Unless you've already been married and divorced before, it's unlikely you've made yourself intimately familiar with your state's divorce laws. However, these laws can vary widely from state to state—from Nevada's notorious lax laws that often lead spouses seeking divorce under stricter laws to relocate for a few weeks to other states that have a fairly stringent list of reasons for which divorce can be granted. In Pennsylvania, a recent change to the time limits on uncontested divorce proceedings could impact the speed with which you'll be able to finalize your divorce. Read on to learn more about the divorce process in the Keystone State, as well as how this change could impact your case.
How does a divorce proceed in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has one of the lengthier waiting periods for an uncontested divorce, requiring spouses to live apart for at least a year before they can file for divorce and begin dividing assets. Meanwhile, someone who has filed for divorce without the other spouse's consent must wait two full years after separation in order for the divorce to proceed, ensuring that any opportunity for reconciliation has passed. This is designed to ensure that those who make it to divorce court are those who truly want to be divorced, rather than couples who may have begun to throw around "the D word" during an especially severe fight and aren't willing to back down from their positions.
Once you've fulfilled the requisite waiting period, you can file a dissolution request and your case will be set for hearing. The judge may take testimony from you, your spouse, and even your children to determine whether you've met the requirements to be legally divorced from each other.
What recent change could impact this process?
A recent bill passed into law and is scheduled to take effect within the next few months to reduce this two-year waiting period for uncontested divorces to one year, bringing it more in line with the state's other waiting limits and time periods. This change is deemed to be a positive one, allowing couples to begin the asset division and child custody process sooner rather than later, leaving them less time "in limbo" as they wait for time to pass before the divorce can be filed (and finalized). For those who have only recently begun to contemplate divorce, this law could permit you to move on with your life much sooner than expected.
For more information, contact a divorce lawyer, like one from Dr. Stress & Associates LLC.