August 23, 2017

2-year separation period shortened to 1 in no-fault divorce

In October of 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 102 into law shortening the waiting period for no-fault divorce by one year. Advocates of the bill say it is aimed at lessening the toll that divorce takes on children.

Prior to the bills passing, arguments for both sides were heard. Advocates claimed the prolonged waiting period did not help couples reconcile and instead caused more fighting that affected the well-being of children. Opponents argued that the reduced waiting period could hurt dependent spouses who need time to transition into their new lives, citing the continuation of health insurance as an example.

After arguments were heard, the bill’s sponsor, R – Representative Tarah Toohil of Luzerne County stated “A quicker resolution is to everyone’s benefit. A shorter waiting period allows a couple’s financial situation to be resolved more quickly and at less expense, so they can tend to their children’s well-being.”

A no-fault divorce is a type of divorce where the spouse filing for divorce does not have to prove any fault on the part of the other spouse. All a spouse must do is give a reason that the state currently honors for the divorce.

Pennsylvania introduced no-fault divorce in 1980 after years of heated debate on the reformation of outdated 1785 divorce codes. The 2-year waiting period that is a requirement of no fault divorce, was included to give couples time to reconcile their marriage before parting ways.

Although Act 102 does shorten the separation waiting period from two years to one year, the actual date of separation is still a major factor that can determine many aspects of a divorce proceeding.

If you are going through a divorce and have any questions regarding the changes in the law to no- fault divorces, please call an experienced family attorney at (215)-942-2100. You can also fill out a contact form on our website for a fast response from one of our attorneys