Experienced Berks County Divorce Attorneys Who Understand You
Our Attorneys specialize in Family Law and are PA Divorce Law experts. Our top, proven Divorce Attorneys have 40 years’ experience successfully representing clients in Reading, PA and surrounding Berks County communities.
We understand divorce is one of the most difficult issues you and your family can face. That’s because:
- your future is uncertain;
- your family is disrupted and you worry about how the children will be affected;
- divorce issues and proceedings are complicated and making wrong decisions can have long-term negative effects; and
- finally, knowing where to seek competent legal help is difficult.
You’ve found the right place to get the help and reassurance you deserve to get through your divorce financially and mentally as good as possible. That’s because we…
- know what we’re doing. You won’t find more competent, experienced lawyers in Reading, Berks County or anywhere else in Pennsylvania;
- fight to get you the best possible divorce settlement;
- offer more than the competent Divorce Attorney you’re looking for because we…
- are a family and people-oriented law firm. We treat every client with the same dedication we would for a member of our family;
- provide the legal guidance and emotional support you’ll need to get through the divorce;
- explain complex legal issues to you using plain English;
- take as much time as you need to understand what’s going on and what comes next;
- never do anything to run up our bill; and
- very importantly, have a broad range of legal expertise. That’s important because divorce can affect things like Estate Planning and Wills that ordinary divorce lawyers might overlook.
In contrast, we also understand that some people feel their divorce is so straightforward they don’t need a Divorce Lawyer. They think they can everything they need from a self-help book or on the Internet. Well… maybe. Read all the information on this page. It’s obvious that “maybe” isn’t good enough. Overlooking critical issues now can cost you thousands in the future. Divorce is just too serious to not do it correctly. You should at the very least schedule a consultation with us to find out why they do or do not need a lawyer in order to intelligently weigh the risks.
We’ll begin by giving you an idea of Pennsylvania Divorce law.
Overview of PA Divorce Law
Our overview includes…
- PA Filing Requirements;
- Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania;
- Documents for Filing for Divorce;
- Counseling Requirements; and
- lastly, Alternatives to Divorce.
Divorce Filing Requirements in Pennsylvania
In order to file for divorce in Pennsylvania…
- At least one of the parties to the divorce must have been a PA resident for six months prior to the filing.
- The divorce proceedings may be brought in the county where the defendant lives.
- If the defendant is no longer living in Pennsylvania, the proceedings may be brought in the county where the plaintiff (the person filing the divorce action ) lives.
- If the plaintiff continues to reside in the county where they lived while married to the defendant, the proceedings may be brought in that county.
- Prior to six months after the final separation, proceedings may be brought in the county where the plaintiff resides if the defendant agrees.
- If neither plaintiff nor defendant lives in the county where they resided at the time of the marriage, the proceedings may be brought in the county where either of them now lives.
- Lastly, Six months after the final separation, proceedings may be brought where either plaintiff or defendant lives.
Now we’ll examine the types of Grounds for Divorce.
Grounds for Filing for Divorce in Pennsylvania
No-Fault (Mutual Consent) Divorce Filing
Divorce laws in PA allow for a no-fault divorce 90 days after filing if both parties have filed affidavits stating they agree to the divorce. This is called mutual consent. Both plaintiff and defendant consent that the marriage is irretrievably broken. No-fault filings are the most common type of divorce filing.
Fault Divorce Filing
If there is no mutual consent mutual consent that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may determine that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This can occur if the plaintiff and defendant have not lived together for two years. To prevail, the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s behavior led to the divorce. Grounds for a fault divorce include:
- abandonment for at least a year without cause;
- bigamy; and
- lastly, domestic violence.
After we meet the Filing Requirements and Know the Correct Grounds we’ll need to file the correct documents.
Primary Documents for Filing for Divorce in Pennsylvania
The plaintiff must complete and file the appropriate documents to begin the divorce process.
- Documents include the…
- Notice to Defend; Claim Rights and Verification Forms (attached to the complaint).
- File documents at the courthouse in the county where the plaintiff is filing for divorce.
- The defendant must be served with the filing documents within 30 days following the date documents are filed at the courthouse.
- Lastly, the time for serving documents is extended to 90 days if the defendant does not live in Pennsylvania.
Divorce Counseling Requirements in Pennsylvania
Under PA divorce laws, the court will order up to three counseling sessions whether or not either party to the divorce request them in a:
- no-fault divorce within 90 days of the filing; or
- fault divorce where the life of the injured spouse is intolerable.
If the court determines that:
- a marriage has been irretrievably broken; and
- the parties have lived apart for at least two years; then
- the court will require counseling sessions if…
- either party requests them; or
- may require the counseling sessions if they have a child who is younger than 16.
The court will provide plaintiff and defendant a list of qualified counselors. Neither the plaintiff or defendant is required to pick a counselor from that list. They may pick a counselor of their choice.
