To divorce, you have to establish grounds. Pennsylvania recognizes both fault and no fault grounds. Fault based grounds include willful and malicious abandonment for one or more years, adultery, bigamy, cruel and barbarous treatment, imprisonment for two or more years, indignities, and, finally, institutionalization. Fault divorces are more expensive that no fault because you must prove the fault to the court.
No-Fault divorces can be based upon two different grounds. The first is a 3301(c) divorce, which is based upon mutual consent. Both parties agree that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” All that is required in the way of proof is the filing of affidavits of consent to the divorce by each party.
Here is the statute: “23 Pa.C.S. §3301(c) Mutual consent.—(1) The court may grant a divorce where it is alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the date of commencement of an action under this part and an affidavit has been filed by each of the parties evidencing that each of the parties consents to the divorce. (2) The consent of a party shall be presumed where that party has been convicted of committing a personal injury crime against the other party.”
There is a ninety day waiting period and both parties must be in agreement. If they are, then the divorce can move forward in a speedy manner. Once the affidavits are filed, the parties may proceed to the next steps in their case.
The second type of no-fault divorce involves the same irretrievable breakdown but can be forced by one party against the wishes of the other party. The marriage must be “irretrievably broken” and the parties must have lived separate and apart for at least one year.
The statute reads as follows: “23 Pa.C.S. §3301(d) Irretrievable Breakdown.–(1) The court may grant a divorce where a complaint has been filed alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken and an affidavit has been filed alleging that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least one year and that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the defendant either:
(i) Does not deny the allegations set forth in the affidavit.
(ii) Denies one or more of the allegations set forth in the affidavit but, after notice and hearing, the court determines that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.”