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Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Blog

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pennsylvania Shortens Waiting Period For No-Fault Divorces

What does this new divorce law mean for you?

Governor Tom Wolf recently signed a new law reducing the mandatory separation period for no-fault divorces. Previously, couples seeking divorce were forced to wait two years before filing for divorce. Under the new law, divorcing couples now only have to wait one year before filing for no-fault divorce.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tara Toohil, couples may begin allocating assets and assessing whether alimony is owed after the one year waiting period.  Once a couple has been living apart for one year, they may file an affidavit confirming that their marriage is irreparable.

Types of Divorce in Pennsylvania

The no-fault divorce is one of four types of divorce in Pennsylvania. These types include:

  1. Mutual no-fault – both spouses consent to the divorce
  2. Fault – one spouse has to prove the other spouse committed some wrongdoing
  3. Mental Incapacity – divorce is granted when one spouse has been committed to a mental hospital for at least 18 months and will remain for at least another 18 months

Why The Waiting Period on Pennsylvania No-fault Divorces?

So, why is there a waiting period for these no-fault divorces?  Well, legislators had originally believed that they were giving people time to reconcile their marriages.  It turns out though, that the long two-year waiting period had the opposite effect. Some spouses even used the wait period to intimidate their spouses into ending their pursuit of the divorce.

In reality, the two-year waiting period just prolongs the inevitable and tends to make the relationship worse, as couples just want to move on with their lives. The new one-year wait period makes it easier on families to transition financially and emotionally to a new life.

What to Do During Your Wait Period

Couples seeking to end their marriage through a no-fault divorce should take this time to work out issues such as:

  • Division of assets
  • Spousal Support
  • Child Support
  • Custody

The more issues that you and your spouse can agree on, the quicker and easier your divorce process will be.  By identifying issues that you agree on, you can also save money on legal fees.

Considering Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, the best favor you can do for yourself is to talk with an experienced divorce attorney.  Pennsylvania divorce attorney Gary R. Swavely, Jr. will talk you through your options and help you make an informed decision that is the best option for you and your family.  Call today for a consultation at (610) 816-6366.


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