What Are Some Pennsylvania State Divorce Laws?


Quick Answer

Pennsylvania divorce laws include a six-month residency requirement for at least one of the spouses, both no-fault and fault-based grounds for the action, and provisions for equitable distribution of property, according to HG.org. Other laws allow the award of alimony and make provisions for child support and custody.

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Full Answer

Pennsylvania divorce law does not recognize legal separation, notes HG.org. However, the law allows separated spouses to enter into a separation and property settlement agreement that details the division of real and personal property, spousal and child support, health and life insurance arrangements, and custody and visitation of minor children.

The law allows three no-fault grounds for divorce, explains WomensLaw.org. Mutual consent is the most common no-fault grounds, where both parties agree to the divorce. The institutionalization of a spouse for mental illness is another basis for divorce and one party alleging the marriage is irretrievably broken while living apart from the spouse for at least two years is yet another.

Fault-based grounds for divorce under Pennsylvania law include desertion, adultery, cruel and barbarous treatment, bigamy, conviction of a crime with imprisonment of at least two years and unbearable living conditions. The petitioning spouse must be innocent of wrongdoing to be granted a fault-based divorce, notes the Neighborhood Legal Services Association.

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