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What are Pennsylvania’s eligibility requirements for divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2020 | Family Law |

While it may seem crazy, you and your spouse must meet Pennsylvania’s eligibility requirements for divorce if you decide to part ways. You must also show “grounds” for divorce, which basically means that you must cite a reason for the deterioration of your marriage.

The good news is that Pennsylvania has more lenient divorce requirements than many other states. For instance, the state does not have a mandatory separation period, which is typically six months to a year in states that do. It also does not require couples to attend marital counseling before filing, as Arkansas does, and you can remarry within six months if you so desire, which Wisconsin prohibits. However, the state does request that you meet certain criteria. SmartAsset details the eligibility requirements and grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania.

PA’s eligibility requirements for divorce

Pennsylvania only has two eligibility requirements for divorce, and they are fairly lenient at that. The first is that both spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing. The second is that you must file in the county where either you or your spouse lives. That is it. However, you must also show grounds for divorce.

Grounds for a PA divorce

Pennsylvania is one of the few remaining states that recognizes both no-fault and fault divorces. You and your spouse may file a no-fault divorce if both of you agree to end the marriage. However, if one party either objects or claims that the other is to blame for the end of the union, you must file a fault divorce.

The most common basis for a no-fault divorce is mutual agreement that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Other grounds include a mental disorder or insanity that causes one spouse to remain in an institution for at least 18 months and the assertion from one spouse that the marriage is unfixable. If you cite the latter reason, you must provide an affidavit confirming that you and your spouse have lived separately for two years.

The grounds for a fault divorce typically involve one or more indignities that make the life intolerable for the filing spouse. Those include but are not limited to adultery, desertion, cruel and unusual treatment, and bigamy.