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One-Year Waiting Period for Pennsylvania Divorce

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 25-Jun-2018

Are you considering filing for a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania? If so, you’ll need to file a divorce complaint in the court, which will be served against your husband or wife. However, before you can file the divorce complaint, you must be living separate and apart from your spouse for one year before you can file for divorce.

Prior to December 5, 2016, spouses in Pennsylvania had to be living separate and apart for two years before one of them could file for divorce, but fortunately the two-year waiting period has been reduced to one-year, effective December 5, 2016.

What changed? In 2016, the Pennsylvania General Assembly amended the previous two-year requirement, reducing the required separation time to one year.

Do We Have to Be Legally Separated?

While some states, such as California allow for a “legal separation,” Pennsylvania does not have such a law on the books. In Pennsylvania, married couples cannot become legally separated. “Separation simply means that you and your spouse are living separate and part, whether under the same roof or otherwise,” according to pabar.org.

If you are still living with your spouse and you’re wondering about your “date of separation,” we recommend contacting our firm to discuss your living situation. If you’re still sleeping in the same bedroom and telling others you’re a couple, this may not be enough for the court to consider you “separated” for the purposes of obtaining a divorce.

On the other hand, if you’re not going on dates, if you are sleeping in separate rooms, and you’re both telling people that you’re getting divorced, the court may consider you separated, even if you’re still living in the same residence.

Once you file for a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must wait 90 daysfrom the date the divorce complaint was served before filing the consent forms, Form 5a and 5b, where you both state that you consent to the divorce.

Related: Why is the Date of Separation Important?

We hope this clears up your questions about the one-year and 90-day waiting periods. To file a no fault divorce for just $219, contact Cairns Law Offices today!