How is Custody Addressed in a No Fault Divorce?

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“How would I go about a no fault divorce (Pennsylvania) that does not address custody? (I do not want the courts to decide custody, but I am not ready to come to an agreement with my spouse.) I do, however, wish to divorce as soon as possible; my spouse is an abuser and I want to send a clear message that the relationship has no chance of being reconciled.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

The Court is going to take jurisdiction over everything. Property, debts, custody, visitation, etc. You will need to list the children of the marriage in the Complaint. Sooner or later you are going to have to deal with issues related to your children, and if you and your soon-to-be-ex don’t come to an agreement, the Court will decide for you.

Within the Pennsylvania Code relating to Domestic Relations, Title 23, SubchapterB, Section 3323(b) the Court has the power to bifurcate certain parts of its decision. Bifurcation proceedings vary from State to State so consult a local attorney, but it may be possible to bifurcate the issue of marital status, get a judgment on that issue, while not directly dealing with other aspects of your case. You may be able to delay the inevitable, though I have often found that delay does not make things better.

If the facts surrounding the abuse rise to the level of “restraining order” then that may be another avenue open to you to send your clear message that the relationship has no chance of being reconciled. Otherwise, and usually, there will be nothing preventing ongoing interaction between you and your soon-to-be-ex. Additionally, since there are children involved, you and the ex will need to deal with each other on some level until the youngest of your children turns 18 and graduates from high school.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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