Will declaring anirretrievable breakdown of a marriageaffect custody?

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Will declaring anirretrievable breakdown of a marriageaffect custody?

My husband filed for divorce in ’08. It was a complaint with “fault” accusations. The 2 items he was seeking were: 1) primary physical custody of our child; and 2) equitable distribution of property. It said the case would be heard when we were separated for 2 years. This past spring, he pushed custody. I got primary custody through conciliation. At the courthouse, if you click on my name only 1 case comes up. Under that case it says “divorce” and there’s a checklist of things. Custody is checked and it says “agreed upon through conciliation.” I received papers saying after 2 years, he’s withdrawing the equitable distribution request as we have no marital property. If I agree that 1) The marriage is broken; 2) We have no marital property; and 3) We have been separated for 2 years, I should do nothing, and the marriage will be ended? Since custody was stated in the original complaint, if I don’t file a counter-claim, will they give him custody? Or since custody was settled, and an order issued, after the divorce was filed, will custody not be affected? I don’t want sit here and not do anything thinking it will simply end the marriage (which I want to happen), and end up losing custody.

Asked on November 17, 2010 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to seek help from an attorney in your area on this matter on the best way to proceed.  I agree with you 100% that you can not just sit back and do nothing.  The stakes - the custody of your child - are way too high.  The conciliation agreement - as I understand it - is an order that predetermines issues in a matter (here custody) and that the issue is resolved.  It is a consent order and has the same force and effect as a final order that is entered by the Court. So although I think that you are fine I would double check.  Good luck.


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