Divorce can be a long and grueling process, so it’s best to prepare and inform yourself before you begin. This blog post will explain the different types of divorce available in Pennsylvania as well as the grounds for a divorce. If you find yourself on this difficult path, please contact a York County, PA divorce attorney right away.
Divorce Law in Pennsylvania: Three Types of Divorce
There is one important requirement that decides if a divorce can even begin in Pennsylvania. One of the spouses, or both, must have lived in Pennsylvania for at least the last six months. The spouse requesting the divorce (the plaintiff) will begin by filing a complaint which explains why they should receive a divorce from their spouse (the defendant).
What kind of divorce the plaintiff pursues will be determined by other circumstances. In Pennsylvania, there are three different categories of divorce:
- Mutual Consent Divorce
- Un-consented Divorce
- Fault-based Divorce
The rest of the blog post will detail what the requirements are for each of these divorce types.
Mutual Consent Divorce in Pennsylvania
This is perhaps the least stressful of all available divorce options. If both spouses agree, the plaintiff only needs to tell the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken. There will be a 90-day waiting period, at the end of which each spouse needs to make a sworn statement that the marriage is irretrievably broken and to ask the court to grant the divorce. These kinds of divorces are known as no-fault or mutual consent divorces.
Un-consented Divorce in Pennsylvania
If one of the spouses does not consent, the divorce may still be granted. The plaintiff would need to fulfill several conditions, as well as wait for some conditions to be met.
The first requirement is that the couple have been living separate and apart for at least one year. This does not mean the couple must live in separate homes. So long as the plaintiff can prove that the spouses are leading separate lives with little to do with each other, the court may consider the marriage irretrievably broken.
The second requirement for the plaintiff is waiting, not 90 days as in a mutual consent divorce, but up to as long as one year before the court will enter the decree.
Fault-based Divorce in Pennsylvania
A fault-based divorce occurs when a spouse refuses to agree to the divorce, the couple has not been separated for at least a year, and the plaintiff does not wish to wait one year. The plaintiff may still get a divorce, but this is the trickiest route to do so.
First, the plaintiff will have to prove that the defendant did something wrong to them. Furthermore, they must also prove that they did nothing wrong to the defendant. In cases where both spouses are at fault, the court may decide not to grant a divorce.
What are the fault grounds for a divorce in Pennsylvania?
Some of the fault grounds that you may cite for a divorce in PA are as follows:
- Desertion for one year or more
- Jail sentence of two years or more for any crime
- Stay of at least 18 months in a mental health facility before the divorce started, and forecasted to last at least 18 months after the divorce started
- Insulting and disgraceful treatment (“indignities”) that makes the plaintiff’s life intolerable
- Cruel treatment that puts the plaintiff’s life or health at risk
Get in Touch with a Divorce Lawyer Today
This is only an overview of some of the larger-scale questions you’ll need to think about during the beginning stages of a divorce. We know that divorce is a highly stressful time, and we want to remind you that we are here for you. Call Ilkhanoff & Silverstein today and we’ll do everything we can to help.