The great majority of Pennsylvania divorces are “no-fault” divorces, meaning the grounds involve the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, rather than fault grounds such as adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, personal indignities or other fault-based grounds that must be proven.
There are two kinds of no-fault divorce:
- If both parties agree to the divorce, they can obtain a no-fault divorce. After one party files for the divorce and 90 days has passed after the complaint is served on the other spouse, each party may file an Affidavit of Consent to divorce. A party may also work out any property issues by coming to an agreement on how to deal with marital property in a Property Settlement Agreement. The court rules require parties to file a series of legal documents to complete the divorce. This is the quickest way to divorce in Pennsylvania, but it requires the cooperation of both parties.
- Unilateral no-fault divorce is available if one of the spouses will not consent to the divorce but the parties have been living “separate and apart” for at least two years and the marriage is irretrievably broken. There may be disagreement between the parties about when they started living separate and apart. Parties may not be able to obtain a unilateral divorce if there are outstanding issues related to property division.