If you and your spouse both agree to divorce, the process can take just a few months in Pennsylvania. But what if one person wants to call it quits but the other doesn't? Until recently, contested divorces used to require couples to live apart for two years before one party could file for divorce.
Now, a new Pennsylvania law will make the divorce process faster for many couples - even if the two parties don't agree. The new law cuts the waiting period for contested divorces in half. This means you and your spouse need to live separately for at least a year before you can file for divorce.
If you have already begun living apart, does the new law apply? It depends on when you began living apart:
- If you started living separately after December 5, 2016, when the law went into effect, the new law applies, and you only have to wait one year.
- If you started living apart before December 5, 2016, you'll still have to wait two years.
This is the second time Pennsylvania has shorted the separation requirement for contested divorces. In 1988, a three-year waiting period was shortened to two years.
Divorce is emotional under the best of circumstances, and contested divorces can be especially taxing. While the new law won't make the process instantaneous, being able to fully move on with your life a year sooner can make a big difference. An attorney can also help the divorce process go as efficiently as possible.