Will fault affect your Pennsylvania divorce?

If you decide to file for divorce in Pennsylvania, you may feel your spouse’s actions led to the end of the marriage. In some cases, you can file for a fault-based divorce.

Review the state’s criteria for fault and no-fault divorce if you have considered splitting from your partner.

Fault-based divorce

If you want a fault-based divorce, your divorce petition must state that your partner abandoned you for at least 12 months; committed adultery, domestic violence or bigamy; or received a sentence to serve at least 24 months in prison.

If you receive a fault-based divorce, it will not affect property division. You and your spouse must divide marital property fairly regardless of whose actions ended the marriage. However, the judge can increase the amount of spousal support you receive in this type of divorce or prevent your spouse from receiving spousal support if he or she was at fault.

No-fault divorce

Pennsylvania does not require you to give a reason when you file a divorce petition. In this case, select the irreconcilable differences option in your paperwork.

You can try to come to an agreement about property division and other issues outside of court. If you can do so, you can present your divorce agreement to your local family law court for approval without a hearing after a 90-day waiting period.

In some cases, your spouse may not agree to grant a divorce. You can receive a divorce when your spouse does not sign, but you must first complete a two-year separation period.


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