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couple divorce

There are four basic types of divorce in Pennsylvania. The approach a couple chooses, along with their wealth of assets and the complexity of their case, will determine how long the process takes. Keep reading to understand your options.

Mutual Consent Divorce

Mutual consent is the most common type of divorce in Pennsylvania. To pursue such a divorce, both spouses must:

  • Agree to dissolve their marriage
  • Sign an affidavit swearing that their relationship is irretrievably broken
  • Wait 90 days

After the mandatory waiting period, the couple’s divorce will be finalized.


Fault divorces are a more complicated approach to dissolving a marriage and may only be granted in certain cases. Traditional grounds for fault include:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Cruelty
  • Desertion
  • Incarceration for two or more years
  • Indignities

The accusing spouse must present compelling evidence of fault to the court when they file for divorce. A court official will review their submission and decide whether the grounds are valid. If they are, the divorce will move forward. If not, the accusing spouse may either appeal the decision or file for a no fault divorce.

If both parties are found to be at fault in some way, they can be granted a divorce under the “comparative rectitude” doctrine.

By pursuing a fault-based divorce, couples are able to avoid the standard 90-day waiting period associated with no-fault divorces. However, they are more expensive, as each spouse is now responsible for court fees.

Divorce After Institutionalization

If your spouse has been institutionalized for a mental disorder, you may be eligible for a divorce following institutionalization. To qualify, your partner must have been admitted for at least 18 months and have no plan for discharge within the coming 18 months. After the waiting period, you may file for divorce without appearing in court.

Irretrievable Breakdown

If you and your spouse have already moved into separate residences, you could qualify for a no-fault divorce. After one year of living apart, only one spouse will need to file the affidavit claiming the marriage is over.

Cairns Law Offices can help you pursue the divorce best suited for your unique case. Call us at (888) 863-9115 or contact us online to start the process with a free consultation.

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