In Pennsylvania, a couple may also mutually consent to a divorce by stating that the marriage was irretrievably broken. Liebmann Family Law can explain your rights.
Liebmann Family Law is located Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
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Grounds for Divorce
Pennsylvania recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Fault grounds include willful desertion, adultery, cruelty, and bigamy. Couples may also file for divorce based on a no-fault ground: the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
In Pennsylvania, a couple may also mutually consent to a divorce by stating that the marriage was irretrievably broken. Each party must submit a sworn statement consenting to the divorce. If there is no mutual consent, then the parties must submit sworn statements that they have lived separate and apart for at least one year. If either of the spouses deny any of the allegations in the divorce papers, and the court determines that there's a reasonable expectation of reconciliation, then the judge may continue the matter for up to four months so that the couple can seek counseling.
When filing for divorce, spouses must identify the "ground" or reason for the break-up of the marriage. Pennsylvania recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.
In a "fault" divorce, one spouse accuses the other of engaging in some type of misconduct that led to the divorce. Fault must be proven in court.
The fault grounds in Pennsylvania include:
abandonment without cause for at least one year
cruelty, including domestic violence, which endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse
conviction of a crime and imprisonment for two or more years, and
humiliating the innocent spouse in such a way that makes the marriage intolerable.
Although courts don’t consider either spouse’s fault when making decisions about property division, a judge may consider misconduct when deciding whether to award alimony.
Divorcing spouses who want to avoid a full-blown court battle that will involve airing their dirty laundry in court have an alternative to a “fault divorce,” which is the “no-fault” divorce.
In a no-fault divorce, there is no blame assigned to either spouse. Spouses can request a divorce based on the ground of “irretrievable breakdown,” which just means the couple can’t get along anymore, and their marriage is broken beyond repair.
There are two types of no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania.
A court may grant a divorce by mutual consent as long as all of the following requirements are met:
the couple has alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken
90 days have passed since the divorce action was filed, and
both spouses have filed an affidavit (written declaration) stating that they each consent to the divorce.
Irretrievable Breakdown Without Mutual Consent
Where one spouse seeks the divorce, and the other doesn’t consent, the court may grant the divorce if the following requirements are met:
a divorce complaint has been filed alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken
the spouse seeking the divorce has filed an affidavit stating the couple has lived separate and apart for at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and
the defendant (the spouse that must respond to the divorce) does not deny the allegations set forth in the affidavit or denies one or more of the allegations set forth in the affidavit but, after notice and hearing, the court determines that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.