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Fault Vs. No-Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

What is a Fault-Based Divorce?

You can file for a fault-based divorce if your spouse's actions are the direct reason you're seeking a divorce. If your spouse has been unfaithful, violent, or absent, a fault-based divorce could be right for you.

What are Grounds for a Fault Divorce?

Title 23 in Pennsylvania law outlines the following grounds for a fault divorce. You can file for a fault-based divorce if your spouse:

  • Committed adultery.
  • Committed “malicious desertion” without cause for one or more years.
  • Endangered your life or health “by cruel or barbarous treatment.”
  • Knowingly and willfully committed bigotry.
  • Committed “indignities” to you that made your day-to-day “condition intolerable and life burdensome.”

To file for divorce under one of these grounds, you may have to provide evidence or proof to the court about the intolerable conditions of your marriage. It's also likely that your spouse will dispute these grounds or refuse to cooperate with the divorce process.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, meaning married couples can file for a divorce without proving fault on the part of either spouse. You can file for a divorce because you and your spouse have agreed that your relationship is irreparably broken, and you no longer wish to be married.

What are the Requirements for a No-Fault Divorce?

You can file for a no-fault divorce here in Bucks County under one of two types: mutual consent or a one-year separation.

Mutual Consent is a no-fault divorce in which you and your spouse agree to end your marriage 90 days after the date the divorce complaint is filed.  The divorce does not happen automatically after those 90 days, but it allows the parties to ask for a final decree once all of the property issues have been resolved by agreement or through the court process.

A one-year separation is a no-fault divorce that occurs after you and your spouse have been separated for one-year.  Separation in Pennsylvania does not require spouses to be living in separate homes.  The assumed date of separation is the sooner date of the parties living in separate homes or the date the divorce complaint is filed.  There are ways to prove earlier dates of separation under certain circumstances, and Susan has the knowledge and expertise to help guide you on when and how to pursue a case when there is a dispute regarding date of separation.

No-Fault Vs. Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce differs from a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania because an uncontested divorce requires three things: state residency, agreement between you and your spouse about the grounds for your divorce, and agreement on the issues in your divorce.

An uncontested divorce would require you and your spouse to agree to all conditions of the divorce, including variables like child custody, child support, and alimony, before submitting your divorce request to the court.

In a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse do not need to have already agreed upon these variables and may contest the conditions in court. A no-fault divorce requires you to agree upon, or establish, the grounds of your divorce, not necessarily all the conditions.

Contact a Bucks County Divorce Lawyer Today

When you're ready to end your marriage here in Bucks County, you need a strong divorce lawyer like Susan Gibson to help protect your best interests. Contact us at (267) 337-6524 to inquire about an appointment at our convenient Doylestown office.

Contact Us Today

Gibson Family Law is committed to representing you in Divorce, Equitable Distribution, Child Custody, Child Support, Spousal Support/APL, and Alimony matters. Gibson Family Law also has extensive experience with Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, and family law issues specific to the LGBTQ community in Pennsylvania.

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.