The waiting period to move forward with a unilateral no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania when one party does not consent to the divorce has been reduced from two years to one year. This new law went into effect December 3, 2016. Act 102, signed into law by Governor Wolf on October 4, 2016, amends 23 Pa.C.S. § 3301(d), which previously required the parties to live separate and apart for two years before moving forward with a divorce when one spouse does not consent. Now, parties will only need to live separate and apart for one year to obtain a divorce under 3301(d). When both parties consent to a divorce, they may still obtain a divorce on no-fault grounds under 23 Pa. C.S. 3301(c), which requires only a 90 day waiting period.
Family lawyers throughout the state, as well as the Pennsylvania Bar Association, strongly supported House Bill 380 as it passed through the Pennsylvania House and Senate. On September 29, 2015, members of a Task Force dedicated to the passage of House Bill 380 presented to the House Judiciary Committee the benefits of reducing the waiting period from two years to one year. This Task Force was comprised of family law practitioners and a child psychologist, and Vetrano | Vetrano & Feinman’s Lindsay Hanifan Childs prepared research and contributed to the written report that was presented. The report’s focus was on the benefits of reducing the waiting period for unilateral no-fault divorce for the family, specifically reducing the emotional and economic cost that the two year waiting period perpetuates.
It is important to note that this new law applies only to separations that commence after the effective date, which is December 3rd, 2016. So, if you separated prior to December 3rd, 2016, you still need to wait two years to move forward with a unilateral no-fault divorce if your spouse does not consent to the divorce. Because of this, as the new law takes effect, there will be special considerations regarding the timing of the divorce, which the family law attorneys at Vetrano | Vetrano & Feinman can help navigate.
Vetrano | Vetrano & Feinman LLC divorce and family lawyers offer compassionate and experienced guidance in matters of family law in Wayne and the surrounding Main Line communities. Call today for more information or to schedule a consultation.
Our experienced family lawyers take the time to fully understand the financial and emotional complexities that can be involved in separating two lives. We offer the patience and resources to effectively guide clients through a divorce, addressing all the challenges they may face in moving forward with their lives. To learn more about how we can help protect your rights and interests in a complex divorce, contact the Pennsylvania divorce attorneys at Vetrano | Vetrano & Feinman LLC.