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No-Fault vs. Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 13-Aug-2018

Some states, such as California and Nevada are called “no-fault” divorce states. Pennsylvania on the other hand, lets divorcing parties choose between no-fault and fault-based divorces.

If you decide to pursue a no-fault divorce, you will have to be separated from your spouse for one year before you can file the divorce complaint. Once the one-year separation period passes and you file for a no-fault divorce, you can achieve a divorce in as little as 90 days.

If you opt for a fault-based divorce, you will have to prove: 1) that you are innocent, 2) that you are injured, and 3) that your spouse’s misconduct is the reason for the breakdown of your marriage. The fault grounds are as follows:

  • Adultery
  • Domestic violence
  • Bigamy
  • Insanity
  • Desertion
  • Conviction of a crime

To pursue a fault-based divorce, you must truly be innocent and injured and you must be able to prove this to the court. If you fail to convince the court that you’re a victim, or if your spouse convinces the court that what you claim is not true, your spouse may be able to prevent the divorce. Your spouse may even try to prove that your claims are false.

What If My Spouse Doesn’t Want a Divorce?

Suppose you don’t want to file a fault-based divorce because it sounds like too much of an inconvenience. But, at the same time you’re not sure if your spouse will agree to a no-fault divorce. What happens next? If you want to file a no-fault divorce, it’s very important that you and your spouse live separate and apart for at least one year.

Related: Why is the Date of Separation Important?

Essentially, if you want a divorce and your spouse doesn’t, the best plan of action is to make it clear that you want a divorce by living separate and apart. After you’ve been separated for one year, all you need to do is show the court that your marriage is irretrievably broken.

At Cairns Law Offices, we help spouses file mutual consent, no-fault divorces for just $219. To learn more, contact us today.