Could being unhappy in a marriage be a valid ground for divorce?

Marriage doesn’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes, people end their marriages, even after many years together—and that’s ok. What matters most is your happiness, which might not be found in your current marriage.

But does being unhappy count as a valid reason for divorce in Pennsylvania?

You can file for a no-fault divorce

In Pennsylvania, a divorce doesn’t necessarily require proof of fault, like adultery or abuse. The state recognizes what’s known as “no-fault” divorce. In this type of divorce, couples can part ways without blaming each other. There are a few grounds for a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania, including mutual consent, where both parties agree it may not be possible to fix the marriage, and institutionalization, which applies if your spouse has been confined to a mental institution for at least 18 months with no prospect of discharge.

However, the ground most relevant to your situation could be the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. State law does not explicitly list being unhappy in a marriage as a legal ground for divorce. But, if your unhappiness leads you to conclude that you cannot repair your marriage, this could contribute to the grounds for a no-fault divorce.

Knowing your legal options

Even if one party does not agree, you can still potentially file for a no-fault divorce. If you and your spouse have lived separately for at least one year and you believe you cannot repair your marriage, you can still file for divorce on these grounds. In this situation, it might be time to take the following steps.

Filing for a no-fault divorce could become the first step towards finding your happiness again. When you feel ready, consulting with a legal professional may be beneficial. They can help you understand the divorce process in Pennsylvania and make informed decisions about your future.

Remember, it’s not about assigning blame or dwelling on past mistakes. It’s about taking steps towards a happier, healthier future for yourself.


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