There may have been times throughout your marriage when you and your spouse disagreed. You may have been able to compromise and move on or simply “agree to disagree,” without it doing extensive damage to your relationship. If, as time went on, it became clear that your marriage wasn’t going to turn out as you’d hoped it might, you may have decided that you’d rather go your separate ways than remain in an unhappy relationship. Perhaps that’s when you decided to file for divorce in a Pennsylvania court.
Any number of factors, such as the fact that you’re a parent, as well as financial issues, assets and liabilities and more, may affect your divorce settlement. There are also state laws to which you must adhere.
There’s a required waiting period for divorce in Pennsylvania
While part of you may have wanted to pack your bags, put the kids in the car and move out moments after determining that divorce was the route you’d be taking, it’s not that simple. In Pennsylvania, there’s a required waiting period from your date of separation until you can file for divorce. This waiting period applies to any spouse who plans to seek a no-fault divorce.
The waiting period required by the state of Pennsylvania is usually one year from your date of separation. In certain circumstances, however, it might be less. If there are no contested issues in your divorce, you might only have to wait 90 days.
What are contested issues?
A no-fault divorce means that you do not plan to establish fault against your spouse as the reason for legally ending your marriage. Contested issues would be any issue that has spurred a disagreement between you and your ex. Such issues often involve topics such as child custody, property division and other important matters.
If neither you nor your ex are contesting anything, the court might not make you wait the full year to file your divorce petition.
You can seek outside support before the waiting period expires
Having to wait a year or 90 days to file your divorce petition doesn’t mean you can begin planning for your future. In fact, many spouses, especially those who are parents, seek legal support as soon as they decide to divorce, regardless of an impending waiting period. There are also laws about state residency that you’ll want to review before filing a petition in court.
This would give you time to discuss important issues with someone who is well-versed in Pennsylvania divorce laws. You might even use the time to draft a child custody agreement, so as to expedite the process of achieving a settlement when the time comes. The better prepared you are, the smoother your transition to a new lifestyle is likely to be.