Fault or No-Fault: What does it matter? – An explanation of your divorce options in Pennsylvania

If you are thinking about a divorce and Google “Divorce in Pennsylvania”, you will likely find an endless amount of information, which can be overwhelming.  By offering free consultations, we try to help make the process less mysterious.  Read on here, and we will help clear up as much of the confusion as possible!

What does “fault” or “no-fault” mean?  At one time, “fault” was a part of the divorce process.  It is not very common now because Pennsylvania is a “no fault” state – meaning, you can be divorced for any reason of your choice. 

To have a “fault based” divorce, you must give a reason, such as:

  • Your spouse has committed willful and malicious desertion for 1+ year;
  • Your spouse has endangered your life through cruel and barbarous treatment;
  • Your spouse entered into marriage with you while still married to another individual (bigamy);
  • Your spouse has been sentenced to prison for 2+ years;
  • Your life is intolerable and burdensome because of your spouse’s indignities;
  • Your spouse cheated on you and committed adultery.

The above 6 reasons/options might seem common but the reality is that these reasons are rarely, if hardly ever, used or followed in our local county courts. Instead, the most common divorce is the No-Fault Divorce” (even when fault is the reason why!)

Typically, making the decision to proceed under the No-Fault statute will result in a faster divorce process (which usually means less expensive!) This is because, under a no-fault divorce, you can obtain “grounds” (essentially, permission) to divorce after 90 days from the date of service of the divorce complaint, and/or after one (1) year of living separate and apart.  The waiting period will depend on whether or not you and your spouse are both in agreement to get a divorce and move on, or whether one spouse wants to hold out and try to repair the relationship.

It is important to hire an attorney who is well versed in the applicable laws and available options in our local counties. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jennifer J. Riley are available to guide you through the initial stages of the divorce process in Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties.  We help you protect what matters most.   

Contact the Attorneys at the Law Offices of Jennifer J. Riley TODAY to schedule your free consultation.

Collaborative Divorce

For more than 30 years, people all over the United States and around the world have turned to the Collaborative Process as a peaceful, efficient, and effective way to divorce. Despite its growing popularity, Collaborative Practice remains much less well known than other divorce processes, such as litigation and mediation. So, what is Collaborative Practice, and how can you tell if it’s the right for you?

What is Collaborative Practice?

There are two features of Collaborative Practice that distinguish it from other ways you could divorce. First, when you choose Collaborative Practice, you and your spouse not only choose your own Collaborative Attorneys but may also invite other Collaboratively-trained professionals to join your Collaborative Team. Many Collaborative Teams include a Financial Advisor and a Divorce Coach, who serve as neutral advisors to both spouses, providing valuable support to help you create better, more efficient divorce resolutions.  Some Teams also include other Collaboratively-trained professionals, such as a Child/Parenting Specialist, Mortgage Advisor, Special Needs Consultant, or others with special expertise in an area of need. Whether your Team includes only you and your spouse and your Collaborative Attorneys, or other specialized Team members, building the right Team for your divorce is one of the most important steps you will take during the Collaborative Process.

The second hallmark of Collaborative Process is the Participation Agreement. Choosing Collaborative Practice means committing to resolving your divorce without adversarial litigation. The Process begins with you and your spouse, and both Collaborative Attorneys, signing a formal, legally binding Participation Agreement that commits all of you to the Collaborative Process. The cornerstone of the Participation Agreement is the “Disqualification” provision, which will prohibit the Collaborative Attorneys from representing either you or your spouse in any adversarial litigation. Knowing that going to court would mean starting over with new attorneys serves as a powerful incentive to both you and your spouse to resolve your divorce Collaboratively.

Is Collaborative Practice right for you?

If you and your spouse are committed to resolving your divorce peacefully and would benefit from the support and expertise of a Collaborative Team, then choosing Collaborative Practice may be right for you. Our Collaboratively-trained attorneys, Josh Kershenbaum and Stacy Forchetti, can answer your questions and help connect you with other Collaborative professionals in the region. Contact us today!