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.


  • Ashlan

    The parties HAVE to be living apart for two years to file a no fault divorce.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ashlan. That’s partly true, yes. As the article above states, under “No Fault Grounds,” if the parties are going to claim “Irretrievable breakdown,” then they must have lived apart for at least two years. The other grounds are: “Mutual consent when the marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the time of filing”

    • JOANN

      I owned property,good credit ,before I married now im left with nothing and he wants a no fault divorce. there are thousands of dollars in marital debt,he is filing because he has to pay support.What are my rights.what do i do.

  • sas

    My son is 16 and could possibly have gotten a 16 yr old pregnant. How can I make sure that a paternity test is done after birth or a prenatal done if the mother must get an amniocentesis for some reason? Can we (parents) be held responsible for any support/etc?

  • stupid

    Does Pennsylvania allow for Bifurcated Divorce when one side is stalling and the action is 7 years old and going no where?

  • Rick

    Is it true that in Pennsylvania a 7% reduction of the home takes place prior to distribution of the equity?

  • bobby

    as i work in the legal profession, before our marriage i was able to find my wife a lawyer to handle a legal malpractice suit (not so easy to find a good lawyer who will sue an esteemed firm). my wife won the suit after our marriage and corresponding awards were distributed during the marriage. are those awards considered marital assets for purposes of equitable distribution per pennsylvania divorce law?

  • jamie

    I have been married for 15 years and been together for 18. We have a sixteen year old son together. We have separated twice before due to the fact my husband has very bad anger problems along with verbally abusive and has slapped me in the face a couple of times lately. after we separate he comes crying back saying he will change and stupid me believes it it only last about a month then he is right back at it only it keeps getting worse each time. Now we just separated again actually he got mad cause lately prob. for last year or so ive been going out with my friends one night a week but also he goes out with his friends too but he says im married and should not be out without him 3 months ago while i was out he packed my stuff and threw it out side and changed the locks.he is a very controlling person check my phone records, what shows i watch while he is in bed. I know nothing about our finances cause he hides everything and has his own checking account he said its none of my business and to do my part and clean and cook and do laundry but again stupid me my son is still there so i have been going over and cleaning and ect… again and have been for the 3 months. My sons dad is bribing him said if he leaves they won;t have time to work on his car, and gave him a motorcycle. ect. he lets him do and live like he is an adult and i feel like i have no say so in this matter I don’t want to drag him into this mess. anyway last week we got into another fight and he kick me out again. The house we lived in for last five years is in his moms and dads name but its actual his but because of us separating twice before his mom doesn’t want my name on it. So anyway he was threatening me that i was not to be dating anyone cause we were still married which was fine was planning on it and i find out couple days ago he is dating someone and has had sex with her. Im going to talk to an attorney on monday but just wanted some advice. he has everything i have nothing he makes about 51 thousand a year and im on unemployment only making 480.00 a month. Please help