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Divorce in Pennsylvania – What a Nightmare

Are you going through a divorce in Pennsylvania? Are you spending thousands of dollars on legal fees and getting nowhere? Yeah, me too.

When I got married in 1998 I never expected to get divorced. Then again, I never expected that he would be cruel and abusive either.

If you are a resident of Pennsylvania and you are considering marriage, please do yourself a favor. First of all if you have assets, GET A PRENUP. Don’t be stupid like I was. I don’t care how much you love him, if you have more money or more land or more anything than he does, just go to a lawyer and have the prenup state that he is not to get any of your PRE-MARITAL ASSETS should the marriage end in divorce.

If you’re considering getting married and you are financially secure, make sure you read all of the PA Divorce Code. Do you know that he can leave you for another woman and then sue you for Spousal Support if you’re the higher wage earner? Oh, yes. In Pennsylvania they take the wages of the higher wage earner, they deduct the wages of the lower wage earner and then they times the difference by 40%. So, as an example let’s say you make $100,000.00 a year and he makes $60,000.00 a year. The difference in your annual incomes is $40,000.00. So, 40% of $40,000.00 is $16,000.00 and that is what the court will award him in annual Spousal Support. Why? Because he has become accustomed to living at a certain level and he has the right to remain at that level no matter what he’s done to you.

Here’s another eye opener. Let’s say that you own a home and you decide that the two of you will live in your home after the marriage. Do you know that if either one of you decides to divorce that he is entitled to an equitable portion of the equity in the home from the date of the marriage to the date of the final divorce decree? The house doesn’t have to be in his name. It can be in just your name, but it’s still considered marital property. HOWEVER, if you have a mortgage on that home which is dated PRIOR to the date of the marriage, he is NOT responsible for it nor will it be counted against him at equitable distribution because it is not considered MARITAL.

I know marriage is supposed to be about love and honor and ‘til death do us part’, but no where in the ‘til death do us part’ does it say that he has a right to yell at you or scream at you or hit you. The sad part is that if he does abuse you during the marriage, the PA Divorce Code will continue to do it for him.

Most churches require that you and your fiancé go to counseling prior to your wedding. My suggestion is that you also go to a marriage counselor PRIOR to your marriage to see if you’re really compatible. Love doe not conquer all. And, take a night and read the divorce code. If you have any doubts about marrying, that will help you make the right decision.

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User Comments
  1. Sandy Johnson

    On August 2, 2006 at 9:34 am

    Wow. A great article. I live in Pennsylvania and I was unaware of the divorce code. No wonder so many people get pre-nups or just live together.

    Great author. I hope she posts more.

  2. Eileen Marks

    On August 2, 2006 at 10:48 am

    Very informative. I’m about to file for divorce and now I know what to research.

    Spousal support should be judged on more than just income. If a spouse wants out because of another person they shouldn’t get spousal support AND if a spouse wants out because they’re being abused THEY shouldn’t have to pay it either.

  3. Mike McCann

    On October 14, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    Nothing new, the masters abuse their poweres as well as the people before them.
    Thye seeth in their power by not even recognizing anyone who tries to file on their own.
    They are dispicable in their manners (or lack there of) and judgements and drive people to desparate measures.
    Most likely political cronies who cannot find success in the real world.
    Some of them were probably abused when they were younger.
    I’ve seen them humiliate a vientnam viet and he obviously had mental problems, many terrible stories and you would not think you were in the United States. The Judiciary supports them by action and non-action.

  4. Beverlie

    On August 31, 2007 at 11:02 am

    OMG – this is so true!! I am going on 2years of a horrible divorce from an abusive man who hasn’t work in 6 years. He has been awarded successes in the Pike Co court system, which allows him to continue to harass me through the courts even after I have lost everything. It has been a nightmare that will never end!

  5. weegysgram

    On January 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Wow I live in PA and had no idea. I know that it is a bad state for getting child support but never knew it was bad for divorce. I am sure with PA the list of codes go on and on and they sure arn’t out to help the ones that need the help. They always seem to side with the abuser. Good luck to you! Great article by the way.

  6. Goomba Al

    On February 4, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    The perceived inequities run both ways.My wife filed a ficticious PFA stating I was cheap and saw evil in me. We defended these bogus charges vigoriously and the judge still awarded her nine months on the protection order. Once I was out of the house she immediately filed for divorce. Thereafter she was not shy in telling everyone she got the PFA in order to get me out of the house. And to add the ultimate insult, she is now moving her boyfriend into my home even before I answered the divorce complaint. This was her plan all along. She could have been a woman about it and in an adult manner discussed why she wanted out of the marriage. But to do this is something the most horrendous husband/partner wouldn’t deserve.

  7. Greg Knome

    On November 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    That’s right divorce in Pennsylvania is a nightmare. But it is also a nightmare in many other states. Here in Pa the Courts are firmly on the side of women. Men are persecuted. The system is statistical in favor of women in child custody, Protection from Abuse Orders (PFA), equitable distribution, marriage laws and child support. The courts violate men’s civil rights on a regular basis. They can not operate without doing so. Pennsylvania domestic law is joke. There is no “equal protection under the law” to start with, and the list is on and on after that. Anyone coming to live in Pennsylvania for any reason should seriously consider the state’s domestic discrimination against men. This is not the place to raise a traditional family by marriage.

  8. disgruntled

    On August 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Going through this now, and have come to terms that the entire divorce proceedings are designed simply to extract as much money from people deciding to end a marriage, willfully or not. It is a horrendous, despicable, humiliating and degrading process.
    Think about this folks. What other law, regardless of state, allows for the transfer of finances based on an emotional change? I.E…I love you, lets share. I don’t love you, gimme half of what you are worth (or more, as in PA, if you and your spouse make the decision to allow your wife to stay home to raise the children in a more conventional environment, you’ve now obligated at least 60% of you net worth to her if a divorce occurs…why? because she has been “deprived of work and educational opportunities”). Not to discount the stay at home mom, but if someone offered me the opportuntity to stay at home with my kids, go to the gym, have access to funds, and generally, take naps during the day…I think I’d be all over that. I’ve said it many times…the laws associated with marriage and divorce are outdated and have ammassed to a pure money making scheme by those that defend, interpret and enforce the law. How can it ever change when the very people that can change it do not want to?

  9. MCM

    On August 19, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    With so many unhappy with the law in PA is there not a place that can funnel the energy for change? I have experienced everything discussed in this forum and even though my divorce has concluded I would be willing to dedicate some of my valuable time to any group out there that is working to fight this corrupt court system. Any information regarding groups like this would be appreciated.

  10. Screwed In PA

    On October 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Not just what all they said….I’ve been going through 3 years of HELL thanks to my family law paralegal ex and the court system. She even has defrauded the Domestic Relations Office by not disclosing the increase of her income and gets away with it while my earnings are garnished????? There is NO JUSTICE in PA!!!!!! The judges are crooked and the lawyers self-serving. For the traditional bread-earning man, suicide seems the only way out of the slavery….

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