Media Divorce Lawyer
Barbara Flum Stein & Associates is by your side every step of the way in your Pennsylvania divorce. From our office in Media, we help clients throughout Delaware County navigate the legal dissolution of marriage with their rights, dignity and best interests intact. From the negotiating table to the courtroom, our experienced Media divorce lawyer is fighting for you, providing sound, practical advice, and helping you reach your goals.
Procedures for Divorce under Pennsylvania Law
The first step in obtaining a divorce is to file a petition or complaint. This complaint can be filed in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where either the husband or wife reside, or where the marital domicile was. Either the husband or wife must have been a Pennsylvania resident for six months prior to filing.
There are three ways a divorce can be filed in Pennsylvania:
No Fault – If both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, then a spouse can file on the grounds of mutual consent. The judge can finalize the divorce as soon as 90 days from the time the complaint is filed, although the process will take longer if the couple do not agree on all the matters that need to be decided in the divorce.
No Mutual Agreement – If only one spouse believes the marriage is irretrievably broken, that spouse can file for divorce only after the couple have been living separate and apart for at least two years if the separation began before December 5th, 2016, or one year if the separation began on or after December 5th, 2016.
Fault – A divorce can be filed if one spouse alleges that the other spouse is at fault in the breakdown of the marriage. The filing spouse must be able to prove the presence of one of many statutory grounds for a fault-based divorce, such as adultery, desertion or cruelty.
After filing for divorce, the complaint must be served on the other party, who has an opportunity to respond. The court may order the couple into mediation to resolve the outstanding issues in the divorce. If the parties cannot work out their differences through mediation or a negotiated marital settlement agreement, then the parties will enter into litigation, and the judge will decide these issues following a hearing in court. The most common issues which must be determined in a Pennsylvania divorce include:
Property Division – All marital property (assets and debts acquired by either spouse during marriage) must be divided between the divorcing spouses. The judge looks at a variety of factors to determine what type of division will be fair to both spouses. This is known as an equitable distribution of marital property. We can help by ensuring that all property is located, properly characterized as marital or separate, and accurately valued.
Child Custody – The judge determines both physical custody (which parent the child lives with) and legal custody (which parent makes decisions that affect the child). Custody can be shared (joint custody) or given exclusively to one parent (sole custody). In shared custody, one parent may have a greater share of the custody (primary custody) than the other parent (partial custody). Barbara Flum Stein is a skilled litigator and staunch advocate for your rights as a parent and the best interests of your children.
Child Support – The non-custodial parent or parent with partial custody will typically be ordered to pay an amount of monthly child support to the parent with sole or primary custody. A statutory formula is used to set the amount, although the judge may deviate from the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines as appropriate. We can help ensure that income is reported correctly for a proper guideline amount, or argue for or against a deviation from the guidelines as needed.
Spousal Support – Spousal support and alimony may be ordered before, during or after a divorce. The judge considers a variety of factors, including marital misconduct, in deciding whether to award alimony and if so, how much and for how long. We provide skilled and effective advocacy for clients seeking or opposing an alimony award.
Get Representation from an Experienced & Successful Media Divorce Lawyer
Barbara Flum Stein & Associates provides advice and representation in no-fault and fault-based divorces in Pennsylvania, as well as assistance in post-divorce matters such as modification and enforcement of domestic relations orders. If you are contemplating divorce in Delaware County, or if you have been served with divorce papers, call Barbara Flum Stein & Associates at 610-565-6100 to speak with an experienced and dedicated Media divorce lawyer.