Fans of Jon & Kate Plus 8 may believe one person is to blame for the breakup of Jon and Kate Gosselin’s 10-year marriage, but the estranged reality TV stars each filed for a ‘no-fault divorce’ in Montgomery County, Pa., Monday. Legal experts consider it a “divorce with dignity.”
“First of all, people don’t do ‘fault’ divorces anymore,” says Lynne Gold-Bikin, a prominent family law attorney in Montgomery County. “Second, you don’t always have an innocent, injured spouse. Like in this case, suppose Kate says Jon had an affair – that starts a fight and they don’t want to do that. They have kids. They are very public.”
In Pennsylvania, all divorce complaints must allege the grounds for divorce, says Gold-Bikin, who explains there are eight options from which a person can choose: six fault and two no-fault (the most popular).
It is standard procedure for an attorney to cite both no-fault grounds in the initial complaint. “The first is called mutual consent,” she says. The second says that if, two years from now, the divorce still hasn t been resolved, one party can file an affidavit alleging the marriage is irretrievably broken and they ve been living apart for two years, Gold-Bikin said. This prompts the court to assign a master to work out an agreement between both sides.
The couple filed their complaints in Montgomery County instead of Berks County, where they live: It’s the only county in the state where divorce records are sealed, Gold-Bikin said. (Under state law, if both parties agree, they can initiate proceedings in another jurisdiction.)
Attorneys for the Gosselins could not be reached for comment.
For more on the Gosselins including why Kate filed for divorce, how she and Jon told the kids about the split and her hopes for the future pick up the July 6 issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday