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Does Pennsylvania Have Legal Separation?

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 16-Jul-2018

Some states, such as California allow married couples to get legally separated as an alternative to divorce. In California for example, a married couple can get legally separated to give themselves time to see if they want a divorce, or if they don’t believe in divorce, they can get legally separated instead and remain that way indefinitely.

In the meantime, the California family courts can issue orders regarding child custody, child support, asset and debt division, and spousal support. So, can Pennsylvania couples get legally separated like couples in places like California?

No Legal Separation in Pennsylvania

Unlike California and other states that have laws on the books about legal separation, Pennsylvania does not allow for legal separations. In Pennsylvania, if you’re “separated” from your spouse, it means the two of you are living separate and apart, whether you’re living in two households or even under the same roof (under some circumstances).

Separation between married spouses can occur when:

  • The couple mutually agrees to get a divorce.
  • One spouse kicks the other spouse out of the house.
  • One spouse voluntarily moves out of the house.

Divorce Requirements in Pennsylvania

In order to get a divorce in Pennsylvania, you have to meet certain requirements. For starters, you must meet the residency requirement. To meet the residency requirement, you or your spouse, or both of you, must have lived here for six months before you can file for divorce.

Second, you must be “separated” for one yearbefore you can file for divorce. If you are still living together, this can get a bit tricky, especially if you’re still having marital relations and sleeping in the same bed. While it’s best for the spouses to be living in separate households, if that’s not convenient, we advise sleeping in separate bedrooms and living separate lives – no date nights and no more dinners with friends “as a couple.”

Once you break up and decide to get a no-fault divorce, you want to make sure that you are no longer behaving as a married couple, otherwise it could delay your divorce proceedings and derail the one-year waiting period imposed by the courts.

Related: Why is the Date of Separation Important?

To learn more about the separation requirements for divorce in Pennsylvania and our $219 divorces, contact Cairns Law Offices today!