Alternatives to Litigated Divorce Proceedings
Your goal should be to make divorces as amicable as possible. There are several alternatives for divorce proceedings with the intention of avoiding costly litigation and debilitating emotional stress. Our Divorce Attorneys are expert in all of the alternatives to divorce shown below.
Mediation is a Win-Win Approach to Divorce Settlements
Mediated divorce is a popular option because it promises to reduce some of the animosity of many divorces. Here’s how a Mediated Divorce works…
- You and your spouse meet with a Mediator to develop a plan to present to the court regarding matters such as…
- division of assets;
- child custody;
- parenting time;
- retirement; and
- other issues.
- The Mediator…
- is a neutral third party who may or may not be a family law attorney;
Note: Anyone can call themselves a Divorce Mediator because it’s an unregulated profession in the United States. Be certain to choose one that has formal training, experience and good reviews.
- works to ensure the process is as amicable as possible; and
- is impartial and gives the same advice and information to both parties.
- is a neutral third party who may or may not be a family law attorney;
- You and your spouse can meet with the mediator as often as is necessary throughout the mediation process.
- It’s your settlement plan which you feel is fair to both you and your spouse.
- Finally, once you and your spouse have agreed, you both sign a divorce settlement agreement and submit it to the court.
Mediation works best when…
- both spouses are open minded, respectful of one another and able to express themselves well;
- marital property isn’t complex;
- there’s not a lot of animosity between the spouses.
Advantages of Mediation…
- lower cost than a litigated divorce;
- less stressful than going to trial;
- results in a win/win result instead of a win/lose situation;
- spouses are more likely to voluntarily comply with the agreement;
- concludes faster than going to trial; and
- very importantly, is better when children are involved because they don’t see their parents arguing.
Advantages of Using Our Divorce Attorneys as Your Mediator…
- The role of a Mediator is not to give legal advice. But an experienced Divorce Attorney can provide insight into possible negative ramifications of not coming to an agreement on a particular matter and going to court. This can give both spouses the extra incentive they may need to come to an agreement regarding a difficult issue.
- We know how to listen to both spouses, not dictate to you, and help you negotiate a mutually advantageous agreement of your own design.
- Our attorneys are also competent Business Tax, Bankruptcy, Wills and Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys who understand finance and are good with numbers. We make sure your agreement covers all the bases.
- We’ll make sure your agreement is setup to endure predictable life changes so you don’t wind up in court later on.
- Arbitration is used when Mediation fails.
- The arbitrator is an attorney trained in the skills of arbitration.
- The parties can stipulate prior to beginning the arbitration that it is either binding or non-binding.
- Each spouse is represented by an attorney who will guide them through the process as they meet with the arbitrator.
- An arbitrator is bound by certain rules of the Uniform Arbitration Act.
- The arbitrator will:
- hear testimony from witnesses;
- conduct discovery;
- hold conferences; and sometimes subpoena witnesses.
- The Arbitrator’s final decision it is presented to the parties.
- The attorneys will then file a summary action, and the arbitration will be as enforceable as if it were a decision handed down by the court.
- Like the other alternatives to litigation, arbitration does require a certain amount of cooperation by the parties.
It’s important to note there are numerous variables that determine…
- how complex the settlement will be; and
- whether there is a great likelihood for potential litigation.
The overall costs of the divorce will likely be less if there are few marital assets and if there are no children from the marriage.
Collaborative Law is one of the newest alternatives to a Divorce in Pennsylvania. Here’s an overview of how it works…
- Consider Collaborative Divorce instead of Mediation or Arbitration if…
- one or both spouses harbor animosity toward the other;
- there are questions regarding honesty;
- aggressive personalities are involved;
- or marital assets are complex.
- Spouses entering into a Collaborative Divorce follow the “Collaborative Divorce Model”. Each signs an agreement to put for their best effort to resolve issues.
- Mediation is non-adversarial because a neutral third party represents both spouses. Collaborative Divorces are adversarial because each spouse hires their own lawyer offering them legal advice and trying to negotiate the best possible settlement for their clients.
- Other professionals may be brought in to help resolve complex situations including…
- child specialists;
- and other consultants.
- All parties meet on a periodic basis until an agreement is reached.
- You may still need to appear in court to sign the final divorce agreement.
- The cost of a Collaborative Divorce usually falls between the cost of Mediation and a Litigated Divorce. There is an element of risk. That’s because if the Collaborative Divorce process fails and the divorce goes to litigation the entire process starts over again from scratch with new attorneys. So the total cost of the divorce may actually be much higher than if it had gone to litigation in the first place.
Consult with our experienced Divorce Attorneys. They can gain a full understanding of your unique circumstances and the personalities of the spouses to help you determine the chances a Collaborative Divorce will be successful.
There are many do-it-yourself divorce kits on the market. This may work if both parties are in agreement. But you often overlook important and costly details:
- Did you thoroughly research your state’s laws?
- Did you consider the tax consequences?
- Is that Internet-based divorce kit you’re looking at truly legitimate, or is it a scam?
- Can an online solution ask you important questions an experienced Divorce Attorney asks in a one-on-one consultation?
