Pennsylvania’s Act 102 Shortens No-Fault Divorce Waiting Period to Reduce Childhood Trauma

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When children are involved in a divorce, it is important for all parties to take steps to minimize the emotional trauma that the children will experience. Frequently, both parents are able to set aside their differences, in at least when it comes to the children, for a variety of reasons. Motivations may include a sincere desire to protect a child from the emotional turmoil a divorce entails. Other, more practical reasons include the fact that child custody factors consider what is in “the best interests of the child.” This includes a parent’s ability to provide a supportive household for the child and whether he or she is likely to sabotage the child’s relationship with the other parent (parental alienation syndrome). However, even when parents can agree to minimize the disruption to the child’s life, the divorce process itself can be upsetting to children. This is especially true when the dissolution of marriage process drags on due to required waiting periods and other legal requirements and logistics. However, recent legislation passed by the Pennsylvania state legislature reduces waiting periods for no-fault divorces eliminating what many saw as unnecessary and counter-productive delay in the process.

A Philadelphia divorce lawyer of Sadek & Cooper are proud to inform the public of this important change to the law. To better understand how the changes will affect a Pennsylvania divorce, please continue reading or call the family law attorneys of Sadek & Cooper today at 215-995-2543. We have law offices conveniently located in Center City, northeast Philadelphia, Delaware County, and Bucks County.

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New Law Reduces Waiting Period and Length of no-Fault Divorce Process

In Pennsylvania, there are, generally speaking, three main ways to end a bad marriage prior to the death of on spouse. That is, the ways a marriage can be dissolved in Pennsylvania are: traditional fault-based divorce, and two types of no-fault divorce – mutual consent and two-year separation. Under Act 102, changes are made to the required waiting period relating to no-fault divorces only.

The law will reduce the current two-year waiting period required for all no-fault divorces in Pennsylvania. Under the new law, the two-year waiting period will be reduced to a one-year waiting period. This change will have a number of practical impacts. First, reducing the amount time it takes to get a no-fault divorce will eliminate or at least mitigate one of the reasons that sometimes pushed people towards seeking a fault-based divorce.

The second major impact this law will have is that it will significantly accelerate all no-fault divorce proceedings. This means that issues relating to the equitable distribution of marital property, spousal support, alimony, child custody, and child support will need to be addressed in a much more timely manner. While it may seem like a burden to force parties to address these matters immediately, it will actually allow for better planning since the parties will become aware of the likely results of a divorce much earlier.

Why Does Act 102 Decrease the Waiting Period for No-Fault Divorce? Isn’t This Encouraging Divorce?

Some people may believe that reducing the waiting time required to get a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania will encourage or increase divorces. The fact of the matter is that happily married couples are not going to seek a divorce on the basis of a streamlined process. That said, consider the plight of a couple who both know that the marriage will not work out and both parties want to dissolve the marriage and move forward with their lives. However, if they wanted a no-fault divorce, under the previous law, they were essentially stuck for an additional two years. During these two years, frustration and disputes would almost inevitably occur. Essentially, it became clear that the waiting period did not result in reconciliation. Rather, the waiting period seemed to exacerbate and inflame disputes between soon-to-be-ex-spouses.

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The practical impact of a prolonged divorce was often parties who were increasingly unable to work together and increasingly resentful of the system and process. When children were involved, the length of the process itself became a threat to the best interests of the child.  The reduced waiting period for no-fault divorces should reduce the impact on children while also providing for a more expedient and orderly process.

Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers Provide Strategic Divorce Services in Philadelphia and Beyond

The divorce law attorneys of Sadek & Cooper can provide up-to-date legal guidance regarding an array of family law issues. If you are concerned about whether you can seek a no-fault divorce or worries about what will happen regarding child custody, call our Philadelphia-based law firm today at 215-995-2543 or online today.

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