Pennsylvania Divorce Code: waiting period reduced to one year.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly has passed a bill reducing the separation period for no-fault divorces from two years to one year.  Under Section 3301(d) of the Divorce Code, when grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage are established, the court may enter a divorce decree after one year.  The law remains that if the parties agree, the court may also enter a divorce decree at any time after ninety days have passed since the filing of the divorce.  Governor Tom Wolf is expected to sign the bill into law, which would become effective in sixty days.

The change will only apply to divorces filed after the effective date of the law.  Divorces that have already been filed remain subject to the two year waiting period.  The only manner in which a litigant in a pending action could take advantage of the change would be if the action were withdrawn; however, the opposing party could object to a withdrawal, especially where he or she wanted to take advantage of the current two year waiting period.

The waiting period was last changed in 1988.  The Pennsylvania Bar Association lobbied for the change, arguing that such would help reduce costs for litigants, allow families to move on, and alleviate stress for children caught in unnecessarily delayed divorces.  Those opposed to the measure argued that there are times when a delay can be a good thing, and that the courts may intervene where litigants are purposely prolonging cases.  However, the new law is more in line with the waiting period in surrounding states.  The waiting period in New Jersey and New York is six months, while Ohio has no defined waiting period.

Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby attorneys regularly update and revise the leading treatise on family law in Pennsylvania; we are thus poised to advise our clients on changes in the law such as the reduction in the waiting period.  We are qualified to advise our clients regarding the timing of a divorce, and the many other issues that our clients must consider.  Especially in cases of high net worth divorces, these issues can have large impacts on the financial aspects of a divorce.  If you have a question as to the impact of the law, our firm can provide the answers.

Divorce does not have to lead to financial ruin. In many cases, you can rely on our lawyers’ knowledge and reputation to secure the resolution of your divorce-related issues by agreement with your spouse.

We are litigators, but we can also facilitate agreement between you and your spouse. Our lawyers have the experience to advise you which course will resolve your divorce in the best manner possible, always in accord with the outcomes most important to you.

To consult with an experienced divorce attorney about your options in a divorce, contact us online or by calling 412-261-4040. We represent business and professional clients with family legal concerns across western Pennsylvania.

Legal Separation
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Tax Issues
Domestic Partnerships
Child Custody