Pennsylvania Divorce Laws 8

Divorce Law Basics in the State of Pennsylvania

Also See: Pennsylvania Marriage Laws

Statute: Pennsylvania State Divorce Code (Title 23, Part IV)

No-Fault Grounds:

  • Mutual consent when the marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the time of filing
  • Irretrievable breakdown and the parties have lived apart for at least two years

At-Fault Grounds:

  • Willful and malicious desertion without reason for a period of one or more years
  • Adultery
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment endangering the life or health of the spouse
  • Bigamy
  • Imprisonment for two or more years
  • Behavior that renders the condition intolerable and life burdensome

Residency: Either party must be a resident of the state for at least 6 months prior to filing and:

  • The action is brought in the county where the defendant resides; or
  • The action is brought in the county where the plaintiff resides if the defendant resides outside the Commonwealth; or
  • The action is brought in the county of matrimonial domicile if the plaintiff has continuously resided in the county; or
  • The action is filed after six months after the date of final separation where either party resides

Counseling Requirements: The court shall require the parties to attend parenting education classes if a minor child is involved.

Property Distribution: Pennsylvania relies on “equitable distribution” so the court will distribute the marital property “in an equitable manner if the parties can’t agree on their own.Separate property (property acquired prior to the marriage, as a gift or through inheritance) is not included in property distribution. Fault is not considered.

Alimony: Alimony may be awarded to either party at the discretion of the court. Fault is considered.


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