Does Initiating A Divorce Impact Child Custody Or Support Matters?
If a divorce action is initiated and the parties continue residing together, custody and support is not impacted. It is only impacted if the parties do not reside together, when issues of who sees the children and when, and who pays support, and how much, comes up.
Can You Walk Me Through The General Process Of A Divorce In Pennsylvania?
Divorce starts with a divorce complaint brought by one spouse (the plaintiff) against the other spouse (the defendant). In the divorce complaint, all of the grounds for the divorce and all of the claims are cited. For instance, claims for alimony or division of marital assets are included in the divorce complaint. Once the divorce complaint has been filed, it needs to be served on the defendant.
Divorce papers can be served by mail or in person. Proper service of divorce papers requires proof of service. Proof of service would be a signature of the Defendant, verified by the Plaintiff, or by Personal Service by an adult over the age of 18 and not related to either party. Once the complaint has been filed and served, grounds for divorce have to be established.
Grounds for divorce can be mutual by consent of both parties or based on one year or more of separation. Mutual consent divorces go under section 3301(c) of the Divorce Code, while separation divorces go under section 3301(d). Mutual consent divorces require the parties to wait at least 90 days from date of service of the complaint before final papers can be submitted.
Before the final paperwork can be submitted, all of the issues raised in the court filings having to do with the marriage have to be resolved. If the division of marital assets and/or debt is raised, or alimony or attorney fees and costs are raised, there must either be an agreement or the court must have to resolve them. The agreement is called “Marital Settlement Agreement” or “Property Settlement Agreement”. The court resolution is called “Equitable Distribution”. Before going to Equitable Distribution, you must request the appointment of a Divorce Master and have proof of the value of each of the assets and the amount of each of the debts.
Is Alimony Or Spousal Support Always Awarded In A Divorce Case?
Alimony or spousal support is not always awarded in a divorce case. Spousal support is claim-based, which means a financially disadvantaged spouse must file or makes a claim for support. This can be done privately outside of the court if the parties agree or through the courts. Alimony, on the other hand, is the payment of money from one spouse to the ex-spouse after the final divorce has been granted. Since the person is no longer considered a “spouse,” the terminology changes from support to alimony. Section 3701 of the Divorce Code lists 17 relevant factors in determining whether alimony should be awarded, and if so, determining the nature, amount, duration, and manner of payment. Some of the factors are the relative earnings and the earning capacity of the parties, and the ages and physical, mental, and emotional condition of the parties. The duration of the marriage is typically an important factor in deciding the length of time for which alimony will be paid.
For more information on Initiating A Divorce In Pennsylvania, a case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (215) 750-9202 today.
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