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What Does No-Fault Divorce Mean in PA?Couple Getting a Divorce

In Pennsylvania, a no-fault divorce is a dissolution of marriage in which neither party blames the other for the breakdown of their union. This allows the couple to achieve a more peaceful and dignified divorce because neither person has to prove their spouse's guilt to a court.

The no-fault method allows the divorce decree to be processed in as little as 14 days if both spouses agree to and sign the decree. You should go to The Divorce Wizard for a free case analysis and see how long it will take in your situation.

How long does divorce take in PA? Click here to learn more about the starting the divorce process.

Although Pennsylvania does not recognize any form of legal separation, a no-fault decree can be filed without one spouse's consent if the marriage is irreparably broken and the couple has been separated for a minimum of two years.

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At the Cairns Law Offices, we handle no-fault, uncontested divorces exclusively. The Cairns Method of Obtaining an Internet-Based Divorce℠ allows our clients to achieve a simple divorce quickly and at the most affordable price possible in the state of Pennsylvania: $249 complete, including legal fees and court costs. There are no hidden fees. Our experienced lawyer uses technology to ensure that your divorce is processed accurately and quickly, and you will receive regular updates on the status of your divorce.

If you are interested in a Pennsylvania no-fault divorce, you can find out more about the professional services we offer:

  • Child Custody
    Though our firm does not offer representation in child custody battles; we do handle divorces in which both spouses agree on the details of custody after their divorce. We can prepare a child custody agreement to simplify the divorce process.
  • Debt Division
    It is common for couples to have debt when they divorce. In this type of situation, the couple must determine if they will work together to repay the debts after their divorce or split the debts to avoid contact once the divorce is finalized. To eliminate the conflict that arises from miscommunication or misunderstanding, an attorney from our firm can prepare a debt division settlement agreement.
  • Family Law
    We understand that divorce is difficult on families, which is why we have made the process as simple and affordable as possible. Our internet-based approach to no-fault divorce helps our clients obtain quick divorces so that their families can begin their new lives sooner.
  • Military Divorce
    When one or both spouses are active in the United States military, there can be unique challenges to obtaining a divorce. Our experienced attorney works with clients seeking military divorces to find the best solutions to their special situations. We are committed to processing our clients' military divorces as soon as possible.
  • Preparing Settlement Agreements
    A legal agreement between divorcing spouses that specifies what will happen to children or any shared property after the divorce is finalized can reduce conflict and confusion. Hiring our firm to prepare a settlement agreement guarantees that both parties are clear on the settlement specifics.
  • Property Division
    When a couple divorces; they must choose the best way to divide their property. Once they have decided how their property will be divided, our lawyer can prepare a property division agreement. This legally binding document ensures that both parties respect the agreement that was reached.


The quick answer is "not necessarily." In Pennsylvania, there are two kinds of divorces: "no-fault" and "fault" based " divorces. At Cairns Law Offices, we handle "No-fault" divorces" where your spouse is cooperative and will sign the divorce paperwork. You need to know where your spouse resides so you can "serve" him/her the divorce complaint. These kinds of divorces are sometimes called simple divorces or uncontested divorces, and are by far the easiest and most affordable way to get divorced in Pennsylvania. The divorce complaint must state that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

  • If you have been separated for less than 1 year, then you can get divorced under section 3301(c) of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. There is a 90 day waiting period (called a "cooling off" period) that begins once your spouse signs an acceptance of serviced of the divorce complaint that we will prepare for you. If your is cooperative and will sign all divorce paperwork, then we can get you this type of divorce in as little as 3.5-4 months if you use our RUSH divorce service.
  • If you have been separated 1 year or more, then you can get divorced under section 3301(d) of the Pennsylvania Divorce Dode. With a 3301(d) divorce, you do not have the 90 day waiting period. In addition, we use a special waiver that allows the divorce to move along even faster. The fastest divorce decree we have obtained for our clients is 14 days from the court filing date to the granting of the Pennsylvania divorce decree. Normally, however, it takes about 4-8 weeks for the divorce decree to be granted by the court if you use our RUSH divorce service.

If you are looking to obtain a "fault" based Pennsylvania divorce, there are several possible grounds upon which to file, including indignities, adultery, desertion and other marital wrongs. If you are the defendant in a fault-based divorce there are defenses that you can claim, as well. Some defenses for "fault" divorce include "condonation" ( where your spouse has forgiven you by moving back in the same home with you, or by having sexual relations with you again) and "recrimination" (this is where your spouse (the accusing party) is also guilty of acts which would be grounds for a fault-based divorce.

The grounds may be the same acts that you were accused of doing, such as desertion or committing adultery). The reason for fault-based divorces is related to one party trying to get a favorable property division. Fault-based divorces tend to cost the most, since lawyers are often involved and battles can be long and stressful.

Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Pennsylvania?

Contrary to popular belief, it does not matter who files for divorce first, as long as both spouses are residents of the state. The judge will utilize fair principles when analyzing the case. Also, it's important to remember that just because spouses live in different counties of Pennsylvania does not mean that they can have their case heard in their county of residence. The case generally will be heard at the Court of Common Pleas of the defendant’s county, or in the county of matrimonial residence. However, the case can be heard in plaintiff’s county with the agreement of the defendant.

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