The Divorce Process in Pennsylvania
The primary issues decided in your divorce include spousal support, child support, child custody, and division of assets. Either spouse must have lived in Pennsylvania for a minimum of six months before initiating the divorce process. In the streamlined Pittsburgh divorce process, both spouses agree to get divorced and simply wait 90 days after filing to finalize the paperwork.
Understanding Spousal Support
Spousal support is not automatically awarded in a Pennsylvania divorce. Judges look at factors like the current earnings of each spouse, anticipated inheritances, liabilities and assets, each spouse’s education, property brought into the marriage, and the needs and capabilities of each party.
The Responsibility of Child Support
A judge can order child support in Pennsylvania to be paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support lasts until the child reaches age 18, but it can be extended beyond that if the child has special needs. Support is based on the amount the child needs and the child support guidelines established through the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The court explores daycare expenses, parent’s income amounts, and the cost of healthcare insurance when determining a fair child support agreement.
Determining Child Custody Arrangements
Child custody is determined based on the judge’s interpretation of the best interests of the child, accounting for physical, mental, emotional, and developmental well-being. Judges look at existing family relationships and the location of each parent in making a decision about child custody. The statutes contain a gender-neutrality provision so as not to favor one parent over another based on gender.
Dividing Assets Fairly
Property is divided on an equitable basis in Pennsylvania, but this does not mean all property is evenly split down the middle. The judge evaluates property division in Pittsburgh based on factors like the length of the marriage, the health and age of each spouse, income and skills for each spouse, future earning capacity, tax implications, and the income of both parties.
Do You Really Need a Divorce Lawyer?
Even when things seem to be progressing amicably, there are many reasons why having a legal advocate in your corner is the best move for your case. There may be unexpected questions that arise and decisions to make, so you want to ensure your best interests are represented effectively. You don't want to risk an unfavorable outcome to your divorce because you took on your challenges alone. Call my firm today to have a skilled divorce attorney on your side every step of the way.