There are many factors that can lead to a divorce. In Pennsylvania, one ground that leads to divorce is referred to as irretrievable breakdown. This ground is generally used when one spouse does not support the decision to move forward with the divorce.

Previously, in order to meet the criteria for a divorce based on this ground, state law required the couple live apart for two years. This law was recently amended, reducing the time that couples are required to live apart to one year.

Why the change? A recent article in The Morning Call discussed the motivation behind the change. Originally, the waiting period was intended to help encourage couples to reconcile. Experts realized that this was not the case.

Not only did data support the contention that the extended separation period failed to lead to reconciliation, but it also revealed two negative consequences:

  • Cost
  • Impact on children

It can be expensive to get a divorce. Adding in two years of waiting time before moving forward with the divorce was found to add to the overall cost of the split.

Experts also note that a drawn out divorce can have a negative impact on children. Disagreements that led to the divorce can escalate, potentially leading to an even more contentious split.

How often does the law change? This change provides an opportunity to point out that the law evolves. The rules that were in place guiding divorce yesterday may not be the same tomorrow.

As a result, those going through a divorce are wise to seek legal counsel. Your attorney can keep you apprised of the most recent changes to the law, working to better ensure your interests are protected.