When filing for divorce, spouses must identify the "ground" or reason for the break-up of the marriage. Pennsylvania recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.
In a "fault" divorce, one spouse accuses the other of engaging in some type of misconduct that led to the divorce. Fault must be proven in court.
The fault grounds in Pennsylvania include:
Although courts don’t consider either spouse’s fault when making decisions about property division, a judge may consider misconduct when deciding whether to award alimony.
Divorcing spouses who want to avoid a full-blown court battle that will involve airing their dirty laundry in court have an alternative to a “fault divorce,” which is the “no-fault” divorce.
In a no-fault divorce, there is no blame assigned to either spouse. Spouses can request a divorce based on the ground of “irretrievable breakdown,” which just means the couple can’t get along anymore, and their marriage is broken beyond repair.
There are two types of no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania.
A court may grant a divorce by mutual consent as long as all of the following requirements are met:
Where one spouse seeks the divorce, and the other doesn’t consent, the court may grant the divorce if the following requirements are met:
You can learn more about the divorce process in Pennsylvania and related issues like child custody and property division at our section on Divorce and Family Law in Pennsylvania.
For a complete list of the fault grounds in Pennsylvania see 23 Pa. C.A.A. § 3301.