Divorce in Pennsylvania can take anywhere from 90 days to 12 months on average, depending on whether it is fault or no-fault. The mandatory waiting period for no-fault dissolution of marriage is 90 days, while the average contested divorce takes 5 to 12 months and an uncontested divorce takes 4 to 6 months. A spouse can file for divorce in PA without a court hearing if the other spouse is institutionalized due to a mental disorder. The waiting period for this is 18 months after the date of institutionalization, and there must not be a discharge plan within another 18 months.
Lee Schwartz, a well-known PA divorce attorney, explains that a divorce can be completed in as little as 4 to 6 weeks or it can take years. Factors that can prolong the process include child custody issues, equitable division of assets, and involvement of a teacher. In some cases, the divorce process can take 3 to 5 years or more. To avoid delays caused by litigation, parties who cannot resolve their differences on their own should consider starting divorce mediation.
If a plaintiff seeks a no-fault divorce, either by consent or without consent, the defendant can prevent the divorce from being granted by proving that the parties have not lived separate and apart for at least one year or that the marriage has not irretrievably broken down. The person filing for divorce (the plaintiff) files a lawsuit explaining to the court why they should get a divorce from their spouse (the defendant). As with alimony, the court must be asked to divide marital assets as part of the divorce lawsuit before the court finally grants the divorce. When filing for divorce on fault grounds, you will need to provide the court with a specific reason for your divorce.
Fault-based divorces can proceed more quickly than no-fault divorces once the grounds for divorce are proven, but they are much more costly both in terms of attorneys' fees and costs, and emotionally. If you're thinking about ending your marriage, you should understand how long it takes to get divorced and if there is such a thing as a quickie divorce in Pennsylvania. You don't have to wait for your divorce complaint to be mailed to you; after completing The Divorce Wizard and making payment with your credit card, debit card, or checking account, we will email it to you for confirmation (usually the same day). To learn more about the divorce process in Pennsylvania and the legal issues you will encounter, visit Pennsylvania Divorce & Family Laws.