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A dissolution of marriage is when both spouses choose to end the relationship mutually with one another. In the route of dissolution, there is no involvement of the courts.

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When it comes to the legal terms of divorce and dissolution, a divorce normally requires the courts to legally and officially deem the marriage terminated. Often this route is taken when the couple has children or financial ties to one another. 


In a dissolution, couples can still request assistance from the legal system; however, for the most part, the decision to separate is made with both parties in agreement. 


In York, PA, the term dissolution is often referred to as a no-fault divorce. 


A no-fault divorce is when the reason for the marriage ending is neither party's fault, whereas, in a divorce, one party or both parties can blame the other or a situation. In divorce filings, a spouse could claim infidelity, abuse, abandonment, etc., as reasons for petitioning for a divorce. 


When papers are filed for a no-fault divorce, neither party can contest the reasoning; whereas, an at-fault divorce can be challenged. 


What constitutes a no-fault divorce?


A couple or spouse may file a no-fault divorce if the couple has grown out of love, the relationship is no longer sustainable, or simply, both parties have chosen to end their legal relationship to one another for no other reason but just to end it.


If either spouse has made the decision to dissolve their marriage, a few things that they should consider include: 

  • Minors
    A marriage requires consenting parties to be recognized by the state as adults. Therefore, should any party to the agreement be under 18 years without applicable consent exemptions, the marriage becomes voidable. However, should the minor reach the edge of 18 and freely choose to continue the course with the other party, the grounds for annulment become non-existent.
  • Polygamy
    the institute of marriage is recognized as an agreement between two parties. Where this fundamental principle is not applied, there are grounds for the annulment of the marriage. Bigamy may be appropriately placed under this category, which indicates that a marriage is void, should one of the parties already be married at the time of the contract. There are exclusions, however, where the violating party has no proof of life of the previous spouse, provided that the deserted person in the equation is the one attempting to become remarried. The deserting spouse, by nature of the separation, automatically creates a void contract upon attempting to remarry.
  • Force
    Consent is a fundamental building block where marriage is concerned. There should be no doubt that the parties on both ends entered a willful contract. Should it be determined that forced consent created the circumstances that led to the marriage, then this is grounds for nullity. However, as is the case with a minor who has transitioned into legal adulthood, if the forced party should choose to freely remain in the marriage, then it can no longer be made void under the same principle.
  • Duress
    Like force, duress strips away the precedent of consent that would define the institution of marriage. Threats, violence, or any action or constraint that may cause someone to carry out an action against typical and arguably better judgment can fall under the category of duress. Should it be established that any form of duress was present in the decision of either party that led to the marriage, the contract is not recognized by the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Fraud
    The consent for marriage is legally expected to be obtained by informed means. Therefore, a marriage becomes voidable if delusion leads to a decision of acceptance on either side. However, the principle of free cohabitation remains here. If the defrauded party, after having become aware of the facts at hand, should choose to continue to have the other as a spouse, the marriage then becomes a valid one.
  • Insanity
    The state of unsoundness of mind removes the ability to properly give consent. For a more precise definition, both parties need to understand the contract associated with the marriage and the associated obligations. If the mental state of either party were to prevent this natural proceeding, the principle of nullity may be applied to this marriage. However, an exemption is made for those who have come to reason and have chosen to continue to cohabitate with the selected spouse. On these grounds, the marriage can then become valid.
  • Physical Incapacity
    A physical expectation of marriage consummation is placed on either party in the agreement. Physical incapacity speaks to an incurable predicament that renders one spouse unable to fulfill this obligation. Under these circumstances, an annulment is allowed.

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To file a dissolution, one or both parties must file a petition requesting the end of the marriage. 


This step can be done with both parties, or the parties can do it separately. As well as filing for a petition to dissolve the marriage, both parties must provide full disclosure of their assets and debts. 



This is done to determine whether the requests being filed in the dissolution and any arrangements, support or not, are fair and equitable to both parties. 



Once the county courts have received the petition, the judge reviews the document as well as the disclosure of assets. They examine the documents; if there are children involved, they review the arrangements set by the parties, and they then make a decision. This decision is often to finalize the separation and that the courts and judge agree with the motions filed by the parties. 



Suppose one or both parties decide after filing the petition to make changes, for example, requesting more financial support or changing the custodial arrangements. In that case, the courts and judge may require more time to review the documents and the reasoning for such changes.


Going through a divorce or dissolution of marriage can be overwhelming and stressful; if you are in the York, PA area, consider seeking, as they can provide the necessary guidance and support through this difficult time. 


A legal representative does not necessarily have to represent you during the process; however, taking the time to consult with a knowledgeable legal representative is advisable, especially if there are children or significant assets involved. 


Legal representatives can provide support in: 

  • Filing the petition

  • Knowing your rights 

  • Dividing of assets 

  • Understanding the legal process 


Remember, despite your relationship with the person, it is still important to ensure that your rights and what you are entitled to are met and respected. Consider seeking proper legal counsel to know your rights and what you are entitled to when your relationship comes to an end.


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