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What kinds of divorce are recognized in Pennsylvania?

If you or your spouse have lived in Pennsylvania for at least six months, then you are eligible to file for a divorce in the state. You can file it in any county where one of you lives or in any county in the state if you both agree that the divorce should be filed there.

Pennsylvania recognizes four kinds of divorce. The first is called a mutual consent divorce, which basically means that both of you agree to the divorce. You can work out your own separation agreement and settlement outside of court and bring it with you after 90 days, at which time you'll be able to file the documents for the judge to grant your divorce. If you can't agree to a settlement arrangement, then a hearing may be needed to determine the details of your case.

Another kind of divorce is called a two-year separation divorce. It is a no-fault divorce, but it requires you to stay apart for two years. This kind of divorce is good if one party refuses to sign the documents or to consent to the divorce. After two years, you can apply for the divorce with an affidavit, but if a counter affidavit is turned in, then a hearing may be needed to see if you are entitled to a divorce.

The two other kinds of divorces in the state include a fault divorce and a mental hospital divorce. A fault divorce is when one person is innocent but the other is at fault for the divorce. For example, if a spouse cheats on the other, then adultery might be the fault. In a mental hospital case, a person applies to be divorced from someone who has been in a mental hospital for at least 18 months due to a serious mental disorder or insanity. The person must be expected to remain there for another 18 months at least for this kind of divorce to be granted.

If you're not sure which kind of divorce is right, your attorney can help you choose; you may qualify for two or three of these divorce types, so it's up to you to choose the one you prefer.

Source: Neighborhood Legal Services Association, "Divorce Law in Pennsylvania," accessed Nov. 07, 2016

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