The waiting period to get a divorce has officially been shortened in Pennsylvania.
The new law, which took effect in December 2016, amends the divorce code for no-fault divorces by changing the waiting period to one year instead of two.
Before the new law was passed, a person who wanted a divorce without the consent of the other spouse could only proceed after two years of separation. Now, only one year of separation is required to begin a no-fault divorce, which allows a marriage to dissolve without assigning blame.
The Benefits of the New Law for Divorcing Couples
When Pennsylvania began recognizing no-fault divorce in 1980, there was a three-year waiting period before a spouse could proceed without consent from his or her partner. This waiting period, meant to give couples time to reconcile, was reduced to two years in 1988. But advocates have been saying for years that the long, mandatory waiting period was doing more harm than good for couples – and their children.
In addition to halving the time a person has to wait to get divorced without his or her spouse’s consent, the new law could potentially provide other benefits to families. The shorter waiting period also means:
- A quicker start to dividing assets and determining alimony, custody and other factors.
- Lessening the emotional trauma on children by minimizing the possibility of dragging out the initial process and minimizing the chance of escalating arguments.
- Resolving the couple’s financial situation more quickly and possibly less expensively.
- Leaving less time to exacerbate marital tension.
- Shortening the time frame for the family to move on with their lives.
When Both Parties Consent
This new law is a reprieve for individuals whose spouses do not consent to divorce. However, a mutual consent, no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania can apply when both spouses are available and willing to sign legal documents with the court to state they agree to dissolve the marriage. In these circumstances, there is only a 90-day waiting period to proceed.
Pennsylvania divorce law is complex, and wading through these intricacies can make a situation even more overwhelming. The team at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel takes pride in its ability to help couples come to mutually beneficial agreements. We can preserve a working relationship between couples by mediating disputes. The result is often an amicable marriage dissolution, minimizing the emotional toll on the family.
Whether you have just decided to divorce, have filed documents in court, or your spouse has initiated the divorce process, Petrelli Previtera Schimmel can help you to navigate the weeks, months, and years to come so you have the best outcome possible.