“Divorce” is the termination of the marriage, that is to become divorced from the bonds of matrimony. Obtaining a divorce requires filing a divorce complaint with the court.
A divorce action is established and controlled by the Divorce Code in Pennsylvania. “Grounds for divorce” means the express statutory reasons why the court should grant the divorce and are specifically set forth in the Divorce Code. In Pennsylvania there are both “Fault” Grounds and “No Fault Grounds” for divorce.
The “Fault” grounds allow the court to grant a divorce to the innocent and injured spouse whenever it is judged that the other spouse has:
- Committed willful and malicious desertion, and absence from the habitation of the injured and innocent spouse, without a reasonable cause, for the period of one or more years.
- Committed adultery.
- By cruel and barbarous treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse.
- Knowingly entered into a bigamous marriage while a former marriage is still subsisting.
- Been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two or more years upon conviction of having committed a crime.
- Offered such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3301 (a)
Further, the court may grant a divorce from a spouse upon the ground that insanity or serious mental disorder has resulted in confinement in a mental institution for at least 18 months immediately before the commencement of an action under this part and where there is no reasonable prospect that the spouse will be discharged from inpatient care during the 18 months subsequent to the commencement of the action. A presumption that no prospect of discharge exists shall be established by a certificate of the superintendent of the institution to that effect and which includes a supporting statement of a treating physician. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3301 (b).
A divorce can also be granted on a “No Fault” basis. There are two forms of “no fault” divorce. First, if the parties both agree (Mutual Consent) and sign all necessary papers for so doing then a court may grant a divorce where it is alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the date of commencement of an action, that is after the divorce complaint has been filed. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3301 (c).
The second form of “no fault” divorce is “Irretrievable Breakdown” where the parties have been separated for two years. Again the parties must agree to the divorce, all necessary papers must be signed and neither party disputes the two year separation. When the parties agree a divorce can be granted without either party ever having to appear in court. Only when the parties agree on all issues and sign the appropriate documents will a divorce be granted.
A divorce action can include claims for child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony, distribution of property, legal fees and court costs. While a court may separate the divorce portion of the case from the custody or financial portions (known as a “bifurcation” divorce) these claims must be resolved before a court will enter the decree granting the divorce. Again, an agreement known as a Post Nuptial Agreement can resolve all these issues.
Unfortunately, there are times when parties can’t agree and must proceed in the court to have a judge decide all the issues in the divorce complaint.
Attorney Ghen serves as a divorce attorney to represent clients in these situations. Your divorce is handled exclusively by Attorney Ghen from start to finish. All reasonable attempts to negotiate a settlement satisfactory to you will be made. If an acceptable settlement cannot be reached, you and your interests will be well represented in court as Attorney Ghen has over 30 years experience as a divorce lawyer in Berks County, Lebanon County, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.