One of the first decisions that must be made when deciding how to proceed with your Beaver County divorce is choosing between fault-based divorce and no-fault divorce. Fault-based divorce means that you have to prove one of fault grounds to have the divorce be allowed to proceed. The fault-based divorce grounds include adultery, abandonment, cruelty, bigamy, conviction with imprisonment for over two years, and actions that make the marriage intolerable. No fault divorce means that you file and assert the "irretrievable breakdown" of the marriage, meaning that the marriage is broken beyond repair. In this type of divorce, neither party has to prove fault.
As a general rule, we advise our clients to strongly consider filing a no fault divorce. There are several reasons why. First, Pennsylvania is a "no fault" state and fault-based divorces are becoming increasingly rare. That is related to the fact that fault-based divorce take a lot of time and money. In order to pursue a fault-based divorce, both parties must go into a hearing wherein a Judge or Master listens to testimony and has to decide whether enough fault was proven to grant the divorce. This takes time to prepare and attend, and the other party can raise defenses to fault that, if proven, can prevent the divorce from being granted.
No-fault divorce, on the other hand, does not require this time-consuming and frequently emotionally draining process. Parties can consent to the divorce, which is the fastest and least costly method of resolving the divorce. If one party does not consent, PA law requires a 2 year separation (starting with the "date of separation") before the divorce can proceed.
You may wonder why people would choose to have a fault-based divorce, when the other option is cheaper and less emotionally-draining. The reason is, that in cases in which there is very strong proof of fault, and one party will not agree to the divorce, then a fault-based divorce can be faster than waiting for the 2 year separation. It is, however, very rare that people choose fault-based divorces because of the expense and added emotional aggravation.
Contact our Beaver Divorce Lawyers today to discuss how to proceed with filing your divorce!