Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer in PA
Since 2014, gay and lesbian couples have legally been able to wed in the state of Pennsylvania thanks to a judge striking down a state ban on the unconstitutionality of same-sex marriages. The important issue for you now is whether the same-sex divorce has its own characteristics and follows the same process as the one followed by heterosexual couples over time.
Take the First Step
When you are ready to take the first step towards obtaining a same-sex divorce, Giribaldi & Manaras, P.C. is the Pennsylvania law firm you need to reach out to. We have plenty of experience with all areas of divorce and understand how difficult it may be for many couples to decide to move forward with a divorce, and the pain and anguish associated with that decision. Give us a call today, and let us hear your case and offer you the best legal guidance as to how to proceed.
Same-Sex Divorce Requirements
If you are part of a same-sex couple who wishes to attain a divorce in Pennsylvania, there are specific steps you must follow. According to Section 3301, Title 23 of the Pennsylvania law´s Consolidated Statutes, any person filing for divorce may only do so on fault-based grounds. This means that they must claim that they have been injured by the actions carried out by their spouse.
Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania
A court in Pennsylvania may grant a divorce to anyone who can prove that their spouse suffers insanity or mental health problems that have required that they be confined to a mental institution.
Additionally, grounds for divorce include:
- Having committed adultery
- Having willfully or maliciously deserted their spouse
- Having put in danger the life of their spouse
- Receiving a prison sentence of two years or longer
- Making life intolerable for their spouse
Is no-fault divorce possible for couples who have wed either on or out of Pennsylvania?
The Consolidated Statutes of Family Law of the state of Pennsylvania also allow for anyone seeking a divorce to do so without the need to list any of the grounds described above. In this case, the divorce would be referred to as a “no-fault” divorce.
What is a “no-fault” divorce?
A “no-fault” divorce in Pennsylvania means that the divorce may also be granted in cases where both parties have consented to this action. What they must do is prove that the marriage has been irretrievably broken. Also, 90 days must have passed since they filed for divorce.
How can you file for a “no-fault” divorce?
If you wish to obtain a “no-fault” divorce, one spouse should file an affidavit claiming that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that you have both lived apart for at least two years. The court will grant this action providing the defendant spouse does not deny any of the allegations.
What happens when the defendant spouse does deny the allegations in the affidavit?
Should the defendant spouse deny the allegations spelled out in the affidavit, the court still has the authority to grant the divorce if it believes that the allegations in the affidavit are true. It must say that the couple has lived apart for at least two years and confirm that the marriage is indeed irrevocably broken.
Another option for same-sex couples wishing to end their legal relationship is collaborative divorce. Also known as friendly divorce, this option allows couples to agree that the marriage has reached its end and must be terminated. Then, spouses and their attorneys negotiate a settlement that will spell out how their assets will be divided. There is no trial or hearing involved.
What about divorce for same-sex couples who wed outside of Pennsylvania?
Suppose you and your spouse were wed outside the state but have lived apart for one year within the limits of Pennsylvania. In that case, you are eligible to file immediately for a no-fault divorce since you are both considered residents of the state.
Other Issues that Same-Sex Couples Face
As with heterosexual couples wishing to obtain a divorce, same-sex couples must come to an agreement on several critical issues before their divorce is finalized. Among them:
It is well-known that most couples have a point of contention regarding alimony. To come to a decision, the duration of the marriage, age of the spouses, the standard of living they enjoyed while married, income, and other aspects must be factored in.
Payments for child support are generally awarded to the spouse who will retain primary custody of the children. Disagreements may surface when deciding the right amount.
Same-Sex Issues Regarding Child Support and Custody
Some same-sex couples find themselves in the unique situation of deciding to start a family before getting married. If a legally recognized relationship is not present, it might have been impossible for you to adopt your spouse’s child. If one parent was never able to adopt the child or children, it is almost impossible for the court to award parental rights or even basic visitation to the parent who is not biologically related to the child, having a devastating effect on the other parent.
Working with a divorce lawyer from Giribaldi & Manaras, P.C., is what you need to do if you find yourself in this situation. They may be able to find the legal way for you to maintain the close relationship with your children you have enjoyed until now.
The non-custodial parent wants to know what their parenting time will be, when, and for how many hours or days. One part of the couple or the other may not agree to how visitation rights have been spelled out.
Division of Property
It is important to know who brought what property into the marriage and what was acquired jointly. Deciding which spouse is entitled to what asset is a difficult point in any divorce agreement.
Work With an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Giribaldi & Manaras, P.C. is an established family law firm focusing on providing caring and compassionate legal guidance during the complex divorce process for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania. Our team of same-sex divorce lawyers will help you through the process of dissolving your marriage in Pennsylvania from beginning to end. We understand that one phase of your life might now be over, but a new one is about to start, and you want to close the door on that last chapter thoroughly and efficiently. When you set up your initial consultation with a lawyer, we will listen to you to understand the situation you are going through and advise you on the best way to proceed going forward.