Do you have the desire to file for divorce? If you recently moved to Pennsylvania, you may have to wait a certain number of months before you file. Why? Because of the state’s “residency requirement” to file for divorce. Many, if not all states have laws on the books that state someone must live in that particular state for a certain length of time before they can file for divorce, and there are valid reasons for this practice.
You see, each state has different divorce laws. California, for example, is a community property state, which means each spouse is automatically entitled to 50 percent of the marital estate unless there is a prenuptial agreement that says otherwise. If a California couple were to move to an equitable distribution state like Pennsylvania, the property division laws might be less favorable for the lower-earning spouse.
Another example is how states vary on their views about adultery. In some states, a cheating spouse can lose their right to alimony (spousal support) for cheating, while in other states, adultery will not bar a cheating spouse from receiving alimony. So, one reason for a residency requirement is to ensure that spouses don’t strategically file for divorce in states with laws that will be more “favorable” in light of their particular circumstances.
Residency Requirement in Pennsylvania
Under Section 3104(b) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, you cannot file for divorce or annulment in Pennsylvania unless you or your spouse have been a bona fide resident of the Commonwealth for at least six months immediately before filing the divorce action.
Do you have further questions about filing for divorce in Pennsylvania and how the state’s divorce laws apply to you and your particular situation? If so, contact Cairns Law Offices – we specialize in cheap, no-fault divorces for just $249.