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The Differences Between a Fault And a No-Fault Divorce

The Differences Between a Fault And a No-Fault Divorce

In Pennsylvania, you can file for a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce. Even if your spouse is clearly to blame for the end of your marriage, it is not required that you file for a fault based divorce. A no-fault divorce is always an option. If you are considering divorce, please contact an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney to learn more about your legal options.

No-Fault Divorce

Fundamentally, in a Pennsylvania no-fault divorce, both parties are agreeing to end the marriage without seeking a legal assignment of blame. The most common reason for a no-fault divorce is irreconcilable marital differences. If both parties are willingly agreeing to end the marriage, then a no-fault divorce can be finalized in as little as three months. A mutual consent divorce certainly makes the legal process work quicker and more smoothly. But, usually, there will still be significant issues that need to be resolved. Even if fault is not at issue, you still need to think about property division, child custody and visitation rights and possibly even spousal support payments. So, if you are pursuing a no-fault divorce, it is still strongly advised that you seek the professional services of a qualified divorce attorney.

Fault-Based Divorce

Under Pennsylvania law, you also have the option of filing for a fault-based divorce. There are six grounds for a fault divorce:

  • Spousal abandonment, of at least one year, without any reasonable cause;
    Confirmed adultery;
    Cruel treatment that puts one spouse’s physical or mental health at risk;
    One spouse was still married to someone else;
    A spouse becomes imprisoned for two years or longer; or
    A spouse made their partner’s life unbearable to an extreme degree.

If you’re seeking a fault-based divorce, it is likely that your spouse will try to provide a legal defense for their behavior. The two most common defenses are provocation and condonation. That means that if the court determines that the bad behavior was provoked or was already forgiven by you, then your fault based divorce may be denied. Even if one of the grounds for divorce was initially met, fault-based divorces can be incredibly tense and stressful. Further, the grounds will often have very little to do with the division of marital assets. So, the majority of divorcing Pennsylvanians decide to opt for a no-fault divorce.

Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyer

The experienced family law team at Randy H. Kaplan Law Offices will help you through any difficult times. We offer compassionate legal assistance and are prepared to aggressively protect your rights. If you are considering divorce in Pennsylvania, do not go it alone. We are here to help. You can contact our office online or by calling 215-576-8870 to set up a free case evaluation.

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