On Trial for Divorce in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not permit jury trials for divorce cases, but they do allow the court to hear Fault divorce. If you have gone to trial for a divorce, you are certainly in what divorce attorneys call a contested case or Fault-divorce. Contested cases can be very nasty ordeals for all concerned, including the divorce lawyers. Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, and other cities in the state of  Pennsylvania, are located smack dab in the center of what many refer to as a conservative area of our nation. In a divorce trial, not only do you experience the humiliation of exposing the reasons for a failed marriage to the public, a stigma is often attached to the participants who may endure a lifetime of shame for their failure to live up to societal expectations.

Whether some Pennsylvania society is right or wrong in the judgmental way they approach divorce, or whether or not your humiliation is self illusion, before entering a contested marital divorce, you may want to ask yourself a couple of simple questions. First of all, is there any way for reconciliation between you and your spouse?  With over12 million people living in Pennsylvania, over 99 percent consider themselves as associated with some type of religion, and over 94 percent of those church-ed consider themselves as Christian. With strong similar values, work ethics, and community minded service of Pennsylvania Christians, there should be no wonder the legal system in the state has been influenced by this group when it comes to the marriage institution. Pennsylvanians value hard work and commitment, traits shared by the tenets of the Christian faith, but in 2004, for every 1000 people, three marriages ended in divorce. The divorce rate did not seem to change regardless of religious or non-religious affiliations. The important thing to note about these statistics is the fact most all Pennsylvanians value hard work and commitment, two traits essential in making a marriage contract work. Therefore, since Pennsylvanians across the board share these essentials in marital values, doesn’t it stand to reason that if at all possible, you should first try to reconcile before acquiescing to divorce?

Secondly, if your answer to the first question is honestly “no,” then you may want to ask yourself, is there any way you can get out of a bad marriage without a lot of public fervor? Obviously, there are reasons some people should not stay married, the threat of imminent harm being chief amongst them. So, if you have come to the place where you have decided there is no other alternative to divorce, there are two ways you can get a divorce in Pennsylvania- Fault (Contested) or No-Fault (Uncontested or Non-Contested). The No-Fault process can be as simple as filling out a Complaint For Divorce and Marital Settlement Agreement, legal documents easily obtained, and filing them with the proper District Court of jurisdiction to hear the cause. Pennsylvania permits No-Fault divorce when the two spouses have mutual consent, and when the marriage is considered irretrievably broken.  Providing you and your spouse can amiably agree on the terms of the divorce about your finances, assets, and children, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive. In the event you are divorcing because your spouse has put you at imminent harm, a No-Fault divorce is probably not practical, but if there are other reasons you seek a dissolution of marriage, doesn’t it stand to reason, you should try and obtain a No-Fault divorce?

There are many reasons two people who have been married a while may not be able to amiably and maturely come to terms involving finances, assets, and children. In the event this happens, and it often does, there exists a real possibility for a contested divorce. When it does happen, you can present your case before a judge. If you select a Fault divorce, it may be wise to be legally represented. In addition to the No-Fault reasons for divorce, Pennsylvania permits Fault divorce on grounds of: committing willful and malicious desertion, and absence from the habitation of the injured and innocent spouse, without a reasonable cause, for the period of one or more years; committing adultery; by cruel and barbarous treatment, endangering the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse; knowingly entering into a bigamous marriage while a former marriage is still subsisting; having been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two or more years upon conviction of having committed a crime; and offfering such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome. One of these issues have to be stated in the Complaint for Divorce as the reason the petitioner is wanting to end the marriage. Many times, these stated reasons for divorce are value based, and in a state where the results of a divorce are public record, the participants are open to public scrutiny and sometimes ridicule. Therefore, in a contested trial, the legal outcome is of utmost importance, and you may want to consider consulting with a divorce attorney.

Regardless of the decision concerning divorce you may have to make, there are divorce lawyers in Pennsylvania who can help you when it comes to divorce law. So, if you are considering a divorce, please contact us and we will help you find the divorce attorney in your area that is more than willing to help you make the legal decisions that are right for you.

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