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Divorce: The Rules Have Changed

Under current Pennsylvania divorce law, if only one spouse wants a divorce, there is a two-year separation waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. This is a longer period than many other states, and lawyers from the Montgomery Bar Association and Pennsylvania Bar Association have long championed a change in the law to make the “unilateral no fault divorce” waiting period shorter.

Originally designed as a way to provide time for a reconciliation during the “divorce attorneysno fault” divorce process, family lawyers argued that experience has shown that the lengthy waiting period seldom resulted in any true reconciled marriages. Instead, it often kept the family in a state of anxiety and uncertainty, as well as prolonging the irretrievable differences that caused the
couple to consider divorce in the first place.  Children whose parents are in a divorce action often suffered the most.

Earlier this month, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, legislation to shorten the waiting period to one year. The new law takes effect in 60 days. This applies to those cases where one party wants a no fault divorce and the other does not. In cases where both parties agree to divorce, the waiting period remains at ninety (90) days.

If you have questions about the new law or other family law concerns, please call us at Timoney Knox, LLP and speak to one of our Family Law lawyers.

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