Divorce in PA:
Under Pennsylvania law, you possess the right to represent yourself in all legal matters, including divorce hearings. Although this is not suggested, it must be known.
Within the state, the Court of Common Pleas possess jurisdiction to reside over divorce cases. In a general sense, the Common Pleas court with jurisdiction over your specific divorce case is the court in the county where you or your spouse live. When you file No Fault Divorce papers in PA, you must state your grounds for dissolution for the court to attain jurisdiction. If not stated correctly, your spouse may file a motion to dismiss the petition for divorce.
Once your papers are filed, your spouse has 30 days (if your spouse resides in PA) and 60 days (if your spouse lives outside the state but in the country) or 90 days (if your spouse lives abroad) to respond to the request for divorce. If the responding spouse does not pose an answer for the complaint, the court will proceed with the filing so long as the service of process is completed correctly. You will not be required to appear before a court if your divorce is based on mutual consent or is filed as a No Fault Divorce in PA.
Residency Requirements for No Fault Divorce in PA:
The No Fault PA divorce process begins with the filing of a divorce complaint. This document must be be filed in the court of common pleas where you or your spouse lives. In this complaint or at the formal hearing, you must meet the state’s residency requirements. In PA, you or your spouse are required to live in Pennsylvania for a minimum of six months before the papers are filed. You may not file a No fault Divorce in PA until you have satisfied the six month residency requirement.
No Fault Divorce in PA Explained:
In Pennsylvania, there are two formal types of divorce: a fault-based divorce and a no-fault divorce. The fault grounds for divorce in PA are as follows:
• Malicious and willful desertion and absence from the marital residence, without reasonable cause, for at least one year
• Extreme cruelty, including perpetual acts of mental and/or physical cruelty that poses a threat or endangers your health or safety, or which makes living together unreasonable or improper
• Knowingly partaking in a bigamous marriage while a previous marriage is still active
• Sentenced to prison for a term of two years upon conviction of having committed a felony
• The imposition of indignities on the innocent spouse that renders that spouse’s condition intolerable and life insufferable
• Serious mental disorder or insanity resulting in confinement in a mental facility for at least eighteen months before the filing of the divorce petition.
All fault divorces in PA require a court testimony and the formal appearance by the accused party. In turn, a No Fault Divorce in PA does not require a court appearance.
No Fault Divorces in PA:
A no fault divorce in PA does not require the delivery of blame to either party; there is no reason or explanation needed to affirm the divorce. No fault divorces in PA may be granted for the following reasons:
Mutual Consent: a mutual consent divorce is granted when a marriage is deemed—by both spouses—to be irretrievably broken. Time periods vary between states, but the majority of jurisdictions require a minimum of 3 months to pass from the commencement of the marriage. To secure No Fault divorces in PA through mutual consent, an affidavit must be filed by each spouse evidencing that both individuals formally consent to the divorce.
Irretrievable Breakdown: No fault divorces in PA may also be granted if the couples agree that their marriage has reached a point of no return. If the spouses are living separately and apart for at least two years and the marriage is damaged beyond repair the state may grant a no fault divorce. To guarantee No fault Divorces in PA the defendant or receiving party must either:
• The defendant does not deny the allegations as set forth in the divorce papers or…
• The defendant may deny one or more of the allegations set forth in the divorce papers; however, after the notice and hearing, a state court will require the spouses to live separately for at least two years. The state will also require the marriage to be irreparably damaged.