If you are contemplating a divorce and Google search “Divorce in Pennsylvania”, you will likely find an endless amount of overwhelming information. One of the first questions people often ask is – what is the difference between “fault” and “no-fault”? Does it matter?
The most common complaint about “fault” is when a spouse is cheating (physically and/or emotionally) and goes outside of the marriage. Although this happens often, not many people pursue a “fault” divorce because in practice, it will likely cost more money, it takes longer to finalize, and generally involves more headaches and mudslinging. Luckily, Pennsylvania now permits a “no fault” divorce which means that you can get divorced for any reason when the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Something to consider is that a fault divorce requires you to appear for a hearing in front of a Judge, whereas you can often finalize your divorce under the “no fault” statute without ever stepping foot in a courtroom.
Since you are here and probably wondering – requesting a “fault” divorce requires you to establish one of the following:
- Your spouse cheated on you and committed adultery.
- Your spouse has committed willful and malicious desertion for 1+ year;
- Your spouse has endangered your life through cruel and barbarous treatment;
- Your spouse entered into marriage with you while still married to another individual (bigamy);
- Your spouse has been sentenced to prison for 2+ years;
- Your life is intolerable and burdensome because of your spouse’s indignities;
The above 6 reasons might seem common, but the reality is that these reasons are rarely used or followed in our local county courts. Instead, the most common divorce is the No-Fault Divorce (even when there is plenty of blame and fault to go around…)
Typically, making the decision to proceed under the No-Fault statute will result in a faster and less costly divorce. Under a no-fault divorce, you may request a divorce decree after waiting 90 days and finalizing all economic issues, if any. If your spouse does not agree with the divorce and wants to preserve the marriage, you are required to wait one (1) year before asking a judge for permission to get divorced.
My colleague, Melissa, shared 5 reasons why your family law attorney doesn’t care about your infidelity. We know that affairs happen and you have the right to proceed with a fault divorce and point fingers if that makes you happy; however, it is likely that your divorce lawyer will suggest that you proceed with a No-Fault divorce and just get it done. At the end of the day, the court does not care about cheating or consider it as a factor when dividing your marital property as Melissa mentions. So why spend extra time, money, and stress when you can take the ‘no fault’ route and move forward with your life?
If you have questions about divorce, attorneys at PSG can help you calculate potential outcomes. Speak with our experienced West Chester attorney at Potts, Shoemaker & Grossman, LLC, where we are prepared to assist you in finding the best approach for your unique situation. To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us at (610) 840-2626.