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How Long Have I Been Legally Separated?

Posted By Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney || 16-Aug-2012

If you want to get a Pennsylvania divorce, you must first be "separated" from your spouse. If you have been separated less than 2 years, Pennsylvania divorce law requires a 90 day waiting period in order for your divorce to be final (called a "cooling off period"- in other words, time for you to change your mind about getting a Pennsylvania uncontested divorce). If you have been separated more than 2 years, then you do not have to wait the 90 day waiting period and we can get you a simple, uncontested, no-fault Pennsylvania divorce in as little as 14 days.

Many divorcing couples think that they can file for a "legal separation" in Pennsylvania, instead of a divorce. In fact, there is no such thing as a legal separation in Pennsylvania. Now wait, you think. How can you be required to be separated when there is no such thing as a legal separation for divorcing couples in Pennsylvania? When your divorce complaint is filed, you need to know your separation, and you will need to state what your separation date is if you have been separated more than 2 years.

The Pennsylvania divorce courts do not declare that you and your spouse are separated. The only reason that the court will get involved in determining when you and your spouse were separated is if you cannot agree to the date of your separation. If you and your spouse can agree on the date of your separation, then the court will take you both at your word and will accept the agreed-upon date of separation.

So, how do you know when you were separated? The answer is that you become separated when one spouse clearly and intentionally communicates to the other spouse that she/he no longer desires to remain married. The intent to be married can be determined by many different facts and circumstances. For example, filing for divorce is one way. So is leaving the marital residence with no intention of returning, or by telling your spouse verbally, in writing, or in a mailing. Not having marital relations, including sex, in another way.

Can you live together and still be separated? In a word- Yes. You can live together and still be separated. The Pennsylvania divorce courts realize that sometimes it is not practical for spouses to live apart for a number of reasons, including financial burdens, child-rearing reasons (baby sitting), and other reasons.

If you are now separated or are ready to be separated, and you're ready to file for a simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce, contact Attorney James Cairns for a free divorce consultation at 888.8636.9115.

For an immediate free virtual consultation click on The Divorce Wizard.

The Divorce Wizard will analyze and qualify your case for an online Pennsylvania simple, no-fault, uncontested divorce, calculate your legal fees, and file your case immediately. It's just like sitting in our office for a free consultation.