Dissolution of Marriage in Pennsylvania

If you are considering ending your marriage, or have already decided to, then you will be familiar with the term divorce, and possibly other terms in the same vein, such as legal separation, annulment, and dissolution of marriage. While these are all fairly similar in their goal of ending a marriage, they carry nuances that may make them a more attractive option for certain couples. 

However, if you or your spouse have been a resident of Pennsylvania for at least 6 months and are looking to file a divorce in the state, then dissolution is not in your options, as the term does not officially exist in Pennsylvanian law. Divorce is the only term used for the process.

The Meaning of Dissolution

In certain other states, a dissolution of marriage is when the two parties in a marriage come to an agreement on matters such as child support, custody, property division, and alimony without the mediation of a judge. The settlement agreement is then filed in court to finalize it. This process takes significantly less time and money than the regular process of a divorce.

Types of Divorce in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, marriages are only ended through divorce, annulment, or the death of one of the spouses. Dissolution of marriage in Pennsylvania is technically impossible, however, a no-fault divorce functions in the same way. While, you might not be a fan of the word divorce, and may even view it as distasteful, at the end of the day, it is simply a term. 

A “no-fault” divorce also involves coming to an agreement with your spouse, with neither party assigning any blame or fault to the other for the end of the marriage. The filing spouse can simply list a no-fault reason for the divorce, such as “irreconcilable differences.” It is relatively easy to obtain a no-fault divorce as you would have sorted out your affairs beforehand.

In contrast, for a “fault” divorce, the filing spouse needs to define a specific type of marital misconduct as the grounds for the divorce. Afterward, the filing spouse must be able to prove to the court that the misconduct stated truly led to the end of the relationship, and the settlement agreement must also be ironed out. Some of the most common reasons for a fault divorce are adultery, bigamy, willful desertion or abandonment, drug or alcohol addiction, or extreme cruelty.

Fault divorces are highly stressful and may take a long time, which is why the alternative of dissolution or no-fault divorce is preferable. In Pennsylvania, you can proceed with a no-fault divorce by having each spouse write a statement about how the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and cannot be saved and then wait 90 days after the complaint is filed to finalize it.  

Consult a Lawyer Today

Whatever the grounds for your divorce or whatever path you choose to accomplish it, the best way to ensure that the process goes smoothly is to hire the services of a trusted divorce lawyer.

Request an appointment at the Law Offices of Paul Brownstein today and get personal, confidential attention from a highly experienced divorce attorney for the dissolution of your marriage in Pennsylvania. The initial consultation is free of charge, and you can take comfort in having all your questions answered and learning what to do next in this understandably stressful situation.