How long does it take to get a divorce?
A divorce can be concluded in a little over ninety days, or it can take as long as several years. Much depends on whether or not your spouse will consent and whether or not you can agree on the financial issues associated with your divorce.
Can I refuse to agree to a divorce?
Yes. However, the Divorce Code offers other alternatives to your spouse for obtaining a divorce. A divorce can be obtained after two years of separation with or without your consent. It can also be obtained much earlier if you are guilty of marital fault.
Can the court give my spouse more than half of our assets in the divorce?
Yes. Pennsylvania law requires courts to divide assets equitably, not equally.
My spouse has a lot of credit card debt. Do I have to pay any of it when we divorce?
You might. Marital debt generally includes all debt incurred between the date of marriage and the date of separation, regardless of who incurred it. The court has the discretion to allocate all marital debt between the parties during property division.
Isn’t it true that the Collaborative Law process only works for people who get along and generally agree on things?
No! The Collaborative Law process is an alternative to divorce litigation in court. It works when individuals want to resolve their disputes out of court and when they are able to recognize that disputes get resolved when people feel that their needs have been considered and substantially met. It requires honesty, open-mindedness and creative thinking. Collaborative law does not require that the parties like each other or that they agree on most things before the process starts.
At what age does my child get to decide who will have custody?
There is no age at which your child gets to decide. Courts will consider the well-reasoned preference of a child, particularly an older child. However, the child’s preference is never dispositive.
Can I deny custody or visitation if my child’s parent is not paying child support?
No. If you have a court order awarding child custody or visitation to your child’s parent, you must comply with the court order. Even if you do not have a court order, it is still not a good idea to deny access on this basis. Judges treat these issues very separately and expect parents to support the child’s relationship with each, even when financial support is not being timely paid.
Is it true that the mother always gets child custody?
No. In fact, the law is clear that both parents come to the court on equal footing. It is true that some judges have an unstated preference for mothers. However, this phenomenon is no longer prevalent in our judicial system.
Will the court award shared custody of the dog?
No. In many households, the family pet is treated like one of the family. Unfortunately, when you divorce, the court will treat your pet like the sofa. In the eyes of the law, your pet is personal property and will be awarded to one party exclusively through property distribution.