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What are the two types of divorce in Pennsylvania?

When a Pennsylvania couple decides to divorce, they are frequently unaware of the options available to end their marriage. In this state, there are two types of divorce: a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce. In general, people who are seeking to end the marriage as quickly and as free of legal issues as possible will use a no-fault divorce. However, there are times when a fault divorce is the strategy to take.

A no-fault divorce can be used if both parties agree to the divorce. When one party files for divorce and 90 days have gone by after the other spouse has been served, the parties can file what is known as an Affidavit of Consent. It is also possible for the parties to settle any property issues with a Property Settlement Agreement. With a no-fault divorce, the case can be concluded relatively quickly, but the parties are required to settle certain matters together without any disagreements coming to the forefront.

There can also be a no-fault divorce even if one of the spouses does not agree to the action. Alternatively known as unilateral or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, the parties must have been living apart for a minimum of two years and the marriage must be broken without hope of salvaging it. The divorce cannot be granted until the two years have passed. The two-year rule was recently changed so that people who were separated beginning on December 5, 2016, only need to wait one year.

A fault divorce must have justification such as cruelty, abuse, violence, adultery, incarceration, bigamy and other issues. No matter the circumstances and level of dispute, getting a divorce in Pennsylvania can be confusing and emotional. Because it is such a tumultuous time, having an attorney who is experienced in divorce is imperative.

Source: courts.phila.gov, "Divorce In Philadelphia County," accessed on April 18, 2017

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