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Divorce and Separation

Divorce and Separation

There are few things more disruptive in your life than facing separation or divorce. It affects every aspect of your life and should not be taken lightly. If you've not done so already, L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire — Attorney at Law, encourages you to pursue every option available, including counseling, to avoid ending your marriage, particularly if you have children.

Whether you're thinking about separation and divorce or you've exhausted every option and want to talk to an attorney as a last resort, I'll be happy to explain how the process works and discuss divorce, property division, and alimony, among other things. We can discuss strategies for obtaining a successful resolution and answer any questions you have.

Five Things to Know or Do When Separated or Considering Divorce

Please contact L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire — Attorney at Law, if you would like to get some additional information or answers to your questions.

  • Legal Separation – There is no legal separation in Pennsylvania. Rather, separation occurs when you stop living as husband and wife. Often this is obvious – one spouse moves out of the house. However, you can be separated and live in the same house. Under most circumstances, we can reach an agreement on when the separation occurred.
  • No-Fault Divorce – While PA still has fault divorce, most people pursue a No-Fault Divorce. A divorce case is started by filing a Complaint for Divorce with the court. There are two ways to get a divorce:
    • By consent – If both parties consent to the divorce, you wait 90 days after the divorce complaint is served, both spouses sign Affidavits of Consent, and you have grounds for divorce.
    • One year separation – If one spouse will not consent to the divorce, then the spouse who wants the divorce must wait one year from the date of separation if the separation occurred on or after December 5, 2016. If the separation occurred before December 5, 2016, then you must wait two years. At that point, you can get a divorce without the consent of the other spouse.
  • "Simple" Divorce – Often, a client will call and tell me that they want a "simple" divorce which usually means they believe the divorce will be uncontested and property issues are resolved. To be clear, divorce is rarely, if ever, simple; there is too much at stake. If you contact me about your divorce, I will meet with you and do a complete review of your situation to ensure your rights are protected. We will then discuss your options and come up with a plan that puts you in the best position as you get ready to pursue your new life.
  • Should you move out of the house? – One question I often get when meeting with a new client is whether they should move out of the house. The answer is – it depends. If the house is in both names, then you have a legal right to stay in the house, even if you're the one who wants the divorce. Obviously, things are rarely that simple. There may be reasons to leave (maintaining peace for the children), but there are usually reasons to stay (not losing control of a significant asset). It's important that we sit down and review your entire situation and devise a strategy to ensure that your rights are protected both now and down the road if a divorce action is actually filed.
  • It's important to get copies of all important documents. If you're separated, or thinking about getting separated, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure you have copies of all documents related to your assets and financial situation. These include things like:
    • Bank account statements.
    • Documents regarding debts
    • Retirement account statements
    • Loan statements
    • Investments
    • Deeds, titles to vehicles, and the like

This list is not exhaustive; err on the side of being overly thorough. You'll need this information, and getting it before you leave is easier than getting it from your spouse later.

Finding the Right Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney

At L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire — Attorney at Law, we've offered estate planning, elder law, family law, and business law to help people prepare for accidents, illnesses, or death for over 30 years. Contact our estate planning law firm if you need an estate planning attorney or divorce lawyer in Media, Pennsylvania. I serve clients in Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, Berks, and Bucks counties and cities, including Philadelphia, Media, Norristown, and West Chester.

Contact Me Today

L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire, Attorney at Law is an attorney you can trust to answer your questions, advise you on your rights, help you take the steps necessary to get the situation successfully resolved and if need be, to aggressively defend your rights in court.

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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