Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania
DIVORCE: Fault and No-Fault
Divorce is the ending of a marriage ordered by a court., In Pennsylvania there are two types of divorce: fault and no-fault. The fault grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania are:
- Willful and malicious desertion and absence from the marital home, without a reasonable cause, for the period of one (1) or more years.
- Extreme cruelty, including any physical or mental cruelty that endangers your safety or health, or which makes continued living together improper or unreasonable.
- Knowingly entering a bigamous marriage while a former marriage is still existing.
- Sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two (2) years upon conviction of having committed a crime.
- Imposed such indignities on the innocent spouse as to render that spouse's condition intolerable and life burdensome.
- Insanity or serious mental disorder which has resulted in confinement in a mental institution for at least eighteen (18) months immediately before the filing of the complaint, and where there is no reasonably prospect that the spouse will be discharged from inpatient care during the 18 months subsequent to the commencement of the action.
All fault divorces require court testimony and an appearance by the client. No-fault divorces do not require a court appearance. Fault grounds as a basis for divorce in Pennsylvania are obsolete.
No-Fault Divorces in Pennsylvania
Mutual Consent - A mutual consent divorce will be granted where it is alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the date of the commencement of an action and an affidavit has been filed by each of the parties evidencing that each party consents to the divorce. This is known as a Section 3301(c) divorce.
Irretrievable Breakdown - If your spouse is not in agreement, you can use the provision under Section 3301(d) of the Divorce Code, if you have been living separate and apart per the requirements below:
- One year separation - If the period of separation began on or after December 5, 2016, you will need to have lived separate and apart from your spouse for at least one year prior to filing your divorce complaint.
- Two year separation - If the period of separation began before December 5, 2016, you will need to have lived separate and apart from your spouse for at least two years prior to filing your divorce complaint.
The Court may grant a 3301(d) divorce based on an allegation that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and where the parties have lived separate and apart for the required time frame (noted above), and the Defendant either:
a) Does not deny the allegations as set forth in the affidavit.
b) Denies one or more of the allegations set forth in the affidavit but, after notice and hearing, the court determines that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least the required one or two years (depending on the date of separation) and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
The address and contact information of the Defendant/spouse must be known in order to successfully use these documents.