What Should I Do If Served With A Divorce Complaint?

Call us!

Don't delay!

Immediate action, to prevent the sale of assets, or the canceling of auto or life insurance policies or the changing of beneficiaries might be required. Assets might be hidden or given away and if you can prevent that from happening you will be better off. Educate yourself and the best way to do that is to call us at 724-437-2799 and schedule an appointment. The filing and serving of the divorce complaint starts the clock and you need to know your rights.

What If I Don't Want A Divorce?

Pennsylvania is a "no fault" divorce state and therefore the harsh reality is: you can delay but not prevent a divorce from being granted. You do have the right to seek counseling sessions through the court, and if both parties are willing to try a reconciliation may occur. If, however, one of the spouses truly wants and desires a divorce then, whether the other agrees or not, a divorce will be obtained. Call us to make sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly!

What Is The Role Of A Lawyer?

If you and your spouse are having marital problems, your lawyer can assist you in three areas. First, an attorney will advise you of your legal rights and duties. Second, he or she will help to bring about an agreeable settlement of the legal disputes that arise between you and your spouse as a result of separation or divorce. Finally, your lawyer is your representative in enforcing your rights in a court of law or in defending you if your spouse has filed an action.

Who Pays The Attorney's Fees?

The court has the power to award preliminary counsel fees to the dependent spouse. In addition, in the final order, after the property rights of the parties are determined, the court could direct the parties to pay their own costs and fees, or it may divide the costs and expenses equitably between the parties. Payment and recovery of costs and attorney's fees are matters to be discussed with your lawyer during the initial meeting.

What Is Legal Separation?

Technically, there is no such thing in Pennsylvania as a "legal separation." Separation simply means that you and your spouse no longer live together. Separation may occur by mutual consent or if one of you leave or is expelled from the home. Under some circumstances, you may be considered separated even though you and your spouse still live in the same residence.

What Happens To Real Estate We Own?

Most married couples own their real property as "tenants by the entireties." This form of joint ownership means that neither spouse can sell the property during the marriage without consent of the other. Upon divorce, however, unless the parties have a written agreement providing for the division of the property, the court has the power to divide the property based on equitable principles. This means that the court will take many factors into account when arriving at a fair division, although that does not mean that the property will be divided equally. The court takes into consideration both spouses' economic and noneconomic contributions to property acquired during the marriage. If neither you and your spouse nor the court divide the property, then the nature of your ownership automatically changes after divorce and you both become "tenants in common."

Who Owns The Household Goods?

Household items, such as drapes, carpets, furniture and appliances, are generally not titled in either spouse's name. Unless you can show a different intent, the law treats all such property as being jointly owned and used for the benefit of both spouses, regardless of who actually paid for it. As part of the divorce, the court may consider these things as marital property and distribute them accordingly.

What Will Be In The Final Court Order?

When the court issues a decree of divorce, the order may include other matters if they were raised in the proceeding by either spouse. These include disposition of marital property and other property interests; child custody and visitation; child support; alimony; and enforcement of agreements voluntarily entered into by the parties.

How Can I Help My Children?

Keep children out of the conflict! The problems should be worked out between you, your spouse and your attorneys, not through your children. Also, children often feel that they are the cause of the problems and must be reassured that this is not the case. These are very difficult times for you and your family. Do not be afraid to get help from family and friends or by asking your attorney for names of professional counselors or therapists.

Contact Us

If you have a child custody issue, we invite you to call the lawyers at Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law in Uniontown and throughout Fayette County at 724-437-2799, or use our online contact form to send us an email.