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Emotional Roller Coaster of a Divorce

Divorce can be one of the most devastating events in a person’s life. It adversely affects either spouse to some degree, even if the one spouse wants the divorce. A divorce is like a death; it is a death of a marriage and both husband and wife go through a grieving process as if they were grieving the death of a loved one. They go through disbelief, a sense of loss, sadness, anger, and possible anxiety and depression.

The stages of the death of a marriage can make it very difficult to focus on the demands of the divorce process, once the divorce is filed and negotiations begin. The different aspects of the divorce can be spousal and/or child support, equitable distribution, child custody, what to do if both people still live in the home, etc. Finalizing the divorce itself can be daunting if the emotions are still very raw.

The divorce process is not a speedy process, and there are mandatory waiting periods in many states, including Pennsylvania for no-fault divorce. The waiting periods enable individuals to deal with some of the emotions of the separation and to be able to gather their thoughts and to make decisions on what they want in the divorce. In Pennsylvania, there is a 90 day waiting period for a consensual no-fault divorce, called a 3301(c) and a two year waiting period for a no-fault divorce wherein on person does not consent to the divorce; a 3301(d) divorce. A divorce will take longer than these waiting periods suggest, but these mandatory waiting periods help the individual deal with the loss of the marriage and to focus on what is important to protect the individual’s interest.

An attorney is very important in helping an individual through a divorce, especially given the emotional roller coaster that the individual is on during the divorce process. An attorney can provide objective insight into distribution of assets, child custody, support, alimony, and whether or not to proceed with a fault or no-fault divorce. The attorney is also able to answer the myriad of questions an individual has during the divorce process. The attorney can be the stabilizing element during the emotional roller coaster of a divorce.


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The Pennsylvania court may decide to order both spouses to attend an orientation for mediation or counseling. Mediation may resolve issues outside of court. The court tells the parties what issues need to be addressed in the sessions (for example, child custody, child support or division of property). The court cannot order mediation if there have been any allegations of domestic violence or child abuse within the past two years.
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