Through House Bill 380, Pennsylvania has shortened the time period required for married couples seeking a divorce to live separately.
The Bill, which was signed by both the Pennsylvania Senate and the House of Representatives on September 27, 2016, allows courts overseeing a divorce to grant a divorce when a spouse files a complaint alleging the marriage is irretrievably broken accompanied with an affidavit that the parties have lived separate and apart for one year.
In order for the divorce to actually be granted based solely on these grounds, however, the defendant cannot deny any allegations in the affidavit that must accompany the complaint for divorce filed by the moving party. Even if the other side to the divorce denies an allegation in the affidavit or complaint, however, a court may still grant a divorce as filed if the court is satisfied that the parties have been living separately for at least one full year and the party seeking the expedited divorce demonstrates to the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Prior to this new legislation, if one party to a divorce did not consent, there was a two year waiting period. Of course, in the alternative, if both parties consented to the divorce it could be granted in as little as 90 days.
This new law will go into effect 60 days after Governor Wolf signs the bill into law and is geared to streamlining the process of a divorce and reducing the emotional and financial burden a divorce has on the parties involved.
It is important to note this law does not impact divorces already filed and pending. If you have questions regarding a potential divorce or a related matter, the family law attorneys at Howland Hess O’Connell are available to take your call today, or feel free to contact us through our website.
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