Frequently Asked Questions on Divorce Law
Get Answers from Our Family Law Attorney!
Navigating through a divorce is an emotional challenge that will require
you to take certain steps to protect the relations involved within your
home. At the Law Offices of Avram Y. Rosen, we can take every necessary
step to help you accomplish your goals.
Our divorce lawyer serving Pittsburgh has more than 15 years serving the
best interests of clients and providing personal attention to their case.
Read the questions and answers below for a better understanding of your
divorce case, and then
contact us for personalized counsel!
Are legal separations allowed in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania does not recognize legal separations. The date of the couple's
separation, however, is important to the divorce filing process. This
date is marked in various ways, including:
- The filing of a divorce complaint
- Moving out
- Having a life-changing discussion
In some cases, parties can be considered separated when they are residing
in the same household. The date of separation is important to determine
when the divorce can be entered and which assets are considered marital.
What are the residency requirements for getting divorced in Pennsylvania?
Either spouse must be a resident of Pennsylvania for six months prior
to filing for the divorce. The residency requirement will need to be met
or the case will be dismissed.
Does Pennsylvania allow for "no-fault" divorce?
Yes. Most divorce cases in Pennsylvania are filed on the basis of "no-fault."
These are based on one of two grounds:
- Mutual consent of both parties
- One-year separation period
Fault divorces are not advisable in most cases, even in situations where
the filing party has been wronged.
Can both parties use the same attorney to represent them during divorce?
It is considered an inherent conflict of interest to have one lawyer representing
both parties. One attorney, however, can handle an entire matter as long
as it is clear that they are only representing one party. At the Law Offices
of Avram Y. Rosen, we have taken that form of representation. We can prepare
paperwork and agreements on behalf of our client and ensure that every
document is properly filed and served. In such a situation, however, we
cannot provide advice to the other party.
Can I make the other side pay my lawyers' fees?
In some cases you can, but it is rare. The most common reasons for the
court to award counsel fees are a disparity in income or bad conduct by
the other side. In many cases also, the counsel fees order is not made
until the end of the case. If there are suitable liquid assets, a request
can be made to have it advanced on a party's equitable distribution
award. The parties can also negotiate a counsel fee arrangement on their
own without asking a court to make a formal request.
How long will my divorce take?
Every divorce case is different. An amicable divorce can be resolved in
four to five months. Absent an agreement, neither party can begin to force
the divorce until the parties have been separated for two years. Contested
divorce cases, therefore, can take two to three years and sometimes even longer.
Does Pennsylvania allow for alimony?
Alimony is support that can be awarded to an ex-spouse for financial support
after the divorce. Court ordered support during the marriage is either
spousal support or alimony
pendent lite (APL), which are handled differently than alimony.
Alimony is permitted in Pennsylvania, but it is not granted in every case.
An alimony award is based on numerous factors. Some of the factors include:
- Duration of the marriage
- Ages of the parties
- Ability to support oneself through employment
Is Pennsylvania a 50/50 divorce state?
In Pennsylvania, property is not divided in an equal split but in an equitable
distribution manner. Equitable distribution means that the marital estate
will be divided as the court deems most fair. Divisions that are more
skewed than a 65-35 spilt rarely occur, but they may be warranted in some
cases. Only marital property is included in this division. Separate property
is not divided.
How do we decide who gets what in a property division?
In most cases, the parties in a divorce case will have the freedom to
negotiate an agreement for themselves. If there is no agreement, the court
will issue a decision in an equitable distribution manner, which is based
on a number of factors. Some of the factors include the length of marriage,
the health of the parties, and the presence of minor children. Marital
misconduct is not considered in equitable distribution.
How does the court determine child custody awards?
The court is required to enter a child support that promotes the
best interests of the child or children. A child's best interest is unique in each situation and many factors
may apply. Some of the factors that a court may consider include:
- Parental involvement
- Child's age
- Child's grades
- Proximity to schools
Is there a standard child custody order?
Every case is unique and therefore, there is no standard custody order.
Certain patterns occur more frequently, however. There has been a trend
toward every other weekend in partial physical custody and shared physical
custody. Shared custody is awarded based on the judge and the circumstances.
Is there a relationship between child custody and child support?
Not typically. Custody is not modified at a support hearing and support
is not modified at a custody trial. In Pennsylvania, the support payer
is required to comply with the support order, even if the custodial parent
does not comply with his or her order. In addition, non-payment of support
cannot be punished by a withholding of custody, and vice versa.
How can I establish the paternity of my child?
When a child is born to an unmarried woman in Pennsylvania, paternity
may need to be proven. There is no legal relationship between the child
and the father unless an Acknowledgement of Paternity form is signed by
both parents or paternity is established through a court order.
Does domestic violence affect a divorce case?
If you are the victim of domestic violence, the outcome of your divorce
may be affected in the areas of child custody and child visitation. You
may be able to file a Protection from Abuse Order so that the individual
is not permitted to come near you. These orders can be issued for up to
Allegations of past abuse may also have an impact on child custody. If
the court is considering who will be a better fit for child custody, instances
of domestic abuse will be taken into consideration.
What are the main types of child custody?
You should obtain an understanding of the different options available
when seeking a child custody plan. Legal custody refers to the parent's
responsibility to make the large decisions that affect a child's life.
Physical custody refers to the actual location where the child will live
for the majority of the time. Both types of custody can either be joint
or sole, which means that the parents may share responsibilities.
What types of payment does your office accept?
At the Law Offices of Avram Y. Rosen, we accept payments by cash, check,
money order, certified check, Mastercard, Visa, Discover, debit card,
and wire transfer. If you pay by check, we must receive it at least 5
days in advance.
Contact the Law Offices of Avram Y. Rosen
You can count on our firm's experienced representation to help you
navigate your case. We are committed to helping clients through their
divorce cases and protecting their rights. Get the help you and the answers
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