Could No Fault Divorce be the Right Option for You and Your Spouse?

Deciding to divorce your spouse is not an easy decision, and it is rarely one made on the spot. In most cases, marriages break down over an extended period of time, over a series of wrongs or hurts or disappointments. Once you’ve reached your breaking point, you may have a long list of reasons you can’t stay in the relationship. But does that mean that a “fault” divorce is right for you?

When it comes to divorce, the terms “fault” and “no-fault” can be misleading. Though you may blame your spouse for the need to end the marriage, that does not automatically mean that a fault divorce is the best option for you. That’s because in the state of Pennsylvania, filing for a “fault” divorce indicates a very specific type of conduct that you’ll have to prove in court, while a “no-fault” divorce requires no proof and very little court time.

Fault divorce in Pennsylvania specifically applies to the following conditions:

  • Desertion
  • Adultery
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment
  • Bigamy
  • Conviction of crime/imprisonment of two years
  • Indignities

Though you may well be able to point to one or more of the items on this list as reason for your marriage ending, filing for a fault divorce requires providing the court with proof. In the case of desertion, your claim can be defeated if your spouse can demonstrate temporary cohabitation during any point during the course of a year; for cruel and barbarous treatment you need to show a merciless and savage disposition amounting to actual personal violence or creating a reasonable apprehension thereof.  Even a fault claim of adultery requires proof by clear and convincing evidence: confession of guilt is not enough. By contrast, filing for a “no fault” divorce can be quick and easy. It follows a straightforward process that moves forward to equitable distribution of property and any support issues, without need to justify the marriage’s end.

There are certainly circumstances that warrant a fault divorce. This is particularly true when you want the marriage to end quickly, as fault-based divorces require no waiting period, while no-fault divorces require 1 90 day waiting period for a mutual consent divorce and a one-year period in other cases. The best way to determine the best option for your situation is to meet with an experienced divorce attorney. Contact us today to for compassionate, helpful guidance.