Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s most populous states, with millions calling it home. But couples in the Keystone State who are considering divorce may also be wondering how long it will take to complete the process. Understandably, many couples seek a quick divorce. This helps them get the rest of their lives in gear faster. Like so many other activities, the length of the divorce in Pennsylvania depends on many factors.
Four Types of Divorce in Pennsylvania
There are four different types of divorce in Pennsylvania. Couples should understand these terms and how they apply to their own plans.
- 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 type of divorce is a no-fault divorce, which 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 couple can get a fault divorce 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.
- A divorce following institutionalization is open to people with a spouse who is currently hospitalized for mental illness. This can also take longer than other types of divorces in Pennsylvania. The person filing it must wait at least eighteen months after the initial hospitalization.
- Unilateral no-fault divorce occurs when only one party wants to leave the marriage. This form of divorce requires both parties to live apart for at least a year.
Anyone planning to get a divorce in the state should be aware of the kind of divorce they want before they begin. This will give them an idea of the timeline that is generally followed after it starts. Understanding the process can make it much easier and far less stressful for all involved.
Waiting periods are a common structure for any divorce. A divorce will involve a period of time lasting at least several months before it becomes final.
The Process for Divorce in Pennsylvania
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 divorce, such as child support payments, child custody, and division of their accumulated assets. Once you complete this process, all 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 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 long 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 divorce attorney Craig Kalinoski to lead you through the divorce process and protect your assets and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.