Divorce Disputes Q&A

Posted on February 20th, 2020

If you are in the process of seeking a divorce from your spouse or are in the midst of it all, you may have questions about the process and what you can expect. Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. has compiled some of our most frequently asked questions surrounding divorce in Scranton to make your divorce case feel less overwhelming.

Does it matter which spouse files the divorce first?

It has long been a misconception that if you file for divorce first in Pennsylvania, you have the benefit of speaking first in court. But the reality isn’t so. As long as both spouses reside in Pennsylvania, it does not make a difference who files for divorce first.

If you and your spouse live in different counties in Pennsylvania, that does not mean the divorce will be heard in the county of residence of who files first. To be neutral, the case will typically be heard at the Court of Common Pleas of the defendant’s county or in the county of matrimonial residence.

But, if the spouses have been residing in different states, there may be some advantage to filing for divorce first. However, to file in Pennsylvania, you must have been a resident of the Keystone state for six months.

What if my spouse says they will never sign divorce papers should I even file?

What matters, in this case, is which type of no-fault divorce was filed– mutual consent or irretrievable breakdown.

Under a mutual consent divorce, both spouses must sign the documents agreeing to the divorce decree after the mandatory 90-day waiting period. If one spouse refuses to sign the forms, there is no way for that person to be forced to do so.

However, if you file an irretrievable breakdown, the court must agree that the marriage is irretrievably over and that you and your spouse have been separated for a year or longer. This is not an automatic process in Pennsylvania–once the year mark has come, you must sign the affidavit stating that the marriage is over.

I always paid for everything in our marriage. Does this hurt me or help me when I‘m going through a divorce?

It is common in marriages that one person may be the sole financial provider while the other is a homemaker. In those cases, the financial burden may have landed on one spouse’s shoulders. But what does that mean for the divorce?

In Pennsylvania, equitable distribution is the determinate for how marital property and assets will be distributed in the divorce. In the equitable distribution models, the court will divide assets based on a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Prior marriages of either spouse
  • Whether either party contributed to the increased earning potential of the other
  • Each party’s income and his or her ability to rebuild assets and income in the future
  • The value of the property
  • Standard of living established in the marriage
  • The federal, state and local tax ramifications associated with each asset to be divided, distributed or assigned

Can my ex get spousal support from me while the divorce is pending?

The short answer is yes. In Pennsylvania, spousal support refers to the financial support provided to a spouse after a legal separation and prior to the filing of a divorce complaint.

Before the final divorce decree, your spouse may receive Alimony Pendente Lite (APL). But once the divorce is finalized, they would be able to receive alimony.

Which spouse should vacate the marital residence?

In Pennsylvania, each spouse has a right to their share of the marital residence. But, if one spouse wants to have sole ownership of the marital residence, there can be ways to do so.

If you are in the process of divorcing your spouse, check out our divorce blog on other informative topics.

Let the Scranton Lifetime Lawyer at Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. Guide You Through the Divorce

Our Scranton family law attorney is available to provide you legal representation and guidance during the divorce process. To arrange a confidential, free initial consultation with a strong family law advocate, contact us online or call (570) 207-4000.

Category: Divorce

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Craig Kalinoski
Craig Kalinoski

Craig P. Kalinoski is a respected attorney serving clients in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With a focus on Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Civil Rights, he has established himself as a top-rated legal professional. Recognized as a Rising Star and admired by peers, Craig's commitment to excellence sets him apart in the legal field.


We fight for the rights of our clients in a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from criminal defense to family law and personal injury.

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