Pennsylvania is a state that does not have a formal process for couples to go through a legal separation. In other words, if people want to end their married lives together, they will need to file for a divorce. Pennsylvania’s divorce process can take some time. Even if the couple agrees on divorcing, there is at least a 90-day waiting period.
If one spouse does not want a divorce for whatever reason, the couple must live separate and apart for one year. “Separate and apart” is a legal term that basically means a couple is either living in separate homes or, at least, living as if no longer in a marital relationship.
The only other alternative is to prove that the divorce is the other spouse’s responsibility because, for example, they committed adultery, are facing a prison term or engaged in abusive behavior toward the spouse.
Waiting months or even years to finalize a divorce is a long time to go without legal protection. In these situations, a Westmoreland County couple may want to negotiate what is called a separation agreement and file it with the appropriate court. This agreement can cover topics like custody and visitation, the division of property and alimony and child support. Once filed, it is an enforceable contract that both sides must follow.
One obvious drawback is that the couple has to agree on all terms in order to file a separation agreement. If either side does not want to sign, the alternative is to go through the divorce process as quickly as possible.
Greensburg residents may have other reasons for wanting a separation agreement
Separation agreements are good ways for people to protect themselves and their families while they are waiting to get divorced. In other situations, one or both of the spouses may not wish to go forward with a divorce for religious, emotional, financial or other reasons.
Depending on their circumstances, a separation agreement or other postnuptial agreement may be a good option for people under these circumstances as well.