1. If you have decided to file for divorce in Pennsylvania, you must first determine if you meet the jurisdiction requirement for Pennsylvania.
If you or your spouse have been living in Pennsylvania for more than six months, you may file for divorce in Pennsylvania. The county you file in can be the county your spouse lives in. If your spouse no longer lives in Pennsylvania, you may file in the county you live in.
Determine the grounds for divorce
a. No-fault. The court may decree a divorce where there is mutual consent and it is alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken or when the marriage is irretrievably broken and an affidavit has been filed alleging that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years.
b. Fault. Committed willful and malicious desertion period of at least one year; adultery; by cruel and barbarous treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse; bigamy; incarceration for at least 2 years; offered such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome
2. Locate all documents and family records
a. Birth certificates of children
b. Financial records
c. Pay stubs
d. Mortgage note
e. Documents for investment properties
f. Titles to automobiles
g. Bank statements
h. Insurance policies
i. Most recent credit card statements
3. When going through a divorce, you want to remember that your words and actions will be looked at under a microscope. Therefore, although it is emotional, you want to be mindful of your behavior at all times in a public setting, at home in front of family members and when using any form of social media. All of this will be taken into consideration in court.
4. Custody. There are two main forms of custody. Legal and physical.
a. Legal custody gives the custodian the right to make decisions about the child including medical and educational.
b. Physical custody is the physical possession of the minor child. This is generally the individual who the child lives with.
5. In any divorce proceeding, one must remember that property will be divided. Write down a list of items that you want to keep and those that you are willing to compromise.
There is simply too much at stake in a divorce proceeding to go through the process without an attorney to help guide you through the legal system. Feel free to contact David W. Edelman at Spadea & Associates, LLC in Ridley Park, PA at 610-521-0604.