What are the requirements for divorce in Pennsylvania?

Each state has certain legal requirements before a divorce can be finalized. These requirements typically relate to waiting periods, jurisdictions, residency and the grounds on which a divorce can be granted.

Pennsylvania law recognizes two kinds of divorce: no-fault divorce and fault divorce. To get a no-fault divorce, the parties must file written statements indicating that they consent to the end of the marriage. Before a no-fault divorce can be finalized, the spouses typically must wait 90 days from the filing of the declaration of consent.

In some no-fault divorces, only one spouse consents. If that is the case, then the spouse seeking a no-fault divorce must file a statement indicating that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that the parties have lived separately for two or more years.

A fault divorce may be granted for a variety of reasons, including domestic violence, adultery, bigamy, abandonment and one spouse’s imprisonment for at least two years. After fault is proven in court, there is no waiting period for a fault divorce to be granted. It should be noted that proof of fault in a divorce will not affect how marital property will be divided between the spouses, but fault can factor into court decisions regarding spousal support.

If you and your spouse have lived in different states over the course of your marriage, then it is important to know the jurisdiction where your divorce will be granted. To get a divorce in Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must have resided in the state for a minimum of six months. It may also be appropriate to file for divorce in the county where your spouse lives if your spouse currently lives outside of Pennsylvania.

If you have questions about any of these matters, then a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer can offer guidance and help ensure that your rights are protected.