In Pennsylvania, your divorce can fall under two categories: fault and no-fault. A mutual decision by you and your spouse that it is time to end the marriage typically results in a no-fault divorce. On the other hand, a fault-based divorce may happen when one spouse blames the actions of the other spouse for the separation.
Here is a breakdown of the differences between the two types and how they each may affect the divorce process in Pennsylvania.
What are the grounds for a fault divorce?
Pennsylvania law outlines several grounds that allow you to file for a fault divorce. These legal reasons include:
- Adultery or bigamy
- Abuse or endangerment
- Desertion for a year or more
- Imprisonment for two or more years
- Indignities that make life burdensome
How does fault affect the divorce process in Pennsylvania?
You can file for a no-fault divorce, even if your spouse is to blame for your separation. The asset division process is typically the same, regardless of marital misconduct, and the process is typically shorter, easier and less expensive. However, there are some scenarios in which filing a fault divorce action might benefit you. For example, the court may consider fault when deciding on certain crucial matters, such as spousal support and child custody arrangements. Additionally, a fault divorce may be more appropriate when domestic violence is a factor, as there are no waiting periods like those associated with a no-fault divorce.
There are pros and cons to each type of divorce. Experienced counsel can help you decide which route makes sense for your situation.