Divorce and Equitable Distribution
There are two (2) types of divorces, fault and no-fault, in the state of Pennsylvania. A divorce on fault grounds will lie where the Plaintiff proves two (2) things; that the Plaintiff is the innocent and injured party and that the Defendant is guilty of one (1) of six (6) categories of marital misconduct: desertion, adultery, cruel and barbarous treatment, bigamy, imprisonment for a crime and indignities. There are two (2) basic types of no-fault divorce. Each requires a finding that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” with the additional requirement of either the consent of both parties to a divorce or a separation of more than two (2) years.
The term “no-fault divorce” means the divorce may be obtained without regard to marital fault. A no-fault divorce may be obtained without establishing guilt on the part of the Defendant, innocent-and-injured-spouse status on the part of the Plaintiff and even without the consent of both parties. The relevant issue in no-fault divorce is whether the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” “Irretrievably broken” is defined in the Divorce Code as “estrangement due to marital difficulties with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.” In addition to irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, either a separation of more than two (2) years or the consent of both parties is required.
The court may grant a divorce upon the consent of both parties when three (3) requirements have been met: (1) a complaint has been filed alleging the marriage is irretrievably broken; (2) more than ninety (90) days have elapsed from the date of the filing of the complaint; and (3) each party has filed an affidavit consenting to entry of a divorce decree.
In addition to the filing of divorce, a Comprehensive Marital Settlement Agreement or individual agreements regarding alimony, support, custody as well as asset and liability division may also be required.
For more information regarding the Divorce process, call us.