Pennsylvania has two main types of divorce, fault and no-fault, and either of those can be contested or uncontested. We have no automatic divorces, no matter what you may have heard or how long you have been separated. While it’s often be reported that if a couple has been separated for long enough a divorce cannot be contested, that’s completely inaccurate.
For example, if a husband left his wife yesterday but tells me today that they separated 10 years ago, do you not think the wife ought to have something to say about that and contest it? While it may seem far-fetched, it has been tried numerous times. A divorce is a lawsuit, and in the USA, when we are sued, we deserve and can have our day in court.
There are not many fault divorces filed these days in Pennsylvania. They have hearings and require that the filing party and lawyer go into court and tell the court what the other spouse has done. Things like indignities, cruel and barbarous treatment, adultery, desertion and the like. In an uncontested fault case, the plaintiff tells the court, in court at a hearing with a court stenographer typing out a permanent and public record of the testimony, about the defendant’s bad behavior and the defendant doesn’t even show up and the divorce is virtually always granted. Bear in mind that the defendant is notified about the hearing and could show up to contest it and do so without a lawyer. Even an uncontested fault divorce can be a couple of thousand dollars.
Most divorces that are contested, both fault and no-fault, are contested over money, realty (usually the family home) and the things which the parties own. A few are contested because one party wants to stay married, usually for personal or emotional reasons, sometime economic reasons, and even religious reasons.
Deciding to become divorced is a big step, but the right lawyer and process can help lessen the expense and stress. Once divorce is behind a person, it is virtually always a huge load off of one’s mind, soul and, eventually, heart.