Lancaster Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyers

When filing for divorce in Pennsylvania, it is important to select the appropriate legal grounds. Contact our Lancaster Pennsylvania divorce lawyers for a consultation regarding the type of divorce you would like to file.

Below is an overview of the different types of legal grounds a petition for divorce can be based on in Pennsylvania. Read on to learn more.

1. Mutual Consent Divorce: An uncontested divorce, also known as a mutual consent divorce, is the most common type of divorce in Pennsylvania. It occurs when both parties agree to the divorce and sign documents to reflect this agreement. This kind of divorce is less complicated and makes the legal process shorter. The spouses must meet the following requirements to petition for a mutual consent divorce:

 The marriage must be irretrievably broken

 Both spouses must agree to the divorce

 Both spouses must be willing to sign an affidavit stating they agree to the divorce

Ninety days after the divorce documents are filed, each spouse must sign an affidavit consenting to the divorce. The court will grant the divorce upon receiving the affidavit and other legal documents. No formal hearing is required for a mutual consent divorce. All financial issues must be settled before finalizing the divorce. Issues regarding child custody and support can be resolved before filing for divorce, or after it is finalized.

2. Two-Year Separation Divorce: A two-year separation divorce, which is another type of no-fault divorce, occurs when one of the parties refuses to sign the divorce affidavit. The other party can sign an affidavit stating that the parties have been separated for two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The affidavit must be served on the other party. If the party fails to respond, the court will grant the divorce. The other party can file a response and contest the two-year separation requirement or deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The court will hear the matter and make a decision to grant the divorce.

3. Institutionalization: Institutionalization is rarely used as a grounds for divorce. The court will grant an institutionalization divorce only if the defendant has been in a mental hospital for the last 18 months due to insanity or a serious mental condition. The defendant must be expected to remain in the institution for an additional 18 months.

4. Fault Divorce: Some spouses choose to file a fault divorce. The plaintiff must prove at the hearing that a defendant is at fault for the divorce. Grounds for fault include adultery, domestic violence, abandonment of the plaintiff for at least one year, imprisonment for more than two years, or the mistreatment of the plaintiff. A fault divorce is very expensive. The plaintiff must also show that she/he is innocent of wrongdoing.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, contact our Lancaster divorce attorneys for a consultation. We can discuss the grounds you may have for filing divorce and how to best proceed.

Helping Kids Cope With Divorce

A Pennsylvania divorce impacts the children in a family just as much as it does the adults. Pennsylvania parents who get a divorce have to learn how to best communicate with their children during a divorce. Working closely with children during a divorce is an important way to help them understand how to process sometimes difficult experiences and emotions. The steps to accomplish this are not necessarily the same for all children.

Today’s Parent notes that there are natural variances in emotional intelligence among different kids due in large part to their ages. This combined with individual personalities or other extenuating circumstances, will directly impact how parents should discuss this issue with their kids.

Start at the beginning

The thought of initially breaking the news to kids about a divorce can be heart wrenching for parents. Some people may originally feel that talking to each child one-on-one is best. However, Psychology Today indicates that this is not the best course of action for an initial message about a divorce. Instead, the recommendation is to essentially hold a family meeting and tell all siblings about the divorce at once.

This avoids any of the kids feeling burdened about having to keep a secret until their brothers or sisters know. It also prevents kids told last from feeling resentful that they were not told earlier.

This type of meeting should be kept to basics and parents should avoid issuing any blame to each other. As kids ask questions, parents are urged to answer honestly yet identify when to indicate some topics can be taken offline with individual kids at a later time.

Moving Through The Divorce Process

Once the initial news about the divorce has been shared, different conversations will take place with different kids. Some of these may involve multiple siblings at once and others may be with one child individually. With younger children, the focus will be predominately on logistics such as who will be picking them up from school, which house they will spend the night at and so forth.

Older children need to know such things as well but will be able to discuss their emotions. That said, some kids send the message that they don’t want to talk so parents need to work harder to keep the lines of communication open and make sure kids know parents are available.

Involvement by both parents is important

Where possible, keeping communication flowing for kids with both parents is optimal. The Huffington Post recommends that no limits are put on communication with one parent when with the other. The more natural things are, the better for kids.

Talk to an attorney

In the midst of handling kids’ needs and one’s own emotional needs, it is important to make sure other elements of a divorce are properly addressed. Working with a lawyer is important for this reason when getting divorced in Pennsylvania.

Our team of Lancaster County divorce lawyers serve those with legal needs throughout all of Southeastern Pennsylvania. This includes Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading, Denver, Ephrata, Manheim, Akron, Kutztown, Lititz, Quarrytown, Bird in Hand and Intercourse, Pennsylvania.