PENNSYLVANIA DIVORCE LAWS:
The Residency Requirement: Either spouse must have been a resident for at least six months before filing.
No Fault: Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (grounds if by mutual consent, or accompanied by a two-year separation).
Fault: Committed, willful, and malicious desertion of at least one year; Adultery; Cruel and barbarous treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse; Bigamy; Incarceration for at least two years; Such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome.
Property Division: Pennsylvania is an equitable-distribution, dual-classification state. Property is classified as either separate or marital; separate property must go to the property owner, while marital property is divided between the parties “equitably.” Equitable means fairly, based on how the parties acquired and treated the property during the marriage; it does not mean equally. Marital property also includes anything bought after the separation with marital assets (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce).
Alimony: A court may allow alimony to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary, and it is usually not permanent. In determining alimony, the court will consider 19 factors. Unlike any other state except Arkansas, Pennsylvania has statewide spousal support guidelines for temporary alimony (called APL) that are presumed to be correct unless it is shown that the amount would be unjust or inappropriate.
Child custody and child support: As in all states, child custody is awarded by the court based on “the best interests of the child.” Shared custody may be awarded when it is in the best interests of the child, upon application of one or both parents, or when they have agreed, or at the court’s discretion. Decisions for sole custody are based on many factors including any history of neglect or abuse; the wishes of the child; and which parent is more likely to encourage and allow frequent and continuing contact and physical access between the noncustodial parent and the child (click the following for an expert's overview and a list of articles on child custody and child support).
Pennsylvania child-support guidelines are based on an income-shares model: the total obligation is divided between the mother and father according to their incomes. These figures are rough estimates only.
For a combined net monthly income of:
- $2,000, support for one child is $501; for two children, $700; for three children, $807.
- $4,000, support for one child is $843; for two children, $1,144; for three children, $1,287.
- $5,000, support for one child is $933; for two children, $1,253; for three children, $1,402.
You can figure Pennsylvania child support in your case by going to: http://www.pennglazier.com/support2006/
Child support ends at age 18; post-secondary educational expenses are a responsibility shared by both parents.
The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.