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The General Assembly of Pennsylvania recently passed House Bill No. 12, an update to the state’s Title 23 (Domestic Relations) statute that will afford further protections to victims of domestic violence. Initially introduced by Representative Michael H. Schlossberg, the new legislation will streamline the process of dissolving a marriage in situations where spousal abuse is present.

Previously, marriages could remain valid for two additional years if the abuser did not consent to the divorce. With this new law, innocent spouses will now be able to avoid this issue if they are able to show that they were the victim of a crime committed by their spouse, and that the abusive spouse was convicted of said crime. This will allow innocent spouses to obtain a divorce in the same manner as if the abusive spouse had consented to the divorce. Victimized spouses will also no longer be required to participate in court-ordered counseling with the abusive spouse before seeking a divorce.

Why Is This Important?

The legal process of divorce has traditionally required the seeking spouse to confront the other – a process which can be frightening and extremely complex for spouses who have been abused. This law will place more control in the hands of victims of abuse and allow them to escape their circumstances more easily than before. It is important to note, however, that this law is still very new and its full implications are yet to be revealed.

The bill was approved by Governor Tom Wolf on April 21st, 2016 and is set to take effect on June 21st.

Family Lawyers Serving York, Pennsylvania

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, the compassionate York family attorneys at Ilkhanoff & Silverstein can protect your rights and provide the strong legal support you deserve during this difficult time. With constant communication and an unshakable dedication to preserving your wellbeing, we can help you seek the protection you need.

Call (717) 744-0531 or get in touch with us online today to discuss your situation.