Can the court order an attempt at reconciliation before divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2022 | Family Law |

In Pennsylvania, divorce can be complicated. Of course, in some cases, people are somewhat amicable and simply want to move forward with the process and end the marriage. In others, they are in dispute over a litany of issues. Regardless, there will be emotional and challenging moments from the start. People who are getting a divorce and are under the impression that they simply need to say the marriage is irretrievably broken should understand that there is no guarantee that the court will immediately agree that the marriage cannot be saved. According to the law, the process could be delayed if there is a perceived chance at reconciliation. This and other factors in a divorce based on irretrievable breakdown should be known.

Irretrievable breakdown and the potential for reconciliation

There are several reasons why people can ask for and get a divorce in Pennsylvania. If, for example, one spouse was unfaithful, adultery can be referenced as a justification to end the marriage. Other reasons include cruel treatment; bigamy; one spouse being imprisoned for at least two years for a crime; or if the marriage was intolerable with a burdensome life for the spouse who wants to divorce. With irretrievable breakdown, all the couple needs to do is to have lived separately for at least one year or the defendant does not refute allegations made in the affidavit or denies one but the parties have lived separately for that one year.

The court can delay granting the divorce if it believes the couple can reconcile. This can be done even if the parties say the marriage is irretrievably broken. The delay will last for at least 90 days and for as long as 120 days. The couple can ask for the time to be extended if they too think there is a chance to save the marriage. The court can order that the couple take part in counseling. Once the time has elapsed and the sides say the marriage is still irretrievably broken, the court can again assess the case and make its determination. If it agrees, it will approve of the divorce.

Having experienced advice can be essential throughout the divorce process

Divorce has many factors that can add to its complexity. From spousal support to child custody to parenting plans and property division, there are many areas which can be in dispute. Most people are likely not expecting there to be a delay in the divorce because the court thinks there is a chance for reconciliation. Still, it is possible. For this and any other factor that could come up and complicate matters, it is important to have professional assistance from the start.

 

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