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Home / Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania

Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's divorce laws offer both fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce, accommodating a range of circumstances under which an individual can file for divorce. Understanding these legal grounds is essential for anyone considering the dissolution of their marriage in the state.

No-Fault Divorce

Pennsylvania allows for no-fault divorce under two primary conditions:

  • Mutual Consent: Both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and consent to the divorce. After filing, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period before the divorce can proceed.
  • Irretrievable Breakdown: If one party does not consent, the filing spouse can still proceed with a no-fault divorce if they can prove that the marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least two years.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce

In addition to no-fault divorce, Pennsylvania recognizes several fault-based grounds, including:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment
  • Desertion for a period of one or more years
  • Imprisonment for two or more years
  • Indignities that render the condition of the innocent spouse intolerable and life burdensome

Fault-based divorces require the filing spouse to provide proof of the other spouse's misconduct.

Key Considerations

  • Impact on Divorce Proceedings: While Pennsylvania offers no-fault divorce options, establishing fault can impact divorce proceedings, particularly in matters related to alimony and the division of marital property. For instance, evidence of adultery may affect alimony awards.
  • Legal and Financial Implications: Understanding the specific grounds for divorce and how they apply to your situation is crucial, as this can significantly influence financial settlements, child custody arrangements, and other aspects of the divorce process.


Pennsylvania provides a comprehensive legal framework for divorce, allowing for both no-fault and fault-based filings. This flexibility ensures that individuals can choose the grounds that best fit their circumstances. However, the choice of grounds can have profound implications for the divorce proceedings, especially concerning financial and custody matters.

Divorce Process

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Step 4

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