Overview of Divorce in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania divorce laws are no more complicated than those of any other state.  However, there are some differences between all state laws, so reading about the laws of the state in which you want to file is essential.

Grounds for Filing for Divorce in Pennsylvania

Whichever spouse files for divorce must declare the grounds upon which he or she wants divorce to be granted.  Petitioners can choose from two types of grounds in Pennsylvania—‘no fault grounds’ and ‘fault’ grounds.

If you are dealing with a divorce, it is very important that you have qualified representation to protect yourself. Consult with a Divorce Lawyer in your area today to discuss your case.

There are two choices for ‘no fault’ grounds.  The court may grant a divorce when:

  • There is mutual consent, meaning that a marriage is ‘broken’ and 90 days have passed since the date of commencement of an action under this part.  Each spouse must file, consenting to the divorce.
  • There is an irretrievable breakdown, meaning that a marriage is ‘broken.’  Each spouse must file an affidavit stating that they have lived apart for at least two years.

There are several ‘fault’ grounds under which the Pennsylvania courts will grant a divorce:

  • A divorce will be granted if one spouse willfully and maliciously deserts the other spouse without a reasonable cause for one year or more.
  • The courts grant divorce if one spouse commits adultery.
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment by one spouse to the other which endangers the life or health of the other is a ground for divorce in Pennsylvania.
  • The courts will grant a divorce if one spouse purposely got married to a second spouse while still married to the first spouse.
  • Pennsylvania courts grant divorce if one spouse is sentenced to two or more years of imprisonment.
  • If one spouse makes the other spouse’s live burdensome and intolerable due to treating them with indignity, divorce will be granted.

Property Distribution

Division of property in Pennsylvania is done through an ‘equitable distribution’ process.  This does not mean that it is equal; rather, it means that it is done fairly.  Property is divided without regard to marital misconduct.  Instead, the court looks at factors such as the length of the marriage, the standard of living, economic circumstances, and other issues relating to distribution.

The court may impose a lien on some marital piece of property as security for alimony payment, if necessary.  Also, the court may direct that life insurance policies remain the same, with no changes in beneficiaries.  In some cases, the court may require that health or life insurance policies be purchased.

If you are dealing with a divorce, it is very important that you have qualified representation to protect yourself. Consult with a Divorce Lawyer in your area today to discuss your case.
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