- How are complex marital property like trademarks and patents that require experts resolved?
- Does the online solution consider other legal issues directly affected by a divorce?
The answer to all of these questions is No or you have no way of knowing. You need or competent, experienced Divorce Attorneys to protect you now and in the future.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
The best way to get an idea of the cost of Mediation, Arbotration or a Collaborative Divorce is to call us at 610-670-9000.
Even the most seemingly simple of Litigated Divorces might become costly.
In 2012, the estimated cost of a divorce in Pennsylvania was between $30,000 and $50,000. This estimate includes:
- an initial consultation (which costs between $200 and $300);
- a retainer fee between $3,500 and $5,000;
- billable hours between $275 and $375 per hour;
- custody evaluations and trial between $10,000 and $20,000; and
- lastly, discovery proceedings up to $4,000.
Finding the Right Berks County Divorce Attorney Near Reading, PA
Miller Law Group attorneys are Family Law Specialists. We’re your best choice for a divorce lawyer in Berks County because we…
- have 40 years’ experience practicing Pennsylvania Divorce Law in Berks County…
- helping out clients end their marriages in the friendliest and most civil terms possible; and
- very importantly, protecting children both legally and financially after the divorce;
- know how Berks County courts interpret PA Divorce Law;
- discuss divorce law with you using plain English so you understand what to expect;
- suggest mediation or another less costly method for ending your marriage for uncontested divorces; and
- in a contested divorce, represent your interests and work out issues such as:
- finally, negotiations with your partner’s attorney to eliminate some of the pressure on you and keep things as civil as possible.
Our experienced Divorce Attorneys have 40 years’ experience keeping things as friendly as possible. We can help you maintain a reasonable perspective while protecting your interests by helping you…
- get to a point where you acknowledge your pain and accept that the divorce is actually happening;
- begin to let go and look forward;
- think about whether you may be forcing your ex-spouse to fight against you by being unwilling to negotiate; and
- finally, to cooperate with your ex-spouse in non-legal matters such as parenting.
We’ll help you too. Choose us to represent you. You won’t find more proven, experienced and family-oriented divorce lawyer near Reading, Berks County or anywhere else in Pennsylvania..
If your relationship is coming to a close and you’d like to speak with a divorce attorney, contact Miller Law Group for a consultation. Our attorneys are proud to serve clients in Pennsylvania, and our Family Law Attorneys would be pleased to address your concerns in a caring and honest manner.
Divorce is Too Important to Let to a Rookie Divorce Lawyer or Cheap One Size Fits All Online Solution
You need our proven, experienced Divorce Attorneys. Here’s why…
Proven, Experienced Divorce Attorneys and Family Law Specialists
It doesn’t matter what Family Law issues come up in your Divorce. Our Divorce Attorneys have the experience and proven track record to represent you: We’re experts in:
We also have experts in other legal issues associated with Divorce including Wills, Estate Planning and Bankruptcy. Clearly, you won’t find better Divorce Attorneys in Reading, Berks County or anywhere else in Pennsylvania. You’ve found the right place. Contact us.
Divorce Affects Every Area of Your Life
- It impacts your finances and standard of living.
- It affects your property.
- Divorce can be especially hard on children.
Most couples find they can navigate the divorce process more quickly and with less pain by working with a proven, experienced and genuinely compassionate divorce attorney.
Issues Arise That Often Complicate a Divorce
One reason a Divorce Attorney is so important is because of the challenges that can arise with a divorce:
- Courts can challenge Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements in divorce proceedings.
- Fights arise in court over Alimony, Division of Property, Child Custody or Child Support.
- Lastly, in the case of infidelity, there may be animosity leading to accusations and demands for additional support.
Our Divorce Attorneys have the experience you need protect you in each of these matters.
A Skilled Divorce Attorney Can Help Guide You to the Most Amicable Divorce Possible
View divorce as a process toward a resolution rather than an argument. This makes an amicable divorce possible. The harsher you are, the more resistance you’ll get when trying to reach an agreement.
What can I do to prepare?
Before seeking an attorney, make a list of your questions or concerns regarding the following:
- Home: Keep or sell? Where will you live?
- Insurance: Life insurance, medical, and other for spouse or children.
- Taxes: Current or past tax returns, future exemptions.
- Support payments: Spousal and child support, how much for how long.
- Children: Living arrangements, decisions about education and healthcare.
You Won’t Find Better Divorce Attorneys in Reading, PA or Berks County
- the best and most experienced representation possible; and
- Divorce Attorneys that are:
- familiar with the court system in Berks County; and
- very importantly, more interested in helping you achieve your legal goals than seeing you as just another billable hour.
Our Divorce Attorneys take pride in treating your problems with as much concern as they would treat their own.
In conclusion, we…
- are the proven, experienced Berks County Divorce Attorneys you need; and
- in addition, give you the respect and emotional support you deserve.
Everything you need is a phone call away. Contact Us Online or Call Us at 610-670-9000. Find out why The Miller Law Group is a different… better… kind of law firm.