Experienced Easton, PA Divorce Lawyer Manages the Details
Meticulous representation protects your parental and property rights
If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, there are numerous issues you and your spouse must resolve before the court will finalize your divorce. But at the moment, you’re probably not in the best frame of mind, nor do you have the legal knowledge, to make important decisions that will have a significant, longstanding impact on your future. Fortunately, Richard J. Shiroff in Easton is available to help. For more than 35 years, I have provided trustworthy divorce counsel to clients in Northampton, Lehigh and Carbon counties. I give personalized attention throughout the divorce process, with detailed advice directed toward your specific circumstances, and determined representation that protects your rights.
Your options for getting divorced in Pennsylvania
To get divorced in the Keystone State, either you or your spouse must have been a resident here for at least six months prior to filing. You can file with the court in the county where either you or your spouse resides.
Pennsylvania law gives you a choice of filing on traditional grounds or filing no-fault. When you cite grounds for divorce, you accuse your spouse of marital misconduct that has led to the breakdown of the marriage. These grounds include:
- Desertion — Your spouse has abandoned the home without a reasonable cause for one or more years.
- Adultery — Your spouse has had sexual relations with another person. The court may consider this issue when deciding whether to award alimony.
- Cruel and barbarous treatment — Your spouse has treated you in a way that puts your life or health at risk.
- Bigamy — Your spouse married another person while married to you, so that second marriage is not valid, but you have grounds for divorce, or your spouse married you while legally married to another, so your marriage was never valid, and you are entitled to an annulment.
- Imprisonment — Your spouse is convicted of a crime and sentenced to two or more years.
- Indignities — Your spouse made your life intolerable.
- Insanity — Your spouse has been committed to a mental institution for at least 18 months.
If you allege grounds, you must be prepared to prove the misconduct with substantial evidence.
You also have two no-fault divorce options:
- Mutual consent — Both parties agree that the marital relationship is irretrievably broken and submit a signed affidavit stating as much. In cases where one spouse has committed a crime of personal injury against the other, the guilty spouse’s consent is presumed.
- Irretrievable breakdown — One party asserts that the marital relationship cannot be saved and the couple has lived apart for at least one year. The court can call for a continuance to delay finalizing the divorce if it believes that there is a chance that the couple could reconcile.
Deciding which divorce process to use is an important first step. To help you make the right choice for your circumstances, I give you the benefit of my more than 35 years of experience counseling parties to divorce.
Matters to resolve during divorce proceedings
Before the court issues a final divorce decree, you must resolve these major issues:
- Child custody — One or both parents must provide a residence for the children and make major decisions for their health and welfare.
- Child support — Pennsylvania law holds that children are entitled to material support from both parents. The commonwealth has guidelines to determine whether one parent must pay support to another.
- Alimony — In Pennsylvania, spousal support refers to amounts paid to a dependent spouse after a separation but prior to a divorce being filed. Alimony pendente lite is available for dependent spouses during the divorce process. Alimony after divorce depends on numerous factors, such as the length of the marriage and the age, health and earning ability of the spouses.
- Equitable distribution — Pennsylvania operates under the laws of equitable distribution, which means that the marital estate is divided in a manner that is fair but not necessarily equal.
There are many means of resolving these issues, such as traditional negotiation, the collaborative process and litigation in court. Whatever process you choose, I am prepared to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
Contact an experienced family law attorney in Easton for meticulous divorce representation
The outcome of your divorce depends heavily on the quality of your legal representation. Richard J. Shiroff is a family law attorney with more than 35 years of experience litigating Pennsylvania divorces. Call today at 610-253-1023 or contact me online to schedule your initial consultation. Richard J. Shiroff serves clients in Easton and Allentown and throughout Northampton, Lehigh and Carbon counties.