September 25, 2013

Common Questions about Pennsylvania Divorce

Covering the basics about divorce in Bucks County

Taking the first steps toward divorce can be intimidating. Wondering about all of the unknowns is overwhelming and consuming. Hiring an experienced Bucks County divorce attorney will eliminate the questions and help you make decisions. Start your research about divorce with these general guides to explain what can be expected throughout a typical Pennsylvania divorce process.

In Pennsylvania, can I file for fault-based divorce?

Yes – 3301(a) of the divorce code is for fault-based divorce and provides the six points which must be proven; of course, being the innocent party helps in pursuit of this ground. Many Pennsylvania divorce cases are filed under 3301(c) and (d) which indicates mutual consent and irrietreivable breakdown, respectively. Both of these grounds make it much easier for a couple to divorce without having to air their dirty laundry.

How long does it take to get divorced?

This answer relies on a multitude of factors. The willingness of the other party plays a dramatic role in the time frame, as failure to consent may require a two year wait. If your spouse does not consent to being divorced, the action would proceed based on 3301(d) which should have been a count in the divorce complaint.

In cases where service is accepted and both parties consent, the Pennsylvania divorce rules require a 90-day “cool off” period, during which counseling may occur. Unfortunately, relationships are complicated and there is no telling what may come up. Custody and support are separate actions that may arise during the divorce. These matters are often settled, but can require conferences, or hearings. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney to learn the facts of your situation will give the best idea for what to expect.

If all goes smoothly after the passage of the 90 days, affidavits are filed and a package can be prepared for a Judge to review, per the Pennsylvania divorce guidelines. This package can include a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) to distribute assets and liabilities, which a Judge reviews. Once the Judge reviews the packet and agreements, the Judge enters the final order by signing off on the packet, and a Divorce Decree is issued. Even the amount of time your filings spend on the Judge’s desk can vary.

If my spouse doesn’t accept service, what do I do next?

This could require more investigation into other ways to reach your spouse. Service outside of certified mailings may be necessary with personal service. If this is not successful, you may have to wait the two year period as perscribed by 3301(d). Again, only an experienced divorce attorney in Pennsylvania can estimate how long it may take. Being open and sharing information with your attorney can help him or her make this assessment.

How much does divorce cost?

Apart from the hard numbers of filing fees, there are many costs that may be unanticipated if the Courts must be involved. Generally, divorce filing fees in Bucks County are approximately $350, but may vary based on the counts included in the complaint. Those counts depend on your situation and what is desired.

Beyond these fees, an attorney will likely bill hourly. If your case is simple and requires only a few phone calls and letters, your bill will reflect this. Conversely, highly complex matters involving financial advisers or appraisals will drive up the cost. This is another reason why consulting with an experienced divorce attorney is crucial. It is hard to consider paying these fees at one time, but proper advice from counsel and smart choices now can save you from unexpected future expenses.

Contact the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. to schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand the necessary steps. Call (215) 942-2100 or complete the inquiry form to schedule your consultation.