In Pennsylvania, it is no longer necessary to prove “fault” to obtain a divorce. Examples of fault are adultery, desertion, and conduct which makes one’s life intolerable. The law was amended in the 1980’s to allow for “no fault” divorces because proving fault was expensive and impractical, especially when both spouses have already agreed to end their marriage. There are now two types of no fault divorce in Pennsylvania (in addition to the “fault” grounds which are still on the books). The two types of no fault divorces are: (1) by mutual agreement after a 90 day “cooling off” period, and (2) when the parties have been separated for at least two years. When are spouses considered to be separated? Good question. In Pennsylvania it is possible to be “separated” even if you are still living together, but certain steps must be taken to support this claim. The grounds for divorce, whether fault or no-fault, must first be established before the Court is allowed to enter a divorce decree.
In addition to asking for the divorce decree, the divorce complaint also typically includes a request to divide the marital assets and debt, and to approve any agreement reached by the parties. The complaint may also include claims for spousal support, alimony, child support, custody, legal fees and any other relief needed depending upon the circumstances of the case.
Even after the divorce has been finalized my services may be required to modify agreements and enforce the court’s orders.