-consenting spouse does nothing within this period, then the court will grant the divorce decree after receiving the documents necessary to file it.

Still, the non-consenting spouse might delay the divorce if they deny the marriage is irretrievably broken and/or the two-year separation. This can happen despite one party’s compliance with what may seem like a never-ending list of requirements to end the marriage. If and when this happens, then the court will make the final ruling after hearing both sides present their argument.

A judge might determine that reconciliation could be possible after hearing each spouse and the ruling could order marriage counseling over a period of time. If at least one spouse still wants the divorce after counseling, then the case will go before the judge again.

Exceptions to the Rules

The court might waive the two-year separation rule for a contested divorce if one party raises and proves “fault” grounds for divorce such as either adultery or abuse. Pennsylvania accepts these kinds of fault grounds under its code of laws; however, people rarely rely on them when trying to end their marriages. This is because doing so can be both expensive and difficult to prove. Furthermore, individuals should keep in mind that accelerating a contested divorce for fault reasons requires irrefutable evidence of how one spouse has injured another. In addition, the court generally prefers no-fault grounds for divorce over fault grounds, so exceptions to the rules are possible but not the norm.

Contact A Pittsburgh Contested Divorce Attorney Today

A divorce can be difficult even when there is mutual agreement to end a marriage, but the process can be even more frustrating if the divorce is contested. It can make you feel like your life is on hold, no matter how hard you try to move forward.

Speaking with a Pittsburgh divorce attorney at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC will help you navigate the steps of dissolving your marriage. Attorney Anthony Piccirilli possesses the knowledge needed to skillfully guide you through the Pennsylvania divorce process. Contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 for a free consultation.