Filing for Divorce? Know the Grounds in Philadelphia
Going through a divorce is always an emotional time, even if you are the one filing to divorce your spouse. It is also a confusing time, as there are many laws surrounding divorce in Philadelphia and those that have never gone through it before often do not know what to expect.
One of the most basic elements of divorce in Pennsylvania are the grounds for divorce that you include within your complaint. In the Keystone State, you can file either a fault or no-fault divorce. Below are the basic differences about each of these types of divorce.
Fault Grounds for Divorce
If you file for a fault divorce in Pennsylvania, you will accuse your spouse of wrongdoing that led to the breakdown of the marriage. When you file a fault divorce, you must prove your accusations in court. There are six fault grounds for divorce in the state and they include:
- Abandonment for at least twelve months and without just cause
- Cruelty that placed the abused spouse at risk for injury
- Imprisonment for at least two years after the conviction of a crime
- Humiliating or belittling the innocent spouse in a manner that makes the marriage unbearable
A judge will not consider the grounds for divorce when dividing property as part of the divorce. However, the court may consider grounds based on fault when deciding on other elements of the divorce. For example, if it is proven that the defendant (the spouse being accused of wrongdoing) spent marital funds on an affair, a judge may award the other spouse more in alimony.
It is possible to file for divorce in the state without accusing, and being required to prove, that your spouse was at fault for the divorce. These divorces are called no-fault divorces. When filing a no-fault divorce, you only have to file a complaint with the court that states that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that there is little chance for reconciliation.
No-fault divorces in Pennsylvania are broken down even further into two categories. These are mutual consent no-fault divorces and irretrievable breakdown without mutual consent divorces. In a mutual consent no-fault divorce, both couples agree that the marital relationship has broken down with little chance for reconciliation. Each spouse must file an affidavit with the court stating that they agree to the divorce.
In an irretrievable breakdown without mutual consent no-fault divorce, one spouse does not agree to the divorce. However, the court may still allow the divorce if one spouse has filed for divorce stating that the marriage has been irretrievably broken. The spouse that files this complaint must also sign an affidavit stating that they have lived separate and apart from their spouse for one year.
The court also has the authority to determine that the spouses have lived separate and apart for one year, that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and ultimately grant the divorce. The court may do this even when one spouse contests the divorce.
Need to File for Divorce? Call Our Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyers
There are many aspects of divorce in Pennsylvania and they all have the potential to be very emotional, and very confusing, as well. The grounds for divorce is just one of these elements. When you are considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, you need the help of our Philadelphia divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane. We will advise on your case, guide you through the process of divorce, and help you secure the fair settlement you deserve. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 215-918-9453 or contact us online.