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You should know about Pennsylvania divorce law updates if you plan on getting a Pennsylvania divorce anytime soon. Like other laws, Pennsylvania divorce laws are constantly modified to ensure that they are compatible with the existing circumstances. That way, laws will achieve their objective of safeguarding the rights of people and facilitating human interactions.

Before getting a divorce in Pennsylvania, take the time to inform yourself of these Pennsylvania divorce law updates.

Previous Pennsylvania Laws for Divorce

There are four basic types of Pennsylvania divorce: mutual consent divorce, two-year separation divorce, fault divorce, and mental hospital. The first two are referred to as no-fault divorces since you do not need to prove that it was your spouse’s fault why the marriage collapsed.

Under the mutual consent divorce, both parties must sign an affidavit, stating that they consent to the divorce. Ninety (90) days after the date of filing, the court can grant the divorce provided that all the necessary documents and forms have been submitted. Under the Pennsylvania divorce laws, active cooperation of both parties is needed. When one spouse refuses to sign the divorce consent form, the divorce will not push through under the mutual consent ground.

Alternatively, you can have the two-year separation divorce, sometimes also called the irretrievable breakdown divorce. Under §3301(d) of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, the court will grant the divorce after the spouses have been separated for a minimum period of two years. This ground does not require the consent of either spouse. The mere fact of two year separation, supported by an affidavit, is sufficient for the divorce to be granted. However, for some people two years is too long a waiting time. They just want to immediately start their new life and be able to move on. Governor Tom Wolf thinks so too as he signed into law House Bill No. 380 last October 2016 that updated the Pennsylvania laws for divorce.

Pennsylvania Divorce Law Updates

Act 102 took effect last December 3, 2016 or sixty (60) days after the signing of the House Bill No. 380 into law. The new law cut the period of separation from two years to a shorter period of one year.

Main sponsor Representative Tarah Toohil partially based her legislation on the waiting periods established in other states surrounding Pennsylvania. She noted that in Delaware and New Jersey, there is only six months of waiting period, while only a year in New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland.

The no-fault waiting period was designed to provide couples an opportunity to reconcile. However, according to Attorney Mary Cushing Doherty, studies show that setting a long period of mandatory separation did not help couples reconcile. On the contrary, what it managed to achieve is to further isolate the couples and make them more antagonistic toward each other.

As reported by Philly Voice, the Pennsylvania divorce law updates undertook to shorten the process of divorce. Representative Toohil hoped that the same will have the effect of reducing the turmoil and emotional trauma experienced by children when their parents separate. She said that the two year separation period resulted to a period of uncertainties for children revolving on housing arrangements, custody schedules, and school placements. Now that the period has been reduced to a year, divorced couples could start learning how to help kids transition during a divorce earlier.

Moreover, the said Pennsylvania divorce law updates will allow divorced couples to address and settle their economic concerns more promptly. In effect, it will lessen your expenses and give you time to focus on more important issues such as taking care of your children’s well-being and beginning the healing process.

Your knowledge of Pennsylvania Divorce Law updates will help make the process a little more bearable to the parties concerned. Make sure that you are up to date before make you make big decisions.


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