Pennsylvania reduces waiting times for no-fault divorce

Pennsylvania is reducing the separation period for no-fault divorce from two years to one year.

Waiting times for divorce in Pennsylvania are about to get a lot shorter. A recently passed law will reduce the period of separation for no-fault divorce in the state to a one year period of separation compared to the current two year period of separation. The change brings waiting times for divorce in Pennsylvania more in line with neighboring states. Supporters of the change contend that while the two-year separation period was well-intentioned, it inadvertently hurt families by forcing spouses and their children into situations that prolonged uncertainty and conflict.

New wait periods

No-fault divorce was introduced in Pennsylvania in 1980 with what was then a three-year separation period, which was later reduced to two years. That time period was originally designed to give spouses that wanted a divorce time to be sure of their decision. Some referred to this period as a cooling off period.

The one-year separation period will take effect in December 2016. It does not apply to those cases that are already pending. No-fault divorce allows either spouse to file for divorce without the other spouse's consent. It is important to keep in mind that although the separation period will soon be one year, spouses are free to begin negotiations concerning important issues in their divorce, such as property division and support matters during the separation period.

Family law

As Pennsylvania's divorce laws change, it is important for people who are going through or considering a divorce to understand how those changes may impact them. A family law attorney can assist those who are not aware what their options are in the event of a divorce. An experienced attorney can assist with various issues related to divorce, including separation periods, child custody and support, and alimony.