What is the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce?

Divorces in Pennsylvania fall into one of two categories. The first is a no-fault divorce. Most spouses filing for no-fault divorces simply agree that the marriage no longer works for them. However, one person can seek a no-fault divorce if they were living separately from their married partner for longer than two years, or if their partner was in a mental institution for at least 18 months with no expectation of release in the foreseeable future. Filing for no-fault divorce when both parties agree to the permanent dissolution of the union is the fastest way to get divorced in Pennsylvania. After filing a complaint, the spouses usually receive a response within 90 days.

A fault divorce alleges that one spouse has done something to make the marriage unbearable for the other party, such as having an affair or undergoing abuse. Typically, one spouse files for a fault divorce, becoming a plaintiff in a civil case. The other spouse becomes the defendant. A fault divorce will end up in a trial where the court will decide how to allocate joint assets, as well as assign child support and child custody.

Splitting Assets Between Divorcing Spouses

The division of assets between divorcing spouses can cause tension. In a no-fault divorce, the couple may decide on satisfactory terms. In a fault divorce, the courts must typically intervene. In legal terms, marital assets can be nearly anything acquired during the marriage. Courts take plenty of other factors into consideration before splitting up assets, including the length of the marriage, ages of the divorcing spouses, earning potential of each spouse, and expected standard of living based on the marriage.

Figuring Out Child Support and Child Custody

Parents who are involved in a no-fault or fault divorce must figure out child support and custody plans. This can happen with or without intervention of the courts, depending upon how open divorcing parents are to working with a mediator or through their divorce lawyers. In Pennsylvania, courts use a basic formula to determine a starting point for child support, but they then take a comprehensive approach to figuring out what makes sense for the child. Over everything else, court officials are charged with determining child custody and support that meets the best interests of each young person.

Should I Hire a Divorce Lawyer?

Those seeking divorce are not obligated to hire a divorce lawyer to help with the process. Nevertheless, most divorcing couples seek counsel from lawyers to avoid headaches, paperwork, and emotional stress that comes with filing for divorce alone.

Bucks County Divorce Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Clients File for Divorce in Pennsylvania

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, contact a Bucks County divorce lawyer at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. We will guide you through the divorce process and help you make the best decisions for your family. Call us at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.