Does Fault Matter in Pennsylvania Divorces

Does Fault Matter in Pennsylvania Divorces?

Pennsylvania is a state that still considers fault when it comes to divorce. However, you can also opt to file a no-fault divorce, which is a little easier in most cases.

If you file a divorce case because your spouse committed adultery, for instance, the court will examine the at-fault party’s misconduct. You must provide evidence that the adultery occurred and that your marriage was ruined because of it.

Why does the court care who was at-fault for the divorce? They use the information when making decisions about spousal support and child custody.

In most other ways, fault won’t matter much. The court will still try to separate assets and debts as equitably as possible.

What are the Fault Grounds in Pennsylvania?

There are six fault grounds that Pennsylvania recognizes in divorce cases:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Incarceration
  • Indignities
  • Desertion
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment

Getting a fault divorce is generally a much longer, more expensive process than a no-fault divorce. For instance, if you want to get a divorce on grounds of incarceration, you would have to wait two years while your spouse is incarcerated before you could file your case. With desertion, your spouse must have been gone for a year at least.

Does Fault Matter in Pennsylvania Divorces

Why Would You Want a Fault Divorce?

In most cases, even if your spouse was at-fault for the divorce and you have one of the above grounds, you will still want to file a no-fault divorce. However, there are two main reasons you would want to file a fault divorce and go through the extensive process of proving your spouse’s fault.

The first reason is because the court does consider fault when deciding whether to award alimony, and how much to award.

The second reason is because the court does consider fault when deciding who gets custody of the kids.

For the above reasons, many will still want to file a fault divorce, even though a no-fault option might be easier for them.

What are the Main Differences Between Fault and No-Fault Divorces?

With fault divorces, you must be able to prove the fault of the other party. This can often require you to gather evidence and attend court hearings to prove that your spouse was at-fault.

With no-fault divorces, the process is easier, and you will choose from between three reasons why the divorce failed: mutual consent, irretrievable breakdown, and institutionalization.

Need Help Deciding Whether You Should File a Fault or No-Fault Divorce in PA?

A divorce lawyer in PA can greatly assist you in getting your divorce. Divorce is never a fun thing to go through and thinking rationally during such an emotional time is tough, if not impossible. You need someone with legal knowledge of divorce to help you make the best decisions for you and your family.

Now is not the time to try handling everything on your own. Your lawyer will examine your situation and will be able to figure out whether a no-fault or fault divorce is right for your unique circumstances.