Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. Divorce usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state.
A divorce is initiated in Pennsylvania by virtue of filing a Complaint in Divorce. Once the complaint is filed, the other party must be served within thirty days of the filing of the complaint or the complaint will need to be reinstated.
One of the most frequently asked questions is “how long will my divorce take?” The simple answer is that there is no answer. A mutual consent divorce may be finalized ninety days after service of the Complaint in Divorce. If the divorce is not consented to by both parties, a divorce may still be granted if it is proved that the parties have been living separate and apart for one year; and the marriage is irretrievably broken. This does not mean that the divorce will be finalized in a year. If a fault ground is alleged there must be proof presented.
Alimony, in simplest terms, is financial support after the divorce is entered. The parties can agree to an alimony award or a court may award alimony. A spouse can request a temporary support or Alimony Pendente Lite “APL” which, with a few exceptions, generally expires when the divorce granted.
With some exceptions, marital property generally means property acquired during the marriage. Marital property may also include increases in value to property acquired prior to marriage, or in gifts and inheritances. Parties can work together to come to an amicable resolution of equitable issues. If that does not happen, court intervention is necessary to determine how marital property is divided. Courts will analyze factors and will then issue an equitable distribution award.