Divorce is usually tough on everyone involved. One of the most stressful aspects of going through a divorce is the unknown. It is also emotionally difficult; you many times face things you never expected. The team at Hynum Law are experienced divorce lawyers in Harrisburg, PA who are well equipped to guide you through this difficult process. From your first contact with us, our experienced attorneys will listen, give you an honest, frank assessment of your case, explain possible outcomes and solutions, and give you the information you need to make the best decisions for you. Sometimes the parties are amicable and can work through many of the issues they face. Other times, alternative approaches, such as mediation law, would be more effective. In some cases, litigation may be required. Whether your case involves complex issues, or is a simple, no-fault divorce, it will be given the rigorous attention it deserves by our experienced attorneys and staff.

Focused on family law

With up to 50 percent of first marriages, and an even greater number of second marriages ending in divorce in the US, you may find yourself with more questions than answers. You and your spouse might have agreed that it is time to end the marriage but still have very different opinions when it comes to deciding where the children should live, who stays in the marital residence and what is fair with respect to child support. The team at Hynum Law focuses on helping families in Harrisburg, Camp Hill, and other central Pennsylvania communities to understand Pennsylvania’s complex, sometimes confusing, divorce process.

Working with your divorce attorney

The outcome of your divorce case weighs heavily on the quality of your legal representation.  Your initial meeting with a divorce attorney is as much about you evaluating the attorney as the attorney evaluating your case.  The following link will help you select and prepare to meet with a divorce lawyer: Preparing for your first meeting with a divorce lawyer.

Fault vs. No-fault divorce

Pennsylvania law recognizes two types of divorce: fault and no-fault. In a no-fault divorce, the parties need only show that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." If both parties consent to the divorce, the parties may be able to finalize their divorce in as little as 90 days from the date of filing the Divorce. If both parties do not consent to a no-fault divorce, the parties will have to wait at least two years from the date they separated to finalize the divorce. This usually involves presenting their case before a divorce “Master” for a decision. Finalizing the divorce based on consent typically means parties have worked out a satisfactory division of their assets and debts. Pennsylvania law also provides the opportunity to file for a fault divorce. In a fault divorce, one spouse alleges that the other spouse has done something wrong. There are multiple grounds to bring an action for a fault divorce in Pennsylvania; if your spouse has:

  • Committed willful and malicious desertion, and absence from the habitation of the injured and innocent spouse, without a reasonable cause, for the period of one or more years.
  • Committed adultery.
  • By cruel and barbarous treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse.
  • Knowingly entered into a bigamous marriage while a former marriage is still subsisting.
  • Been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two or more years upon conviction of having committed a crime.
  • Offered such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse's condition intolerable and life burdensome.

Divorce issues to be prepared for

When filing for divorce, one or both parties often request the court divide the marital property (equitable distribution), award alimony or alimony pendente lite (alimony pending litigation), or require one party to pay the other party's costs and attorney fees associated with the divorce. Equitable distribution of marital assets and debts are determined using such factors as:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • Any prior marriage of either party.
  • The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties.
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
  • The opportunity of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income.
  • The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
  • The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as homemaker.
  • The value of the property set apart to each party.
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
  • The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective.
  • The Federal, State and local tax ramifications associated with each asset to be divided, distributed or assigned, which ramifications need not be immediate and certain.
  • The expense of sale, transfer or liquidation associated with a particular asset, which expense need not be immediate and certain.
  • Whether the party will be serving as the custodian of any dependent minor children.

The above factors may also be applicable in deciding claims for alimony.

Equitable Distribution:

The distribution of marital property may be one of the hottest contested areas of a divorce. The emotional turmoil of a divorce sometimes makes it difficult to make rational decisions or recognize the consequences of decisions. In circumstances like these, you need a family law attorney who will act as your legal consultant, advisor, counselor and guide.

What constitutes marital property?

Marital property is generally considered any and all property obtained by either spouse during the course of the marriage, excluding gifts and inheritances, through the date of separation.  The date of separation is presumed to be the date the Divorce complaint is filed.  However, an argument can be raised that the date of separation occurred at an earlier time.  “Separation” means the time at which the spouse began living separate and apart, this does not necessarily mean you must live in different houses.  You can be considered separated while still living under one roof.  Property acquired after the date of separation is not considered marital property.

How is property divided?

In dividing the marital property the courts will consider a list of factors. Some of these include:

In Pennsylvania, there is no presumption of 50/50 distribution.

