If you have just started your divorce journey, you’re likely gathering information. Independent research and advice from family and friends can be useful at this time. However, hearsay can create false knowledge, which doesn’t help anyone. At our firm, we work hard to ensure our clients are as well informed as possible. That often means dispelling Pennsylvania divorce myths. Below are a few myths we often clear up at our initial consultation with new clients.
Couples Must Divorce in their Marriage State
Spouses do NOT have to divorce in the state in which they were married. Under Pennsylvania law, a couple can file for divorce where either the husband or the wife has resided for the last six months. For example, if your wedding was in California but you moved to Philadelphia a year ago, you could file in Philadelphia.
Property in One Spouse’s Name Solely Belongs to that Spouse
In Pennsylvania, the law divides marital assets and debts through a principle called equitable distribution. That means property and debts are not always equally divided. Instead, the goal is to achieve an equitable division of property.
Couples Must Attend Counseling Before Divorce
Counseling is voluntary and not a court requirement. Each couple is different. If counseling is beneficial to both spouses, it can certainly help in the long run. However, if one party is not willing to attend the meetings, it can be very unproductive.
Moms Have a Better Chance at Getting Custody
Custody has nothing to do with the gender of parents. Pennsylvania courts award custody after examining a variety of factors and assessing a child’s best interest. Sometimes, the court can consider what is called the “tender years doctrine” which states that when a child is an infant, if the parties are of equal stature as parents, some deference can be given to the mother. Overall, the court likes to encourage equal involvement and access to both parents.
Divorce is Always Expensive
Divorce does not always have to be expensive. Adequate preparation, knowledge of your goals, and an experienced divorce lawyer can ensure the process is efficient. You may hit road blocks from other party, but as long as you stay on track, you can keep costs relatively low.
If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, we can give you the information you need to more forward. We welcome you to contact our firm for advice.