Getting a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania just got faster

If you don’t already know, a no-fault divorce means that when a couple decides to divorce neither party has to assign any blame for the marriage breakdown. In Pennsylvania, a no-fault divorce in which one party disagrees recently meant the couple would have to suffer through a two-year wait period before the matter was entirely resolved.

Pennsylvania’s governor signed a bill in October that reduced the wait by half. The new law went into effect at the beginning of December 2016, but does not apply retroactively to divorces that were already underway. Those who support this new law believe the reduced waiting time will minimize the “stress and family discord inherent to the divorce process.”

If you are wondering why there ever was a two-year waiting period, you are not alone. It seems that when no-fault divorces were introduced in 1980, a three-year waiting period was mandated because several religious and conservative groups opposed this kind of divorce. These groups felt that it would lead to an increase in marriage breakdowns. Surprisingly to many, no increase occurred, so the wait period was reduced to two years in 1988.

For most Pennsylvania residents looking to divorce, this reduced waiting time is good news. However, you should understand that the changes do not necessarily result in a “quick divorce.” For many, it is still a good idea to obtain legal advice from a reputable attorney in order for the process to flow as smoothly as possible.

With that said, the evolution of divorce law in the state should allow families to get through the process a little faster and a little easier. In turn, all parties can move forward with their new lives.

Source:, “Shorter waiting period for no-fault divorces takes effect in Pennsylvania,” Wallace McKelvey, Dec. 02, 2016