The Basics of Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania


The Basics of Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

If you’re considering divorce, it’s important to understand the basics of fault divorce in Pennsylvania. Fault divorce is a specific type of divorce that can have an effect on the financial outcome and other aspects of your case. Knowing what fault divorce means and how it applies to your situation can help you make informed decisions as you move forward with your case.

What is Fault Divorce?

Fault divorces are based on proving that one spouse has done something wrong or was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. In Pennsylvania, there are seven grounds for a fault-based divorce: adultery, desertion, cruel and barbarous treatment endangering life or health, bigamy, imprisonment, insanity, and indignities. Each of these grounds has its own meaning and implications when filing for a fault-based divorce in Pennsylvania.

Adultery — Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual relations between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. It must be proven through evidence such as testimony from an eyewitness or written documentation such as emails or text messages. Desertion — Desertion requires that one spouse has been absent from the marital home without consent from the other spouse, and without any intention to return home for at least one year prior to filing for divorce. Cruel and Barbarous Treatment — Cruel and barbarous treatment includes physical abuse or mental cruelty towards the other spouse that makes living together intolerable.  Cruel and barbarous treatment does not require physical violence; verbal abuse or threats can also constitute cruel and barbarous treatment. Bigamy — Bigamy occurs when one spouse is already legally married to another person when they enter into a new marriage. Imprisonment — In order for this ground to apply, one spouse must have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding two years before filing for divorce. Insanity — This ground requires proof that one spouse has been diagnosed with an incurable mental disorder for at least five years prior to filing for divorce Indignities — Indignities involves mental anguish caused by words or actions by one spouse towards another that makes living together intolerable.

Each ground has its own set of rules which must be met in order to prove fault in a Pennsylvania court. It’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you determine if any of these grounds may apply to your situation.

Fault divorces can have significant implications on your case so it’s important to understand how they work in Pennsylvania before making any decisions about your case. An experienced attorney can help you explore all available options so you can make informed decisions about how best to proceed with your case.

If you are considering a fault-based divorce in Pennsylvania, contact us today.  We are here to help. Click or Call 610-892-3877

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About the author

About Gerry Gebhart

Gerry graduated from Drexel University magna cum laude with a degree in Information Systems and a minor in Business Administration. After working as a consultant in the intermodal transportation industry, Gerry enrolled in and graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where he specialized in trial advocacy. Prior to joining LaMonaca Law, Gerry practiced Family Law privately while working at the Public Defender’s office. Gerry quickly gained a reputation as a savvy trial attorney, securing numerous successful trial verdicts, eventually resulting in his being elected as president of the Delaware County Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association. Gerry lives in Middletown Township where he is active in his local firehouse as both a firefighter and member of the board of directors.