Domestic violence victims can divorce faster now in Pennsylvania

If you’ve been a victim of domestic violence, you know that your safety is very important. You’ve already been through a difficult time, and the last thing you should have to do is fight for protection as your marriage crumbles.

On April 26, it was reported that victims of domestic violence can now get a divorce more easily in Pennsylvania. Thanks to House Bill 12, statewide restrictions on divorce have now been loosened in cases where one partner experiences domestic violence. That means that people who are in these volatile situations can leave their marriages faster than before.

Until the bill was signed into law, those in this situation could potentially have had to wait up to two years for a divorce without consent from the other party. Even then, both parties would have to go to court-mandated sessions for marriage counseling at least three times, putting victims alongside their abusers.

Now, the judge and court can assume consent from the abusive party, giving the victim the right to immediately proceed with divorce. The victim may also object to any counseling that is being required if a protection order is in place.

In the past, it has been found that most incidents of domestic violence actually take place when victims try to end their relationships, get custody of their children or seek legal protections. With these new changes in the law, victims can now be kept away from their attackers in more instances, helping them keep their distance and avoid any more confrontations that could put their lives in danger.

Source: New Pittsburgh Courier, “It just got easier for victims of domestic violence in PA to get a divorce,” Lauren Rosenblatt, PublicSource, April 26, 2016


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