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Pennsylvania Divorce Law: Grounds for Divorce

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Pennsylvania Divorce Law
What are the grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania?

A divorce may be granted in Pennsylvania divorce law using either "Fault" or "No-Fault" grounds.

Fault grounds include:
(1) adultery;
(2) bigamy;
(3) imprisonment for two or more years;
(4) confinement for incurable insanity for 18 months;
(5) willful desertion for one year;
(6) cruel and inhuman treatment endangering the life of the spouse;
(7) personal indignities.

No-Fault grounds include:
(1) Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with the spouses living separate and apart without cohabitation for two years;
(2) irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the spouses have both filed affidavits they consent to the divorce, and 90 days have elapsed from the date of filing. "Separate and apart" means complete cessation of any and all cohabitation, whether living in the same residence or not, according to Pennsylvania divorce law.

Of these, the "No-Fault" grounds are the most straightforward and easiest to prove.

In Pennsylvania divorce law, the court declares the marriage contract broken; in an annulment, the court says that there never was a marriage. Annulment is much more difficult to prove -- and is much rarer -- than divorce. If you want to go this route, you will definitely need to speak to a divorce attorney. Of course, if you want an annulment for religious reasons, you'll need to consult with your priest, minister, or rabbi as well.

You'll need to provide your divorce lawyer with the following documentation, in order to proceed with your dissolution under Pennsylvania divorce law. Start gathering everything together as soon as possible so that you can find out what might be missing and submit any requests for duplicates.

Personal Data

  • Full addresses and phone numbers of both parties.
  • Full names, birth dates, and addresses of all children of the marriage, their school and grade.
  • Information about any prior marriage of either spouse, including a certified copy of the divorce decree.
  • A copy of any domestic contracts (e.g. a prenuptial agreement).
  • Information about any previous legal proceedings between the spouses or involving any of the children.
  • Dates and particulars about any previous separations, attempts at reconciliation, or marriage counseling.

Financial Data

  • Your previous year's income tax return, and any related data from the IRS.
  • Information about your current income, e.g. a current pay slip.
  • A list of substantial assets and liabilities of both spouses.

For Pennsylvania divorce law FAQs, click here.
To read about Pennsylvania divorce lawyers, click here.

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