How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Pennsylvania?Published: Jun 16, 2017 in Divorce
Written by Anthony Piccirilli
Divorce is never easy, but it is especially difficult when one spouse is unwilling to end the marriage. A contested divorce can make an already tense situation more fraught with tension as it can prolong the time it takes to move forward with your life. If you need guidance and counsel because you are in the middle of a contested divorce, then contact Pennsylvania family lawyer Anthony Piccirilli. As a highly skilled Pittsburgh contested divorce attorney, he can help you navigate what may seem like murky waters.
Call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 to learn how he can help.
What is a Contested Divorce?
If your spouse will not sign divorce papers out of anger, financial concerns, an unwillingness to admit the marriage is over, or for any other reason, then Pennsylvania law defines this as an irretrievable breakdown. Unlike a mutual consent divorce in which both spouses agree to dissolve the marriage, an irretrievable breakdown is a contested divorce. You should know that the court will not order the non-consenting spouse to sign the divorce papers even if they previously promised to do so.
How Long is the Process?
Moving forward with a divorce on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown requires that you and your spouse be separated at least two years. Moreover, the divorce may or may not take place after that 24-month period because Pennsylvania requires you to file a signed statement that verifies the date of separation and allows your spouse 40 days to respond to it. They may decide to deny the two-year separation and/or the irretrievably broken state of the marriage within that period if the spouse in question still wants to contest the divorce.
If this happens, then the court will hear both arguments and make a ruling. A judge might determine that reconciliation could be possible and order marriage counseling, which would further delay your divorce. If at least one spouse still wants the divorce after counseling, then the case will go before the judge again. If this is the case then contact a divorce lawyer from Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 to help plead your case.
However, if your spouse does nothing within 40 days after receiving the statement you filed with the court to verify your two-year separation, then the court will grant the divorce decree after receiving the documents necessary to file it.
How Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC Can Help
Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC understands the how hard ending a marriage can be, especially when one spouse refuses to dissolve it as quickly and easily as possible. One of our family divorce lawyers will guide you through the complexities of the contested divorce process so that you can reclaim your life.