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Serving Clients Throughout Western Pennsylvania

Practice Limited to Family Law Since 2003

List of Services

Divorce

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Uncontested Divorce

A common question is, what is an uncontested divorce? In its simplest terms an uncontested divorce is one where the parties either

[a] have no assets or liabilities that they wish to divide between them; or

[b] the parties have agreed between themselves how to distribute their property.

When the parties have no assets or liabilities that they wish to divide the parties can become divorced in as little as 90 days (although it generally takes 100-110). An experienced professional can prepare the necessary documents for signature and file them with the Court. The Law Office of Jesse I. Weidaw can perform this task for both you and your estranged spouse for $300 (plus the Court’s filing fees). Only signatures will be required from the parties, and no trip to Court is necessary.

Where the parties have assets and liabilities to be divided, the process can become more complicated even if they agree on how to best divide them. Assets and liabilities can be divided by Order of Court, or by a Property Settlement Agreement. There are advantages and disadvantages to both documents, and only a competent lawyer can advise you on these matters, and then only after a full discussion of potential pit-falls. The cost for the processing of the divorce paperwork is the same a no property case, however, the cost of preparing the appropriate Order or Agreement varies based on complexity of the matter.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is one where either

[a] one of the two parties does not desire to get divorced; or

[b] both parties want to get divorced, but they cannot agree on how to divide their property.

In Pennsylvania a non-filing party has a right to a two year period of living “separate and apart” from their estranged spouse before the Court will entertain the filing party’s request for distribution of property or for a divorce. There are many reasons why a person would take advantage of this right, and it’s best to discuss the specific facts of your case with a lawyer before filing a divorce complaint.

In other circumstances the parties agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken, but they are unable to resolve disputes regarding the distribution of their assets and liabilities or the payment of alimony. In this case the two year waiting period can be waived by the parties if they choose, and they can submit their case to the Court at that time.

Many, if not most, contested divorces eventually become uncontested divorces. Although it is impossible to say how long this process will take, or how much it will cost. Call to schedule a consultation to discuss the facts of your case, and how they relate to the law so you can begin to plan for your future life.

Fault Based Divorce

In certain circumstances (the most common of which are adultery, abuse, or abandonment) the Court will grant a filing party a divorce prior to the completion of the statutory two year waiting period, without the other persons consent.

Establishing fault grounds can be complicated and expensive. For example, it is not sufficient to merely allege adultery, you must prove it in Court. Even if fault grounds are established, the Court still must equitably distribute your marital property, and as a result additional hearings are usually required resulting in spiraling costs that are often not worth the effort of establishing the fault ground.