Divorce can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are twenty frequently asked questions about divorce in Pennsylvania.

Related: 7 Steps to the Pennsylvania Divorce Process

What is the Divorce Waiting Period?

Pennsylvania has a mandatory divorce waiting period of 90 days for uncontested divorces, meaning a couple must wait 90 days after filing for divorce to submit the rest of the paperwork. After filing all documents after this period, a court can grant dissolution to a marriage.

Related: How to File for Divorce in Pennsylvania

How long do you have to be separated from your spouse to get a divorce?

Spouses must consent or prove their separation for one year to a Pennsylvania court to get a no-fault divorce.

Is Pennsylvania a 50/50 divorce state?

Pennsylvania follows the theory of “equitable distribution” when dividing marital assets in a divorce. Equitable distribution considers many factors and determines what is fair for each case. Pennsylvania is not a community property state which attempts to divide assets equally.

Related: Dividing Property in a Pennsylvania Divorce

Can I obtain a fault divorce in Pennsylvania?

Yes, fault-based divorces are allowed in Pennsylvania. However, if you seek a fault-based divorce, you cannot file an uncontested divorce. Fault-based divorces in Pennsylvania require a couple to attend a hearing before a judge or proper authority.

What are the two types of no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, a person can obtain a no-fault divorce through an uncontested divorce or a two-year separation divorce. In 2016, Pennsylvania updated the two-year waiting period to one year. The mutual consent divorce, also known as an uncontested divorce, requires a couple to wait 90 days after a spouse files for divorce to finalize the divorce. A spouse may seek a one-year separation divorce if they can prove to a court they have been separated for one-year to unilaterally obtain a ”no-fault” divorce without the other spouse’s consent.

What are the grounds for a fault divorce in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, six grounds for a fault divorce include cruel and inhuman treatment, bigamy, imprisonment for a crime, indignities, desertion, and adultery.

Can I date while separated in Pennsylvania?

While adultery is grounds for seeking a fault divorce in Pennsylvania, you can freely date during separation.

Should I move out of the house before seeking a divorce?

There is no correct answer for whether one should move out during a divorce. However, you may want to move out to ease marital tensions. Before moving out, it is important to understand your rights and obligations during divorce proceedings. Consider the reasons for moving out of the marital home during a Pennsylvania divorce when deciding whether it is the right move for you.

How long does the average divorce take in Pennsylvania?

The average divorce ranges between 90 days and 12 months, depending on if the divorce is fault or no-fault. Contested divorces, on average, take between 5-12 months, while uncontested divorces take 4-6 months.

How long is the mandatory waiting period for a Pennsylvania divorce?

The mandatory waiting period for a no-fault divorce is 90 days before dissolution.

Can my spouse and I have the same attorney?

Pennsylvania allows one attorney to represent both parties in a divorce so long as they sign a waiver of acknowledgment for signing away their right to a separate attorney and authorizing the arrangement.

How is custody determined in Pennsylvania divorce?

Judges consider many factors when determining during custody arrangements, including:

  • Parietal duties,
  • If one party prevents a child’s contact with another parent,
  • The child’s continued education needs,
  • The child’s sibling relationships (if applicable),
  • Which parent is more readily available to attend day-to-day activities,
  • The parents’ proximity of residences,
  • The parents’ level of conflict
  • Possible history of drug or alcohol abuse and/or
  • The spouses’ mental and physical condition.

How does a prenup affect my divorce?

Prenuptial agreements in Pennsylvania address the same issues as a divorce order usually does. Couples often tailor prenups to each of their needs and often outline asset division and liabilities before marriage.

Can I kick my spouse out of the house in Pennsylvania during a divorce?

Pennsylvania law entitles both spouses to their jointly owned or rented marital property. In most circumstances, the court will not evict one spouse if the couple can live together peacefully.

How does domestic abuse affect divorce in Pennsylvania?

Domestic abuse can affect divorce in Pennsylvania. Child custody agreements can be significantly reduced for the abusive spouse or terminated completely during divorce proceedings in Pennsylvania. Domestic abuse is also grounds for obtaining a fault-based divorce in Pennsylvania.

What is a 3301 D divorce in Pennsylvania?

As of 2016, Pennsylvania signed Act 102 of 2016, which reduces the mandatory waiting period for unilateral, no-fault divorces to one year. During this time, a couple must prove to live separately and apart. While couples living “separate and apart” can still live in the same household, it is easier to prove if couples no longer share the same address.

Can I get a contested fault divorce?

Both fault and no-fault divorces can be contested in Pennsylvania if both spouses do not agree on the terms of their divorce.

Does mental health affect custody rights?

Having a mental illness in Pennsylvania does not disqualify a parent from obtaining custody or visitation rights. However, courts consider the severity of a spouse’s mental illness and the treatment.

Do I need a lawyer for my divorce?

You can represent yourself during divorce in Pennsylvania. However, representing oneself does not qualify for exemption from understanding the statewide and local Rules of Court. The court holds all self-represented citizens to the same standards as bar-certified Pennsylvania attorneys.

How are Pennsylvania divorce laws unique?

The Consolidated Statutes Title 23 Chapter 33 outlines the rules for the dissolution of marriage in Pennsylvania. Provisions included for the dissolution of marital status in Pennsylvania are as follows:

  • 3301. Grounds for divorce
  • 3302. Counseling
  • 3303. Annulment of void and voidable marriages
  • 3304. Grounds for annulment of void marriages
  • 3305. Grounds for annulment of voidable marriages
  • 3306. Proceedings to determine marital status
  • 3307. Defenses
  • 3308. Action where defendant suffering from a mental disorder
  • 3309. General appearance and collusion

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