What are Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania?
Spouses may have many reasons for wanting to get a divorce, but you also need to have grounds for divorce in the legal sense. Every US state has requirements for what a party must state in their initial filings, including the justification for ending the marriage. Pennsylvania law lists grounds for divorce, and the provisions allow for both fault and no-fault. Generally, a case may be fault-based when one spouse engaged in misconduct. No-fault divorce dissolves the marriage because of irreconcilable differences.
There are procedural differences for fault versus no-fault divorce, which is where the grounds for divorce come into play. In many cases, a party will have a choice about what to state in the petition, and you may benefit from opting for one or the other. It is essential to consult with a Lehighton divorce lawyer about your circumstances, so you can develop a strategy that supports your interests. Some information about grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania is also useful.
Fault in Pennsylvania Divorce: When one spouse has engaged in wrongdoing in connection with the marriage, a party can state fault-based grounds in the petition for divorce. Options include:
- Conviction of a crime that carries a sentence of two or more years in prison;
- Subjecting a spouse to indignities that make life intolerable.
However, a fault divorce can take longer to resolve because you may need to present evidence and testimony as proof. This means a court hearing, prolonging the case before you even get started. There is an exception for adultery, so you might go with a fault-based divorce if your spouse cheated. A judge is permitted to consider evidence of adultery when making decisions on alimony, among other factors.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce: When neither spouse accuses the other of conduct that led to the end of the marriage, you might opt for no-fault divorce. The parties and the court move on to address issues like property division, alimony, and child custody and support. There are different ways to approach a no-fault divorce:
- Mutual Consent: Both spouses agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and each has submitted a sworn statement consenting to dissolve it. The parties will need to wait at least 90 days after filing the petition.
- Separation: The case can become challenging if one spouse does not agree that the marriage is broken, and there are also no fault-based grounds. The person filing the divorce petition must include an affidavit that the spouses have lived separately for at least 12 months prior to filing. You will need to wait a year, which could affect your strategy.
Get Help from a Skilled Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney
As you can see, even if you could claim fault grounds for divorce, no-fault may be better for your needs. For more information about the process, please contact the Law Office of Kim M. Gillen, P.C. to set up a consultation with a divorce lawyer. Our team supports clients throughout Carbon County, PA, so we look forward to working with you.