no-fault divorce

Fault v. No-Fault Divorce: What’s the Difference?

The most common type of divorce in Pennsylvania by far is a no-fault divorce.  Why? Because there is no real advantage to the filing of a fault-based divorce where a no-fault divorce is available.  There are two basic types of no-fault divorce, and each requires that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.  You can acquire a no-fault divorce where both parties consent to the divorce. Or, where there has been a separation of more than two years.

In no-fault divorces where both parties consent, there is a 90-day waiting period. This means that the Court cannot enter a divorce decree until 90 days after the filing of the divorce complaint.

In no-fault divorces based on a two-year separation, the calculation of the two-year period does not necessarily require that one spouse actually move out of the martial home.   You and your spouse could live under the same roof but if you occupy different parts of the house, don’t have sex, take your meals separately, etc. Following these rules should satisfy the separation requirement.

But what about fault based divorces?  There are 6 categories of marital misconduct that could form the basis for a fault based divorce:  desertion, adultery, cruel and barbarous treatment, bigamy, imprisonment for a crime and indignities.  In practice, fault based divorces are rare.  A contested divorce case on grounds of marital fault is a lengthy and expensive process.  There are some strategic reasons to file for a fault based divorce (assuming your other spouse agrees not to contest it) such as for certain tax purposes and when the two year separation requirement for a no fault divorce has not been met.

If you have questions about fault or no-fault divorce, contact the attorneys at Mobilio Wood today!


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