Some LGBT couples have waited for years to divorce in Pennsylvania

We’ve written before about how divorce law in each state establishes certain requirements before a married couple can finalize a divorce. You can read more on Pennsylvania’s divorce laws in one of our recent posts, “What are the requirements for divorce in Pennsylvania?

Until recently, there was an additional Pennsylvania requirement that we didn’t actually mention: that only spouses in opposite-sex marriages could get divorced. Now that a federal judge has struck down Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban, and Gov. Tom Corbett has announced that he will not contest the ruling, same-sex marriage is now recognized in the Keystone State, and so is same-sex divorce.

In some cases, LGBT couples who were married in other states were surprised to find that, after moving to Pennsylvania, the state didn’t recognize their marriage, nor would the state grant a divorce when the relationship ended. This kind of situation has led to confusion and frustration for families throughout the country.

Establishing residency is a major issue in many such cases. In Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months for a divorce to be granted. Generally, if you’re filing a no-fault divorce to which you and your spouse consent, then the divorce can be finalized 90 days after the declaration of consent is filed.

If you’re filing a no-fault divorce to which your spouse hasn’t consented, then you typically must have lived separately for at least two years before the divorce can be finalized.

There is no waiting period for a fault divorce in Pennsylvania, though fault has to first be proven in court.

To learn more about divorce law in the Keystone State, please visit Bononi & Company’s family law overview.


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