That is my favorite Taylor Swift song. With all due compliments to Ms. Swift, when my clients come to see me, there are not all in the same place emotionally. Some of them absolutely know they want to be divorced. Others are devastated to find out that their spouse wants a divorce. Still others are not sure and want to know their rights.A common question is, if I don't want the divorce, can I stop it? The short answer? No. The Divorce Code in Pennsylvania allows the court to grant a divorce even if it is one-sided. There are two types of no-fault divorces in Pennsylvania, 3301(c) and 3301(d) (referring to the sections in the Divorce Code). With 3301(c), usually both people want the divorce and it can be granted in as little as 4-6 months if all goes smoothly. There is a ninety (90) day "cooling off period", and then the final divorce paperwork submitted to a Judge. This usually happens only when there is no property, no children, and there are no issues with service or mail. It is more likely that it would take several months to a year. With 3301(d), only one person wants the divorce, and he or she must wait out the two (2) year separation period. This is a waiting period and the time drags out even longer if there is property to divide and no agreement on how to divide it. When this occurs, you must ask the court to assist you in dividing your property and/or deciding if alimony is warranted.
The practical effect of the two year separation period and court intervention is that your divorce won't be granted right away and can be delayed for several years. Eventually, however, your time is up and the court will divide your property and issue the divorce decree, whether you like it or not. Doesn't it make sense to try to settle your property division outside of court, to save time, money and agita? Choose your family law attorney carefully. You want someone who has court experience but who also has a good record for settling outside of court.