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Information About Divorce in the State of Pennsylvania

By Tom Ryan, eHow Contributor Information About Divorce in the State of Pennsylvania thumbnail

Divorce laws vary from state to state, so before you consider filing for divorce, it is important that you thoroughly research your state's standards and laws. In Pennsylvania, these laws decide what constitutes adultery, under which grounds divorce can be filed and how to divide assets among parties.

  1. No-Fault Grounds

    • In Pennsylvania, there are two conditions under which a "No-Fault" divorce can be granted. The first is mutual consent, in which each party alleges that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." The other is irretrievable breakdown, in which a party alleges that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that the two have lived apart for at least two years.

    Fault Grounds

    • "Fault" grounds are those in which one party takes action to divorce the other, alleging that that party is to blame for the marriage failing. In Pa., justifiable fault grounds include unreasonable desertion of a spouse, bigamy, cruel or endangering behavior or committing adultery.

    Definition of Adultery

    • The legal definition of adultery varies from state to state. In Pennsylvania, it is defined as sexual intercourse with someone other than the spouse. This does not include sodomy, which is defined in Pennsylvania as either cunnilingus or Fellatio.
      Circumstantial evidence is typically sufficient in an adultery case, though the plaintiff must provide that the guilty spouse had both the disposition and the opportunity to commit the offense.

    Assets

    • Pennsylvania is an "equitable distribution" state, which means that the property is divided in an equitable---though not necessarily equal---fashion. Though the court encourages a party's members to divide property among themselves, it will step in when necessary to distribute assets. Decisions can be based on factors such as the length of the marriage and the respective income levels of the two people.

    Sentenced Spouses

    • A person in Pennsylvania can divorce her spouse if he is being placed in custody for a certain length of time. For example, she can file for divorce if he is convicted of a crime and sentenced to two or more years in prison. She can also file for divorce if he is deemed insane and confined to an institution for a period of at least 18 months.

    Tom Ryan

    Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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    Original source: eHow.com

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