Divorce is never an easy process and sometimes can be extremely contentious and lengthy. However, sometimes a couple decides that they simply weren’t meant to be married anymore and seek a no-fault divorce. Although a couple may seek a no-fault divorce it can be a surprisingly lengthy process even considering the waiting period was just slashed in half this past October.
At Sadek & Cooper Law Offices we understand the stress and sleepless nights your situation may cause, therefore phone calls are promptly returned by our divorce attorneys and professional staff. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Philadelphia divorce lawyer regarding your legal matter please call our primary Philadelphia law office at 215-814-0395.
What Is the Difference Between a Fault Based Divorce and a No-Fault Divorce?
When a couple marries and subsequently things do not turn out to be the “happily ever after” the couple imagined they may want to consider filing for a divorce. Pennsylvania allows for two types of divorce: Fault-based divorce and no-fault divorce. It is crucial to understand the differences between these two types of divorce before you consider filing any paperwork.
Fault-based divorces, as the name implies, rest on the grounds that one or both spouses committed some fault. However, “fault” does not merely mean they forgot to take out the trash, rather the Pennsylvania divorce statute allows a judge to grant a divorce based on the following actions:
- Abandonment- – meaning your spouse has left the home without a reasonable cause for a period of one or more years;
- Adultery – your spouse has “cheated” on you;
- Cruel and barbarous treatment – your spouse has treated you in a way that puts your life or health at risk, such as acts of domestic violence;
- Bigamy – your spouse married you without divorcing his/her first spouse;
- Imprisonment for two or more years; or
- Your spouse has acted in a way that made your life unbearable or extremely difficult.
No-Fault divorce, on the other hand, is considerably “softer” meaning that no-fault divorces are filed when the spouse has not necessarily done any of the actions that would constitute a fault-based divorce but the marriage simply isn’t working. A judge may grant a no-fault divorce based on the following grounds:
- Mutual consent – meaning you and your spouse agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning that it cannot be fixed through counseling or time.
- Irretrievable breakdown – also meaning the marriage cannot be fixed.
- Institutionalization – If your spouse is found to be insane or has a mental disorder and needs to be confined to a mental institution, then this may be the basis for filing for a no-fault divorce.
Choosing to file for divorce is never an easy process and one you should consider thoroughly. However, if you are considering filing for divorce and have questions contact one of our experienced divorce attorneys today.
How Long Do You Have to Wait to File For a No-Fault Divorce?
If you and your spouse have decided that you can no longer be married to each other, then you may choose to file for a no-fault divorce. However, this process takes a lot longer than you might expect.
When Pennsylvania amended their 1785 divorce code in 1980 to include no-fault divorce they initially set a three-year “waiting period” where couples were required to live apart and subsequently file for a no-fault divorce at the conclusion of the three years. In 1988, the Pennsylvania divorce code was further amended to reduce this time period from three years to two years. However, some still complained that this period was too long, therefore in early October of 2016, Governor Wolf announced that he was enacting legislation that would reduce this time period even further from two years to one year.
These no-fault divorces are based on the predicate that the marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning that the marriage cannot be fixed, or as the Pennsylvania Divorce Code The Pennsylvania Divorce Code defines an irretrievable breakdown as “estrangement due to marital difficulties with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.” In order for a judge to grant a divorce on these grounds, you and your spouse must have lived separately for at least one year. In order for the judge to grant a no-fault divorce on these bases, both spouses must not deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Rely on the Experience of a Philadelphia Divorce Attorney of Sadek & Cooper
If you are considering filing for divorce or your spouse has filed for divorce against you, you should contact us at Sadek and Cooper to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your situation and advise as to the best possible course of action in order to protect your rights and help you to navigate the system to your best advantage.