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What to Know About Getting a Divorce in Pennsylvania

a young couple sitting on a park bench and make war

Are you preparing to file for divorce in Pennsylvania? The following is some basic information you should know before beginning the process.

Filing requirements

To file for divorce in Pennsylvania, one or both spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months. The plaintiff may file the “Complaint for Divorce” or a “Petition of Annulment” in court in the county in which either spouse resides or where both spouses have agreed in writing to proceed with the divorce. The plaintiff must provide notice to the defendant by serving him or her with the divorce complaint.

Grounds for divorce

Pennsylvania courts will grant divorces with or without fault-based grounds. No-fault grounds include the following:

  • Serious mental disorder or insanity resulting in institutionalization for at least 18 months, without a reasonable prospect of discharge within the 18 months following the divorce filing
  • Mutual consent (irretrievable breakdown of marriage)
  • One party alleges irretrievable breakdown and they have lived separately for at least one year

Fault-based grounds include the following:

  • Willful and/or malicious desertion, along with absence from the home of the spouse without cause for at least a year
  • Adultery
  • Abusive treatment
  • Bigamy
  • Conviction for a crime and imprisonment for at least two years

Property division

Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, and so the court will divide and distribute marital property between the parties without regard to misconduct in the marriage. The percentages and types of distribution will proceed as the court deems fair after considering all factors, including income, child custody, standard of living and special needs.

Marital property is any property obtained during a marriage. It typically does not include property each spouse owned before the marriage commenced.

For the sound legal advice you need when seeking a divorce in Pennsylvania, contact a trusted Ambridge family law attorney at Bowers & Fawcett, LLC.

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