Relationships are not always easy, and once you are married things can be even harder. Couples can be faced with major life decisions, financial problems, the stress of children or simply growing apart. In a large portion of marriages, the partners decide divorce is the best option.
Divorce can be a grueling process, no matter the situation. Even if the two people agree to the split, there still could be legal concerns and issues. If you are the person filing for divorce, you carry the burden of choosing whether to file a no-fault or an at-fault divorce.
Several states now are offering no-fault marriage terminations, including Pennsylvania, which was introduced in 1980. A no-fault divorce typically happens when the couple agrees and decides to end it quickly. The process could take as little as 90 days, and no hearing is needed.
So, why do people still file for an at-fault divorce? Not all situations are simple. If you are deciding to end your marriage, chances are there will be disagreements about how to do it. In some cases, only one spouse wants out of the marriage. Consulting a family law attorney can help you decide if an at-fault divorce is necessary.
Before the no-fault divorce was introduced, spouses had to prove the other committed an act that was worthy of divorce, such as committing adultery or domestic violence. The person filing for divorce had to prove the other was “at fault.” It pits the two people against each other and the situation often gets messy.
At-fault divorce still is an option in Pennsylvania, although it is not necessary. It often is much more difficult to obtain, compared to a no-fault divorce, and a hearing likely will be needed to settle the dispute. However, sometimes it is necessary.
When the two parties cannot agree on the divorce, an at-fault divorce is used. This means, if one spouse files for divorce but the other does not want to grant his or her wishes and wants to remain in the marriage, the one filing would need an at-fault divorce to terminate it.
Of course, at-fault divorce still can be filed if one person in the marriage committed an act that would make him or her “at-fault.” For instance, one of the most common reasons people file at-fault divorces is one spouse was guilty of adultery. The other spouse must make allegations and prove he or she committed those actions.
Deciding whether to file for an at-fault or a no-fault divorce can be tricky. Communication with your spouse and attorney is crucial in determining which route to take. A family law attorney can help you make a decision beneficial to you, your spouse and your future. If you would like to learn more or discuss your case with an attorney, please call us at (610) 692-8700.
Ciccarelli Law Offices represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Phoenixville, Coatesville, Ephrata, Norristown, Villanova, Newtown Square, Media and surrounding communities.