FAQ What should I do if served with a divorce complaint? If you are served with a PA divorce complaint, you should IMMEDIATELY contact an experienced family law attorney for a consultation. If you fail to respond to the complaint, a divorce decree may be entered without your consent and your legal rights to support or division of marital assets may be waived. Service is accomplished when you sign the green certificate of service or if you receive a regular mail letter accompanied by an acceptance of service form that you sign and return to the attorney for the plaintiff. In either case, signing of the green form or completing the Affidavit of Service only signifies that the you have received a copy of the Divorce Complaint, not that you agree with the statements in the complaint or wish to be divorced. If you immediately contact Mooney & Associates, experienced Family law attorneys, we will meet with you at one of our local offices between 5 PM and 7 PM that same day to discuss your options. Our service is 2nd to none from the beginning of this life changing event to its conclusion in order to plan for the best possible outcome for your future. What should I do prior to separating from my spouse? If you believe you may separate from your spouse, it is very important that you plan and prepare. You must make a copy of all important financial documents such as tax returns, retirement accounts, loan documents, lease documents, checking and saving accounts and more. You should IMMEDIATELY arrange for a consultation with an experienced family law attorney who will give you further advice as to how to prepare for your specific circumstance. A separation can negatively impact on child custody, spousal support, child support and other family law matters so you need professional advice form a family law attorney before making that critical decision. If you contact Mooney & Associates, experienced in advising clients in all areas of family law, you will be able to determine the best strategy to protect your future. Their attorneys will meet with you at a convenient local office on a day and at a time that you choose. Calling Mooney & Associates will allow you to make the right decision to plan the strategy that best protects your interests. Do I need to hire a Family Law attorney? It is not a good idea for you to file a divorce complaint or answer to a divorce complaint without having had a detailed consultation with an experienced family law attorney first. The low cost companies (or low cost law firms) who will do this paperwork do not have knowledge of how to apply the law to your specific circumstances and may fail to raise claims or defenses to claims that will be forever lost. Also there is a strategy in when it is the appropriate time to file a complaint such as to maximize length of support that will not be in your best legal interest if ignored. Our firm has been actively practicing Family Law for over 30 years and we have the experience you need to protect your (and your children) for the future. Contact us for a convenient consultation today at any of our local offices in south central PA. Although our consultations are not free because our knowledge will be very valuable to you, if you choose to retain our services at the initial consultation, which precludes the other side from hiring us to proceed against you, we will waive the cost of the initial consultation. Although it is impossible to determine in advance the total cost of the entire representation which depends on the complexity of the case and whether it will be resolved by agreement or litigation, we will thoroughly explain the court costs, the range of expenses to be expected along with our billing procedure to be used during our representation of you. Must fault be proven to obtain a PA divorce decree? No. All counties in PA including Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry, and York adopted a no-fault ground for divorce in 1980. Pennsylvania no-fault divorces can be finalized any time after ninety (90) days has expired after the date the PA divorce complaint is filed and served on the defendant and both spouses sign the Affidavit of Consent. If either spouse refuses to sign the consent, a divorce decree cannot be entered until two (2) years have expired from the date of separation. In most cases, even if fault grounds exist, they are not pursued. Most fault based grounds for PA divorces are based upon adultery or abandonment of the marriage without just cause. Adultery and fault may be used as a defense to the payment of money to the spouse for spousal support. If you are considering a divorce or separation which is a major life changing event, it is very important that you get advice from an experienced family law attorney rather than relying on friend and family. If you contact Mooney & Associates, they will help you with understanding every step of the procedure while always protecting your interest. What is equitable distribution? Equitable Distribution is the legal term for division of your marital assets and marital debts as part of a PA divorce action. Marital assets and debts are those assets and debts that have been acquired from the date of marriage until the date of separation, except those assets and debts excluded by prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement or acquired by gift from someone other than the spouse or by inheritance which are not comingled with marital assets and debts. You will need an experience family law attorney to help you analyze the financial issues in your divorce case in order to protect your assets for your future. The experienced attorneys at Mooney & Associates will help you determine which assets and debts are marital, the valuation of the marital assets and debts and will fight for the fair distribution of the marital property and debts. Financial issues in divorce as well as support are complex and include income calculations and valuations involving properties and sometimes family businesses. Mooney & Associates has years of experience in these calculations that will be needed to protect your future.