Divorce can feel like riding an emotional rollercoaster – one that is filled with fear, stress, disillusion, and big changes. Having an experienced and knowledgeable divorce lawyer to represent you can make the situation far more bearable. The Media divorce lawyers at Eckell Sparks bring experience, insight, and compassion to every case we handle. We will work tirelessly to safeguard your rights, and to help you navigate this challenging journey so that you can move on to a brighter future.
Grounds for Divorce
In Pennsylvania, your divorce can be based on fault or no-fault grounds, or after a separation of at least 24 months. If your case involves contested child custody, a dispute about the division of marital property, or the entitlement to or the amount of alimony, then a fault divorce may give you some advantages.
No-Fault Divorce – When a marriage is irretrievably broken, either party can file for divorce. If the filing is uncontested – meaning both parties consent to the divorce – the divorce may be granted as early as 90 days from the date the complaint was filed. Neither spouse is required to prove any wrongdoing on the part of the other.
Irretrievable Breakdown – If one spouse does not consent to the divorce, the spouse seeking the divorce must provide proof that they have lived separate and apart for at least two years. and they state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Only then will the divorce be granted.
Fault-Based Divorce – There are six allegations that can be used to file for a fault-based divorce.
- Willful and malicious desertion, and absence from the habitation of the injured and innocent spouse, without a reasonable cause, for a period of at least 12 months
- By cruel and barbarous treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse
- Imprisonment for a term of two or more years upon criminal conviction
- Actions of one spouse have caused the marriage to become intolerable
Courts in most states, including Pennsylvania, begin by assuming that it is in the child’s best interest to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. With that in mind, the courts will determine how that time is divided based on what is best for the child. Generally, judges support joint custody arrangements. The welfare of a child will always be a judge’s primary concern.
In Pennsylvania, as in all states, both parents are expected to support their children. The amount of child support will depend on the income and other resources of both parents, and how much time each parent spends with the children.
The obligation of one spouse to support the other – either on a temporary or a permanent basis – is decided case-by-case. Spousal support can be either agreed to by both spouses, or at the court’s discretion. Not all cases involve support from one spouse to the other. Alimony will only be awarded if the court deems it necessary. The factors that will be considered in determining spousal support and alimony include:
- The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties
- The ages of both parties
- The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits
- The expectancies and inheritances of the parties
- The duration of the marriage
- The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other
- The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of the individual will be affected by serving as the custodian of a minor child
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find appropriate employment
- The relative assets and liabilities of each spouse
- The property brought to the marriage by either party
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker
- The relative needs of the parties
- The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage
- The Federal, State and Local Tax ramifications of the alimony award
- Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property
- Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment
Division of Property
Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. That means that a court will order the marital assets be divided in a manner that is considered fair, though not necessarily equal.
West Chester, PA Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Bring Experience and Compassion to Your Case
Attorneys at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C., are zealous advocates who will fight for your rights and best interests. Call 610-565-3701 to arrange a confidential consultation with a West Chester divorce lawyer in our West Chester or Media, Pennsylvania office or contact us online.