West Chester, PA 19380
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Josh represented me for my divorce, and I could not have been more pleased with the outcome and the guidance provided. His calm approach and confidence helped me make it through a really hard time.
Mr. Janis handled my custody case with professionalism and sincerity. I thank him and his office for the help they provided me.
Josh was terrific. Very helpful and made us more comfortable that the issue could be dealt with effectively.
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While many divorces are the result of marriages simply collapsing over times, others are the result of a specific act or acts after which marriage cannot and should not continue. Those acts include infidelity, domestic violence and desertion. When one spouse is to blame for a marriage falling apart, an at-fault divorce may be the best option to move forward.
If you believe an at-fault divorce might be the best option for you, or if your spouse is pursuing an at-fault divorce against you, discuss it with the dedicated West Chester divorce lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices. Our attorneys will carefully examine the facts of your case and advise you on the wisest way forward. We use a team approach, pooling our experience together, and will aggressively protect your interests in whatever situation you're in.
Call us today at (877) 529-2422 to schedule a free consultation to go over the details of your case. We represent spouses in at-fault divorces in Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Lancaster County and throughout Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Our firm maintains convenient locations across the region to better assist you in West Chester, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, and Radnor.
Fault in Pennsylvania Divorce Cases
Traditionally, a divorce has required specific bad behavior that give the court reason to grant one of the spouses a divorce against the other. No-fault divorce was instituted in Pennsylvania in 1980, removing the requirement to prove mistreatment or bad acts to obtain a divorce. However, at-fault divorce remains an option.
To obtain an at-fault divorce, the filing spouse must make one of several allegations that his or her spouse committed a certain bad act or mistreated him or her in some way. The most common is adultery. If Spouse A is unfaithful to Spouse B, Spouse B may be able to obtain an at-fault divorce against Spouse A. However, to use adultery as grounds for divorce, Spouse B cannot have been unfaithful himself or herself. Also, if Spouse B has sex with Spouse A after finding out about Spouse A's adultery, Spouse B can no longer allege adultery as grounds for divorce. Also, if the alleged adulterous act was Spouse A's prostitution and Spouse B allowed it or profited from it, or if it was when the spouses were involved in a threesome or other consensual act involving others, then adultery cannot be used as grounds.
Another common reason for at-fault divorce is domestic violence. The law holds that, if by cruel and barbarous treatment, one spouse endangers the health or life of his or her spouse, it is grounds for divorce. An at-fault divorce is often a necessary path for domestic violence cases. The victim will likely want to get the divorce as quickly as possible for his or her own safety.
If Spouse A willfully and malicious deserts Spouse B for at least a year without reasonable cause, Spouse B may seek an at-fault divorce. If Spouse A either marries someone else or was married to someone else when he or she married Spouse B, thereby committing bigamy, Spouse B has grounds for an at-fault divorce. If Spouse A is sentenced to two or more years in prison, Spouse B can file for an at-fault divorce.
Last, it is grounds for an at-fault divorce under Pennsylvania law if one spouse offers "such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse's condition intolerable and life burdensome." This is not very specific, but can generally be interpreted to mean that one spouse was acting in a way so that the other could no longer stand it. Often, these situation can be best resolved in a no-fault divorce.
Reasons to Seek an At-Fault Divorce in Chester County
An at-fault divorce is usually more difficult to obtain than a no-fault divorce. In a no-fault divorce, if there is mutual consent for the divorce between the spouses, there will typically not even be a hearing required. By its very nature, an at-fault divorce pits the two spouses against each other. One must make allegations against the other and prove those allegations with evidence.
Sometimes, an at-fault divorce may be necessary. For a no-fault divorce when the other spouse refuses to give consent for the divorce, the couple must live apart for two years before the court will grant a divorce. If the spouse refuses to consent and there is reason to proceed as quickly as possible, like there is domestic violence involved or the spouse is subjecting the other to severe financial liability, an at-fault divorce may be the best option.
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we will advise you on what is the best option to meet your needs. We will always advise against seeking an at-fault divorce out of anger, no matter how justified the anger might be. If you decide to seek an at-fault divorce, though, we will be your aggressive, tough advocates, seeking to get you the best results possible.
We can also defend your interests if your spouse seeks an at-fault divorce against you. Your spouse could seek to blame you for things that aren't your fault, or for which you have valid defenses. We'll be on your side during this difficult time.
Ciccarelli Law Offices | Chester County Fault-Based Divorce Attorney
Whether you're seeking a divorce with fault, or your spouse has filed a fault divorce against you, the West Chester at-fault divorce lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices will fight for your interests and advise you on your best options. We represent spouses in even the most complex divorces in Downingtown, Phoenixville, Landenberg, Villanova, Norristown, Media, Ardmore, Swarthmore, Newtown Square, and surrounding areas. Call us today at (877) 529-2422 or send an online message to set up a free consultation to go over your case.