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No Consent Divorce & the One-Year Separation Rule

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 5-Dec-2016

Before you can divorce in Pennsylvania, you must meet certain requirements. First, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months.

If you file for a mutual consent divorce in Pennsylvania, then the court may grant the divorce 90 days after the service of the complaint on the other spouse, and after you both file the Affidavits of Consent.

What if one of the spouses doesn't consent to the divorce? If only one of you wants the divorce, then the parties must live separate and apart for at least one year, or one year must have passed since the divorce action was filed- then the divorce may be granted if the court determines that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Both a mutual consent and a no consent divorce are considered no-fault grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania.

Does Pennsylvania have legal separation? As we mentioned above, if only one spouse consents to the divorce, then the couple must be separated for at least one year before a divorce can be granted. Note that in Pennsylvania, there is no such thing as a "legal separation" as there is in some other states.

In Pennsylvania and for the purposes of divorce, separation is simple: It means that you and your spouse are living separately and apart. This can mean under one roof or under two roofs. Separation can occur because both spouses agree to breakup, or it can mean that one spouse leaves the home, or one spouse is thrown out. Under some circumstances, a couple can be considered "separated" even if they are still living in the same home.

What if you want your spouse to leave but they won't leave? Under the law, your spouse has every right to be on the property that you both rent or own, unless a court of law says otherwise. If you decide to change the locks or lock your spouse out of the house, he or she can take legal action to regain entry to the property. However, if you are a victim of domestic violence, or if your spouse has threatened to harm you, then the court may order your spouse to leave the residence or stay away for up to three years.

Do you have further questions about how long it takes to get a divorce in Pennsylvania? If so, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation with a Pennsylvania no fault divorce lawyer!