In Pennsylvania, if a marriage is no longer working out, divorce may be the only viable alternative. In some cases, there are reasons for the couple to split such as adultery, abuse, abandonment or one spouse being incarcerated. Other cases, however, involve the parties simply no longer being able to get along and live together. In such cases, the easiest path to a divorce is to inform the court that there is an irretrievable breakdown and they want to end the marriage. Still, despite this being one of the simplest ways to divorce, there are rules involved. Understanding what the law says is imperative from the start and it is wise to have legal assistance.
How the court handles a divorce due to irretrievable breakdown
If a person requests a divorce due to irretrievable breakdown and an affidavit is provided stating that the couple has lived part for at least one year, the divorce can be granted if the defendant does not deny what is in the affidavit; or the defendant denies one or more allegations but after there has been a notice and hearing, the court concludes that they have lived separately for the required time-period and the marriage is irretrievably broken.
The divorce is not necessarily automatic. Even if there were hearings regarding these circumstances, the court can decide that the marriage could be salvaged. In that case, there will be a continuance for at least 90 days and for as many as 120 days where they will be ordered to undergo counseling. It can go beyond 120 days if the sides agree. After counseling, if the couple has not decided to reconcile and there is testimony given under oath that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court will again assess the case and determine if it cannot be saved. Once it agrees on the irretrievable breakdown, the divorce will be granted.
Getting a divorce may require experienced legal representation
For people who are thinking about divorce and are under the impression that a claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken will make it easy and quick, they may be in for a surprise. Having legal assistance can avoid problems that frequently arise with getting a divorce based on irretrievable breakdown. It can also be beneficial when dealing with alimony, custody, parenting time, property division and more. When considering ending a marriage, consulting with an experienced legal professional can be a wise step.