If you're reading this, we know that life right now is stressful. You may be angry, upset, depressed - all of these. You may be feeling lonely or scared. We know how you feel and we know how to help. Facing a divorce is one of the most difficult and emotional times of your life. We are here to counsel and advise you as you navigate this difficult time. You are a ball of emotions, and we provide the legal guidance to get you through.

Our job is to take the guesswork and uncertainty and provide concrete options and solutions you can lean on to make this transition manageable. We work with you to not only help you with the complex legal issues and court processes but provide compassionate counsel and advice because we know this is not just an emotional divorce - it is a financial one. We know how to assist you to make the decisions that are best for you. And we know when it makes sense to talk with financial and other professionals to assist in making the decisions regarding your marital property so you can be completely informed. 


Pennsylvania has two ways to establish grounds to obtain a divorce - Fault Based - like a spouse being accused of infidelity or abuse; and No-Fault - where the parties agree the marriage is irretrievably broken or the parties have been separated for over a year. Despite these two ways of obtaining a divorce, fault based divorces are largely never used anymore. Legally, when grounds for a no-fault divorce exist the Court is not even allowed to entertain grounds for a fault-based divorce. This is why most if not all divorces today are No-fault divorces. But this is just one component of the divorce and probably the least important. For most people, the most difficult, stressful, and important part of their case is the financial aspects, or "economic claims" in the divorce. 


The "economic claims" portion of a divorce are division of the marital estate - which includes assets and debts of the couple acquired during the marriage, which are then subject to "equitable distribution"; alimony which is a form of spousal support and attorneys fees and costs. 

Equitable Distribution:

In Pennsylvania the marital property is not automatically divided equally (50/50). It is "equitably" divided. Equitable does not mean equal - While many cases are resolved by dividing property 50/50 as many people's sense of equitable is equal or they feel it is "fair" but under the law there are multiple factors (see Pennsylvania equitable distribution factors) which a court would consider in deciding how to divide marital property. These are also the factors spouses and their attorneys will consider when negotiating an agreement (sometimes called a post-nuptial agreement, marital settlement agreement or property settlement agreement) to avoid the necessity of court intervention. 

The marital estate (assuming the parties do not have a pre-nuptial agreement) includes all property (assets) and debts (or liabilities) from the date the parties were married until the parties separated. There are some exceptions to this general rule which you can discuss with one of our attorneys during a consultation. It does not matter whose name the property is in, whose account it is etc... If it was acquired during the marriage - it is marital - some exceptions are gifts from third parties to one spouse specifically and inheritances that are kept separate. In the eyes of the law when you get married, you and your spouse become a single entity, like a corporation. And when you get divorced you are separating all the assets of that entity between the separating partners.  For many, this may include a house, retirement accounts, savings and checking accounts, vehicles, and your "personal property" - all your "stuff" - like furniture and TVs. 


There are essentially three types of support one spouse pays to another (not including child support). These are spousal support, alimony pendente lite (APL) and alimony. While these all involve one spouse paying another they have slightly different aspects and reasons. You can basically think of spousal support as before anyone files for divorce - support that would be paid during separation. Once a party files for a divorce typically the support being paid would be alimony pendent lite or alimony pending the litigation (commonly referred to simply as APL) and alimony - which is what most people think of - that is paying an ex-spouse support after they are divorced. Alimony is what is considered rehabilitative not punitive. Meaning - the support is intended to help the receiving spouse transition from their married life and financial standing to their new single life. There are various factors a court considers in determining how much the alimony will be and for how long it will be paid. Contact Gibson Law Group to speak with an alimony lawyer today. 


Our Lancaster divorce attorneys can provide a consultation to discuss the specifics of your case and how to proceed. Call 717-344-5525 or contact us.

You can also review our Preparing for Divorce Page

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At Gibson Law Group, we focus on Child Custody, Divorce, Alimony, Child Support, Adoption, and Wills and we are here to listen to you and help you navigate the legal system.

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Gibson Law Group is committed to answering your questions about Child Custody, Divorce, Alimony, Child Support, Adoption and Wills in Pennsylvania.

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