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3 basic rules people need to know about Pennsylvania divorces

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Uncategorized

A divorce in Pennsylvania usually leads to a variety of significant changes in personal circumstances. Divorcing spouses have to address their finances and also any children that they share with each other. The outcome of any given divorce is unique, as the courts should set terms based on family circumstances.

The application of the law during a litigated divorce is a largely interpretive process that depends on a judge’s perspective and the unique personal history of the spouses. That being said, there are certain general rules that people need to understand as they prepare for divorce in Pennsylvania. The three rules below are among the most important for people to learn as they prepare for Pennsylvania divorce proceedings.

The courts want a fair division of property

Married couples share their income and combine their households. They have to address the property that they acquired and any debts that they owe when they divorce. Couples have the option of agreeing to certain terms with one another, or they can ask a judge to divide their assets. During litigated property division proceedings, judges focus on achieving an equitable solution for addressing the economic obligations and resources of the spouses.

Both parents theoretically have equal rights

When there are children in the family, custody matters are often the most challenging aspect of the divorce process. Some people worry about losing their relationship with their children because of a divorce. Thankfully, Pennsylvania employs a neutral approach to custody where both adults theoretically have a right to time with the children and to say in the major decisions about their upbringing. The main consideration should be the best interests of the children. Anyone seeking uneven custody arrangements or sole custody generally needs compelling evidence to establish the necessity of those terms.

Child support is automatic, but alimony is not

Contrary to what people sometimes expect, a parent usually cannot give up the right to receive child support in a Pennsylvania divorce. Parents generally cannot preemptively waive the right to child support during a divorce, as the courts award it based on the needs of the children. Alimony, which some people call spousal support, is not automatic. A dependent spouse who cannot support themselves must file a request with the courts and demonstrate that the situation meets certain standards to obtain an alimony order.

The actual outcome of a divorce depends largely on the circumstances of the marriage. Learning the basics of state law can help people more effectively prepare for Pennsylvania divorce proceedings. Spouses who know their rights can push for a reasonable outcome in a Pennsylvania divorce.