What I Need To Know To File For Divorce In Pennsylvania

Divorce definition in dictionary
Deciding to file for a divorce can be a long and emotional process that affects you and those around you. Below is some preliminary information to consider.

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.

What is Spousal Support and or Child Support and How Much Do I Need To Pay?

Writing A Check
Divorce/Separation and Spousal Support:  There are three types of spousal support.  The first two are support and alimony pendent lite (APL).  The third is alimony.

Spousal support obligation arises out of the marriage relationship.  Support may be awarded prior to the commencement of divorce proceedings and during the separation/estranged phase.  Alimony pendent lite (APL) can only be awarded after the commencement of divorce proceedings but prior to a divorce decree.  The main difference between the two is the timing of the filing for divorce and the defenses that may be claimed.  Generally there are no defenses to a claim for APL while a person may have a defense precluding a spouse from asserting the need for spousal support.  Defenses that may be asserted as grounds for divorce are also defenses to spousal support such as adultery and cruel and barbarous treatment.  Therefore, a spouse that has committed adultery may not be entitled to receive support during the separation phase but could quite possible receive APL once the divorce action is filed.

Spousal support and APL are calculated the same.  The formula takes into consideration the Obligor’s net monthly income minus support payments obligor may have as result of other dependents or former spouses minus child support payments from current litigation minus obligee’s net monthly income multiplied by thirty (30%) percent.  If the parties have no children or child support orders the number would be multiplied by forty (40%) percent.  This formula has been adjusted to require the court to consider the length of marriage in determining its award.  The primary purpose of this provision is to prevent the unfairness that arises in a short-term marriage when the obligor is required to pay support over a substantially longer period of time than the parties were married and there is little or no opportunity for credit for these payments at the time of equitable distribution.

The third type of support is alimony.  The purpose of alimony is to effect economic justice, but it is a secondary remedy and applies only if economic justice cannot be achieved by way of equitable distribution.  This type of an award is rendered post divorce decree to achieve such justice.  There is no formula Pennsylvania courts use to assist in its award.  Rather courts will rely on the seventeen subjective factors listed in 23 Pa. C.S.A. § 3701 (b).  Some of those factors are: length of the marriage; the ages and physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties; sources of income of the parties; earning capacities of the parties; the earning powers of the parties and the relative needs of the parties.

Child Support: These are payments due to the support of the child regardless of marital status.  Pursuant to federal law, The Family Support Act of 1988 (P. L. 100-485, 102 Stat. 2343 (1988), requires all states to have statewide child support guidelines.

The guidelines take into consideration the parents’ net monthly income.  Once that figure has been determined the guidelines state what the support payments are monthly.  The total payments increase with each child.  The parties are responsible for that suggested guideline figure.  That total figure will be divided according to the percentage of time the child is with their respective parent.  These figures can also be reduced if there are any ongoing support obligations.  Any deviations are based upon a case by case basis.

If you have any questions or need a divorce attorney contact Spadea & Associates, LLC at 610-521-0604.   We suggest you bring your W-2 and last three pay stubs when you come for you free consultation.

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