What are the Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania?

November 8, 2019

Couples who tie the knot usually expect to stay married for a lifetime. However, that is not always the case. When divorce is the only option left, you and your soon to be ex-spouse may have questions about the process of going your own separate ways. To file for a divorce in Pennsylvania, one or both spouses must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing. Residency in Pennsylvania is defined as physically living in a location with the intention of staying there indefinitely. When both parties agree that they want a divorce, they can file a complaint and wait 90-days for the divorce to finalize. To file a complaint, both parties will need to write a letter explaining that the marriage is broken and cannot be fixed.

In a fault-based divorce, one party must file a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas against the other spouse. After the paperwork is finalized, both parties will present their case in court. The court will then make decisions about custody if there are children involved, as well as assets.

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania

A no-fault divorce is when both parties agree to divorce due to the marriage falling apart. No-fault divorce grounds include:

  • Both parties agreeing that the marriage is broken and cannot be fixed.
  • A mental disorder or insanity that has led to one spouse being confined to a mental institution for at least 18 months, with little to no chance of the spouse being released in 18 months following the divorce.
  • An allegation from one spouse that the marriage is broken as well as proof that both spouses have been living apart for a minimum of two years.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania

A fault-based divorce occurs when an allegation from one spouse blames the other spouse for the failed marriage. Fault-based grounds include:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Abandonment of the spouse with no reason for at least one year
  • Cruel treatment of the other spouse, including endangering their life
  • Other circumstances that make the life of the other spouse intolerable

Alimony After a Divorce

A judge may rule that one spouse pay alimony to another spouse after a divorce. Many considerations go into deciding how much one spouse will need to pay to the other spouse. Considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The assets and liabilities of you and your spouse
  • The relative need of you and your spouse
  • Whether the spouse seeking alimony can self-support through employment
  • The source of income for you and your spouse

West Chester Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Represent Clients Filing for Divorce

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, you need an experienced lawyer who will fight to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact West Chester divorce lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Our lawyers will fight tirelessly for your rights. For an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.