Alimony and Spousal Support

The purpose of spousal support, alimony pendete lite (alimony pending litigation) and alimony is to assist the dependent spouse before, during and after a divorce. Here at Hynum Law, we understand that one spouse may be dependent on the other.  As your trusted advisors, we can assist you in applying for the right support for you during your divorce.

What is the difference between Alimony and Spousal Support? 

Spousal Support and Alimony pendete lite (alimony pending litigation):

These two types of support are granted after the parties are separated and can continue through the pendency of the divorce.  Spousal support may be requested before a divorce complaint is filed.  To determine this type of support, the court views the month net incomes of both parties and applies a formula.  The receiving party must also show he/she is “innocent & injured” meaning, there has been no marital misconduct or the support can be denied.  Alimony pendete lite, however, is determined in a similar manner but does not require the dependent party to show he/she is “innocent & injured.”  This type of support is granted after a divorce complaint is filed.  Alimony pendete lite enables a spouse equal financial resources or the ability to defend against an action of divorce.

Alimony:

Alimony begins when the divorce decree is entered and the divorce is finalized. Alimony is additional support provide by an order of the Court requiring one party to a divorce decree to supply the other party with economic relief for a certain period of time. Alimony will be granted by the courts where economic justice and the reasonable needs of the clients cannot be achieved through equitable distribution (i.e. there is a need for additional monetary support and the party has an ability to supply the support). Alimony is not a form of punishment.  Alimony is used as a secondary remedy to provide one spouse with the ability to obtain the necessities of life subsequent to a divorce.

How is Alimony determined?

In ordering Alimony, the courts will defer to 17 factors to determine if Alimony is appropriate.  Some of these factors include:

  • The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
  • The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
  • The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
  • The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.

*Alimony will also be based on the standard of living and lifestyle established by the parties during the marriage.

Prenuptial Agreements:

Prenuptial agreements are entered into prior to marriage. These types of agreement can be entered into for a variety of reasons like: (1) providing for and protecting children from previous marriages, (2) to protect separate assets acquired during or before the marriage, such as family-owned business, inheritances, & gifts, and (3) to waive support or other economic relief that may be available if the couple decides to separate later down the road.

Prenuptial Agreements provide protection to parties that enter the agreement in the event of a divorce.  Preputial agreements are presumed to be valid when the parties have made a full and fair disclosure of their financial positions to each other.  Because these types of agreements are governed by contract law, the Courts are very limited in invalidating an agreement. A Court may consider only whether a party was induced into the agreement through misrepresentation, fraud, or duress, and it may invalidate an agreement on such grounds only upon clear and convincing evidence of a fraud or misrepresentation.

To ensure your agreement is valid and enforceable you should have an experienced attorney drafting your document. In addition, if you are the party entering the prenuptial agreement you should consult an attorney to ensure a fair deal is being entered into and you have been provided with proper disclosure.  Contact the attorney’s at Hynum Law.  

Protection from Abuse (PFA):

Domestic Violence can happen to anyone. If you are a victim of abuse let the Family Law Attorney’s at Hynum law assist you through the process. A PFA is a civil order from the Court that provides protection to a victim of abuse, including minor children. It is filed to protect you against abuse from a spouse, intimate partner, family or household member.

Read more about Protection from Abuse

Other issues that may arise in the context of a divorce include:

Contact a divorce lawyer in Harrisburg, PA

Going through a divorce can be an extremely difficult experience. And even more so when you have children. If you are contemplating divorce or seeking custody of your children, we can help.

Contact us at (717) 801-1105 to schedule an initial consultation.

Many of our clients who are going through a divorce come from towns close to our building at 2608 North Third Street, in Harrisburg. They include Berrysburg, Conewego Township, Dauphin, Derry Township, East Hanover Township, Elizabethville, Enhaut, Getz, Halifax, Highspire, Hummelstown, Jackson, Jefferson, Londonberry Township, Lower Paxton Township, Lower Swatara Township, Lykens, Middle Paxton Township, Middetown, Millersberg, Paxtang, Penbrook, Pillow, Reed, Royalton, Rush, South Hanover Township, Steelton, Susquehanna Township, Swatara Township, Upper Paxton, Washington Township, Wayne, West Hanover Township, Williams, Williamstown, and Winconsico.

However, we also represent clients outside of Dauphin County and also serve Cumberland, Lebanon, Lancaster, Perry and all surrounding central Pennsylvania counties.

Our office is located just south of Italian Lake in beautiful uptown Harrisburg, and less than a 10 minute drive from downtown.

Our office also has free off-street parking for your convenience.