Filing a Contested Divorce in Pennsylvania

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To file a contested divorce in Pennsylvania, an individual can assert either fault or no-fault. Grounds for an at-fault divorce include desertion, adultery, bigamy, cruel and barbarous treatment, or imprisonment/institutionalization of one of the spouses. The assertion of "irretrievable breakdown" is the grounds for a no-fault divorce. At least one of the spouses must have resided in the state a minimum of six months before the filing.

§ 3301. Grounds for divorce.

(a) Fault.-- The court may grant a divorce to the innocent and injured spouse whenever it is judged that the other spouse has:

  (1) Committed willful and malicious desertion for the period of one or more years

  (2) Committed Adultery

  (3) By cruel and barbarous treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse

  (4) Knowingly entered into a bigamous marriage

  (5) Been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two or more years upon conviction of having committed a crime.

  (6) Offered such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse's condition intolerable and life burdensome.

      (b) Institutionalization.--The court may grant a divorce from a spouse upon the ground that insanity or serious mental disorder has resulted in confinement in a mental institution for at least 18 months immediately before the commencement of an action under this part and where there is no reasonable prospect that the spouse will be discharged from inpatient care during the 18 months subsequent to the commencement of the action.

      (c) Mutual consent.--The court may grant a divorce where it is alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the date of commencement of an action under this part and an affidavit has been filed by each of the parties evidencing that each of the parties consents to the divorce.

      (d) Irretrievable breakdown.--

           (1) The court may grant a divorce where a complaint has been filed alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken and an affidavit has been filed alleging that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the defendant either:

                (i) Does not deny the allegations set forth in the affidavit.

                (ii) Denies one or more of the allegations set forth in the affidavit but, after notice and hearing, the court 0 determines that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

§ 3104(b)  Residence and domicile of parties.

No spouse is entitled to commence an action for divorce or annulment under this part unless at least one of the parties has been a bona fide resident in this Commonwealth for at least six months immediately previous to the commencement of the action.

Get Legal Advice

If you live in Pennsylvania and have resided in the state for at least six months, you can file for divorce. You must assert either the statutory grounds for an at-fault dissolution or prove that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown beyond conciliation. Talk with a lawyer to facilitate your divorce in Pennsylvania.

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