Frequently Asked Questions About Pennsylvania Divorce
Answers From a Dedicated Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry County Divorce Attorney For Men
Divorce is difficult for everyone. But men face additional challenges when it comes to child custody and support arrangements. The Guy’s Attorney focuses on husbands and fathers who need a legal ally who is sensitive to their needs and goals. If you are considering divorce, you need information and answers to your most immediate questions. I’m happy to discuss these and any other issues specific to your situation.
- I’ve signed dissolution papers, but am I divorced?
- What is a no-fault divorce?
- How much of my retirement is my wife going to get in the divorce?
- Can I gain sole custody of my child?
- Can I control how my child support money is spent?
Check with the court in the county in which you lived during the marriage to determine if a divorce decree was ever entered. If not, a divorce complaint will have to be filed on your behalf. If you are in contact with your spouse, that should not be a problem. Be aware, however, that when a divorce complaint is filed in Pennsylvania, there is a 90-day “wait period” to finalize a divorce. This 90-day period begins with the date the divorce complaint is served. Your spouse must then sign certain legal papers to allow a non-contested divorce to proceed after the 90-day period. If you don’t have contact information for your spouse, or if she is unwilling to sign, then a longer, more cumbersome process must be followed to finalize your divorce.
No-fault divorce describes any divorce where the parties do not have to prove that one of the spouses did something wrong. All states allow divorces regardless of who is “at fault.” In Pennsylvania, grounds for divorce can be either no-fault or fault-based. To claim a no-fault divorce, one party simply has to state a reason recognized by the state, including mutual consent, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or institutionalization of a spouse. For either type of divorce, Pennsylvania does normally require six months’ residency in the state before filing.
Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, which means the division of marital property is determined by applying a set of factors designed to result in an equitable (fair) distribution. The portions of each spouse’s retirement plans that are earned from the date of marriage to the date of separation are considered to be marital property. PA courts prefer not to divide retirement accounts, however. The court tries to determine if there is a way to distribute the entire marital estate without dividing up the retirement accounts. The amount of your own retirement accounts subject to division will entirely depend on what other assets make up your marital estate.
In every custody case The Guy’s Attorney has ever been involved in, a parent has not been awarded sole legal or physical custody unless the other parent has shown a complete lack of interest in the child’s well-being. Asking the court to terminate the custodial rights of the other parent imposes a heavy legal burden. It is important to recognize that both parents play a vital role in their child’s life. And either parent may be the best choice as the primary custodian. If you are determined to seek custody of your child, gender bias should not be allowed to be a factor in the process.
Fathers paying child support are often frustrated when they feel the money is being spent in frivolous and inappropriate ways. Generally speaking, it is required that the payment of child support be made directly to the person who has physical custody of the children. Therefore, the spending of that child support is totally within that custodian’s control. When your children’s needs are not being met by the custodial parent, however, we address that through vigorous action in custody court. We can attempt to create a scenario where you can make direct payment for certain necessary expenses, and then receive credit from the court on the underlying child support amount. This is difficult but sometimes necessary.
Contact an Experienced Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry County, PA Divorce Law Firm For Men
If you are contemplating divorce, seeking custody of your children or in need of counsel on other legal matters affecting your family, I can help. I’m glad to put my experience to use in seeing you through a confusing and often intimidating process. Call The Guy’s Attorney, John F. King, at 717-412-0244 or contact The Guy’s Attorney online. My office is conveniently located on the Carlisle Pike, just 10 minutes’ drive from Harrisburg.