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Home / Residency Requirements for Divorce

Pennsylvania Residency Requirements for Divorce

Navigating the process of filing for divorce in Pennsylvania requires a thorough understanding of the state-specific residency requirements. These rules are in place to confirm that Pennsylvania courts hold the jurisdiction to preside over divorce cases. This guide aims to clarify these requirements for individuals contemplating divorce in Pennsylvania.

Residency Requirements

In Pennsylvania, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce. Establishing residency can typically be done through various means, such as a Pennsylvania driver's license, voter registration, or proof of a Pennsylvania address. This six-month requirement ensures that the divorce is filed in a state with a genuine connection to the petitioner or respondent, providing a fair and consistent legal framework.

Filing Location

The divorce petition should be filed in the Court of Common Pleas of the county where either spouse resides. If one spouse lives outside of Pennsylvania, the petitioner (the spouse initiating the divorce) can still file in the county of their residence. This rule is designed to make the divorce process accessible and reasonable, especially for the respondent (the non-filing spouse) who may still live in Pennsylvania.

Waiting Period

Pennsylvania law stipulates a waiting period of 90 days from the filing of the divorce petition before the divorce can be finalized. This waiting period is intended to give both spouses time to consider their decision and, if possible, seek reconciliation. The actual duration to finalize the divorce could be longer, depending on the case's complexity and whether it is contested.


Non-residents who were previously residents of Pennsylvania and wish to file for divorce in the state may need to re-establish residency to meet the filing requirements. If this is not possible, filing for divorce in the current state of residence, assuming residency requirements are met there, would be the next step.

Important Points

  • Filing for Divorce: Divorces are to be filed in the Court of Common Pleas of the county where either spouse resides, facilitating a fair legal process.
  • Grounds for Divorce: Pennsylvania allows for both fault and no-fault divorces. No-fault divorces can be sought on the basis of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, while fault grounds include adultery, abandonment, and cruel treatment, among others.
  • Simplified Process: For couples agreeing on all divorce terms, Pennsylvania offers a mutual consent no-fault divorce option, which can simplify the process and potentially reduce legal fees and time spent.


Fulfilling the residency requirements is a crucial first step in the process of filing for divorce in Pennsylvania. These requirements ensure the appropriate jurisdiction of Pennsylvania courts over divorce cases. For those considering a divorce in Pennsylvania, it's essential to understand and prepare according to these residency qualifications.

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