Separation Period for No-Fault Divorces in Pennsylvania Reduced

As of December 5th, 2016, the mandatory separation period required under Section 3301(d) of the divorce code will be reduced from two years to one year. This new rule is only applicable to parties separating after December 5th. The current two-year separation period remains applicable to married persons that separated prior to December 5th. This means that anyone who separates from their spouse after December 5, 2016, and files for a no-fault divorce, but does not have the consent of the other spouse to be divorced, only has to wait one year before he or she can establish the grounds for divorce.

Establishing the “grounds for divorce” enables a party to either proceed to obtain a decree or begin litigating the division of the marital estate. Determining a date of separation can be difficult in its own right but oftentimes the date of the divorce filing becomes the default date of separation.

When first enacted in 1980, the Divorce Code imposed a three-year separation period. In 1988, the law was changed to reduce the waiting period down to two years. As of December 5, 2016, the separation period that has been in place for roughly 28 years will be cut in half.

If you have questions regarding the new changes to the Divorce Code, be sure to consult with an attorney experienced in these matters before proceeding. Keep in mind that this article should not be viewed as legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Feel free to call me, Liam Duffy, or anyone at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford if you are interested in a free consultation.