Divorce Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get legally separated in Pennsylvania?

There is no “legal separation” in Pennsylvania; rather, you are married until the divorce decree is entered.  Separation, however, is a legal concept that affects certain financial considerations of a divorce.  Generally, the date of separation will be the date you and your spouse begin living separate lives, whether or not you still physically live together.  The date of separation can have a significant impact on the distribution of assets and other considerations in a divorce.  It is important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to learn how the date of separation is defined in your case and what specific impact it will have on you.

Will I get alimony?

In Pennsylvania, alimony is not automatic.  Rather, the judge will look at various factors to decide whether alimony is appropriate in a specific case.  Some of those factors are: the income or earning capabilities of each party, the length of the marriage and the standard of living established during the marriage.

How much does it cost to get divorced?

It depends.  The cost of a divorce depends on the cooperation of the parties, the complexity of the assets to be divided and a variety of other factors.    

How long does it take to get divorced?

It will take a minimum of 90 days from the date the complaint is served on the other party to finalize the divorce.  The law does not allow the divorce to be finalized before that 90 days expires.  However, most divorces take longer than 90 days.  It is advised that the financial settlement be worked out prior to the finalization of the divorce.  When parties are not cooperating and/or the assets are complicated or need to be valued by some other professional, the divorce proceeding can take much longer.

Can I change my name back to my maiden name?

Yes.  You can elect to resume a prior name as soon as a divorce action is filed.  There is a modest filing fee associated with this filing.

What if my spouse does not want to get divorced?

If one party does not agree to the divorce, virtually nothing will occur for one year after the date of separation.  After one year, the party seeking the divorce can request that the process be moved along through the court system, even without the consent of the other party.

 Does it matter if my spouse cheated on me?

Most Pennsylvania divorce actions are filed under the no-fault section of the statute, making adultery almost irrelevant as it relates to the division of assets.  It could be considered in determining alimony.

Will everything be divided 50/50?

Not necessarily.  Pennsylvania law requires that the marital assets be divided “equitably.”  To determine this “equitable distribution,” the court will look at a variety of factors specified in the law and make a distribution that is “fair.”


Note: These are all general answers.  In almost every case, there are specifics of a situation that will complicate the result in a divorce action.  Divorce situations are incredibly personal and individual.  It is important to have a knowledgeable attorney guide you through this process and to answer all of your divorce questions.   Contact The Law Office of Angela Flouras Rieck for your questions about divorce in Lancaster County, PA.