Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s most populous states, as millions of people make their homes here. But for couples in the Keystone State who are considering divorce, they may be wondering how long it will take to complete the process. The idea of a quick divorce is often sought out by many couples in order to get the rest of their lives in gear. Like so many other activities, the length of the divorce will depend on many factors.
Four Types of Divorce
There are four different types of divorce in Pennsylvania. Couples should understand these terms and how they apply to their own plans.
The mutual consent divorce is one of the most common. Each party signs an affidavit stating the marriage agreement is irretrievably broken. This is a simple divorce.
Another kind of divorce is what is known as a no-fault divorce. This type of divorce is common in other parts of the United States. Under this type of divorce, one party files after waiting the prescribed period of time.
A fault divorce is allowed on one of six separate grounds: adultery, bigamy, cruel and barbarous treatment, desertion, incarceration, and indignity. This is a complicated form of divorce that can take time to work out as there’s a separate court hearing. One party can appeal the verdict, adding even more time to the resolution of the overall process.
The divorce following institutionalization is one form of divorce open to people when a spouse is hospitalized for mental illness. This can also take longer than other types of divorces in Pennsylvania. The person who is filing it must wait at least eighteen months after the initial hospitalization.
Anyone who is planning to get a divorce in the state should be aware of the kind of divorce they want before they begin, as well as the kind of timeline that is generally followed after it starts. Understanding the process can make it much easier and far less stressful for all involved.
Unilateral No-Fault Divorce
This is the kind of divorce where only one party wants to leave the marriage. This form of divorce requires both parties to live apart for at least a year. If each party agrees to leave and get the divorce, this divorce is what is known as a mutual consent divorce. Under this kind of divorce, the parties do not have to live apart for a year. All they must do is wait ninety days. That gives them time to mull over the plan and decide if they want to go through with the divorce.
Waiting periods are a common structure for any divorce. All divorcing couples should know that a divorce will involve a period of time lasting at least several months before it becomes final.
All divorces in Pennsylvania follow certain procedures. The party must first file a divorce complaint. They need to gather records that pertain to aspects of the divorce plan, such as the marriage certificate, the birth certificates of their children, and a list of assets. After this is in place, it’s time for a hearing to assist any plans for negotiation. This is when people typically talk about issues related to the divorce, such as the need for child support payments and other plans to divvy up their accumulated assets. Once this process is completed, the parties can expect to see a resolution of the entire process.
All of these steps can add time to the final step. Each party may have specific needs, such as making sure they can remain in a house they’ve purchased, as well as retaining certain items of importance to them personally. There are some divorces where the parties have only been married a short while. In such cases, the timeline, especially when both agreed to it, is generally under six months from start to finish in Pennsylvania. This is generally what is known as an uncontested divorce. It’s a simple procedure that allows each party to move past the marriage in under six months from filing to the completion of divorce papers.
Distribution Laws in PA – Divorce in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, marriage assets must be divided fairly. For an uncontested divorce, this may involve little more than one person taking over the lease. However, in a contested divorce, the parties are not in agreement about the terms of the procedure. In that case, it may be necessary to turn to litigation to get the matter settled and give each party what it perceives as a fair settlement. This can further prolong the process and make it harder for both parties to get a divorce and get remarried.
All such factors can complicate the divorce process. It’s best to know what the couple plans before they begin. If possible, sitting down together by yourselves or with help from a third party before starting can ease the transition once the formal divorce process is underway. This can help each party get what they want from the divorce and avoid a longer time frame that can hurt them financially and emotionally. Experts can help each party navigate the process and keep it on an even keel.
Contact Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C.
Divorce can be a complicated and time consuming process. That’s why you need the legal experience of Scranton attorney Craig Kalinoski to lead you through the divorce process and protect your assets and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.