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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > General > Understanding a Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

Understanding a Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania


In a fault divorce, the court grants one spouse a divorce because of some proven fault of the other spouse. Most states no longer recognize fault divorces, but Pennsylvania will grant one under certain circumstances.

When Could a Pennsylvania Court Consider a Fault Divorce?

Under Pennsylvania divorce statutes, a court may grant the plaintiff a fault divorce if one or more of the following situations apply:

  • Desertion. If the defendant has deserted or abandoned the plaintiff for at least one year without a reasonable cause, the court may grant the plaintiff a divorce.

  • Adultery. If the defendant has had an extramarital affair, the court may grant the plaintiff a divorce.

  • Cruelty. If the defendant has committed acts of domestic violence or emotional abuse against the plaintiff, the court may grant a fault divorce.

  • Bigamy. If the defendant is already married, the court could void the plaintiff’s marriage.

  • Imprisonment. If the defendant has been sentenced to two or more years in prison, a court may grant the plaintiff a fault divorce.

Advantages to a Fault Divorce

In Pennsylvania, in the event of a no-fault divorce, the parties involved must live separately for at least one year before divorce can be considered. If fault by a spouse can be proven, however, then a one year separation is not necessary.

Disadvantages to a Fault Divorce

It is important to understand that in order for a fault divorce to be granted, fault has to be proven in court. Seeking a fault divorce could be time-consuming and expensive. In addition to mandatory hearings, there is a risk for a court battle due to defense claims from the defendant.

Need a Bucks County Divorce Lawyer?

If you have any questions or concerns about Pennsylvania divorce laws, then contact the divorce lawyers at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. The Pennsylvania divorce process is complex and you should not face it alone. We represent clients in Newtown and the surrounding areas of Bucks County. Call us today at 215-968-6602 or contact our divorce attorneys online.

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