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Divorce Attorneys in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dealing with divorce can be stressful and confusing. There are many things that divorce forces you to deal with, such as family issues, courts, lawyers, and custody arrangements. With so much going on, it is crucial to protect one’s rights. Working with skilled family law attorneys can help you explore how to file for divorce, understand the divorce types, and your eligibility to file. 

Filing for Divorce in Pennsylvania 

When filing for divorce in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and neighboring areas – including Greensburg, Washington, Waynesburg, Uniontown, and New Castle – it’s crucial to note the two main types of divorce: 

Contested Divorce 

In essence, a contested divorce occurs when one or both parties do not agree on the issues. As a result, their lack of agreement forces them to rely on the court to decide the outcome of the issues in question. Division of assets, child custody, alimony, child support, and visitation rights are all issues that need to be established, and a contested divorce requires a bit more outside help. This divorce type can drag on and become quite stressful. A top-notch family or divorce attorney is highly recommended in this situation. 

Uncontested Divorce 

An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree to the divorce terms. The family or divorce attorneys file the divorce papers for the court to approve. This divorce type is much less stressful than a contested one, and it can oftentimes be established through mediation

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Eligibility to File for Divorce in Pennsylvania 

There are various criteria one or both parties must meet to become eligible to file for divorce in Pennsylvania. Understanding them will help the process move more smoothly: 

  • One or both parties must have lived at least six months in Pennsylvania immediately before filing divorce papers. 

  • The filing party must file for divorce in the area where the defendant or non-filing party lives. 

  • The filing party may also file in the area where both parties lived in Pennsylvania. 

  • The filing party may request a divorce in the county where both parties lived for the six months before the separation or in the county where the non-filing party lives in the six months following their separation. 

Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania 

There are two main grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania. The first includes fault-based grounds and the other includes non-fault-based grounds. 

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce 

Faults-based means that one of the spouses (generally the non-filing party) has committed one or more of the following acts: 

  • Abandonment. One of the spouses left home for more than one year without reasonable cause. 

  • Adultery. One of the spouses has cheated on the other. 

  • Abuse. Abuse refers to cruel treatment that harms or risks the life of the spouse or children. This cause includes domestic abuse. 

  • Bigamy. One spouse married without divorcing a previous spouse. 

  • Incarceration. One spouse has spent two or more years in prison. 

  • Behavior. One of the spouses behaves in a way that makes life unusually difficult or bearable (i.e., drug addiction or alcoholism). 

Non-Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce 

This divorce type states that the divorce is no one’s fault but due rather to various circumstances: 

  • Mutual consent. Simply put, both parties agree to a separation. Both parties must file an affidavit stating their desire to divorce. Nevertheless, if one of the spouses has been convicted of a personal injury (e.g., domestic abuse) crime against the other, the guilty party’s consent is presumed. The victim may then file for divorce without a court hearing. 

  • Irretrievable breakdown. This cause is also known as “irreconcilable differences.” One or both parties state that the marriage cannot be “fixed.” For the court to grant the divorce, both parties must agree to the terms, must have lived apart for at least a year, and attest the marriage has no chance of being retrieved. However, the judge may decide to order the parties to attempt a reconciliation before finally granting the divorce. 

  • Institutionalization. Institutionalization occurs when one of the spouses suffers from a mental health disorder requiring confinement to a mental institution for at least 18 months. The divorce may be granted if the confined party is not believed to be discharged for at least 18 more months. 

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Pennsylvania? 

On average, a divorce settlement can take between 90 days to 12 months. A no-fault divorce (such as mutual consent) takes at least 90 days or the mandatory marriage dissolution period. A contested divorce can take between five to twelve months. Most uncontested divorces take between four to six months. 

Divorce Attorneys in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Deciding to file for divorce is the first step. The next step is to find the right divorce attorney in Pennsylvania. We proudly serve those in Pittsburg, Greensburg, Washington, Waynesburg, Uniontown, and New Castle. At the Luvara Law Group LLC, we are committed to helping our clients reduce the stress and anguish that comes with divorce. We pledge to fight hard to protect our clients’ rights. We won’t stop until our clients get the outcome they deserve. Call us today to learn how we can help you. Don’t delay. Let us be in your corner when you need help the most.