Divorce or separation is uncharted territory for most, and you may want to have a more thorough understanding of your rights and obligations. The Charleston Firm is happy to answer your legal questions and assist you through this difficult time in your life. We have helped to guide countless families through amicable and difficult divorces in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Lancaster, Berks, Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, as well as South Jersey.
Divorce or Separation in Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania does not recognize legal separation, meaning that living separate and apart from your spouse will not change your legal status. If you or your spouse is contemplating separation, you may want to discuss a Post-Nuptial Agreement. The Post-Nuptial Agreement is similar in form to a Pre-Nuptial Agreement but the drafting and signing occurs while the parties are married. The Post-Nuptial Agreement allows a couple to put the fighting of dividing assets aside and encourages them to let their guard down and perhaps give the marriage another chance.
If one or both spouses wishes to dissolve the marriage completely, divorce proceedings must be initiated by one spouse. There are different types of divorce in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, each catering to the different reasons a marriage may dissolve:
Uncontested Mutual Consent No-Fault Divorce: This type of divorce is for those who agree with the divorce and the general division of assets. Parties are willing to work on the separation of assets through a collaborative divorce process. If this is the route you and your spouse choose, the Court will grant you a divorce in about 90 days once all paperwork has been prepared and filed.
Contested No-Fault Divorce: This type of divorce may be your route if one spouse does not agree with either the divorce or the proposed division of assets. However, both parties agree that the marriage breakdown is not based on the fault of one party in the marriage.
Fault Based Divorces: While Fault based divorces are still recognized under Pennsylvania law, they are not as popular as No-Fault divorces. A fault based divorce requires one party to prove in Court that the other spouse committed a fault that caused the marriage to fail (desertion, adultery, etc.). The moving party must also prove that he or she is the innocent and injured spouse- having committed no faults of their own to end the marriage.
No matter which type of divorce is best for you and your spouse, you will most likely still need a Property Settlement Agreement (or Marital Settlement Agreement). This document will ensure your rights are secure for years to come. Call The Charleston Firm today and let us explain your options to you.
Because every situation is unique to the people involved, we will take the time to get to know our clients, as well as their wants and needs. Once we have a better understanding of what you are looking for, we will provide customized guidance and assistance to help you achieve those goals.
If you or your spouse is contemplating divorce, give The Charleston Firm a call today.
Mediation: Is Mediation for Us?
Mediation can be an extremely useful tool depending upon the parties’ personalities and desire to settle matters amicably. What you must know is that once you and your partner both meet with the mediator/attorney, that attorney is now barred from giving you any legal advice and may not file any paperwork with the Court on your behalf. The Professional Rules of Conduct prohibit this activity because, even if amicable, both parties have competing interests. What this translates to frequently is the parties having to pay a large amount for the mediation and then having to go find other attorneys to file the paperwork with the Court.
When you work with The Charleston Firm, we can file the paperwork immediately with the Court to get the clock rolling. Once we do, we have time to discuss the asset distribution with your spouse and their attorney. The mediation process is a natural first step when you choose to hire an attorney to represent your interest. In many circumstances, we have been able to sit down with the opposing party and their counsel to discuss an amicable resolution together, without losing any time.
Our goal at The Charleston Firm is to get to know our clients so that we can advise on the best option or options for their particular situation. There are many avenues available we are happy to discuss your circumstances and provide guidance accordingly. After all, we want each of our clients to be life-long clients. Call The Charleston Firm today to find out how we can assist you!
60 W. BOOT RD Suite 201
WEST CHESTER, PA 19380