Divorce in Pennsylvania can take anywhere from 90 days to 12 months on average, depending on whether it is a fault or no-fault divorce. The mandatory waiting period for a 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. If one spouse is institutionalized due to a mental disorder, the waiting period is 18 months after the date of institutionalization, and there must not be a discharge plan within another 18 months. Lee Schwartz, a prominent PA divorce attorney, explains that while a divorce can be completed in as little as 4 to 6 weeks, it can also take years.
In the simplest of divorces, those that are no-fault and mutually agreed upon by both parties, the average time frame is 4 months. Before the divorce is finalized, spouses should consider seeking custody, alimony, support, spousal property, counseling and attorney's fees. Divorce proceedings can be prolonged if there are minor children or marital assets to divide. To avoid delays caused by litigation, couples who are unable to resolve their differences should consider entering divorce mediation.
If both spouses consent to the divorce and have some marital assets, the process may take longer. The person filing for divorce (the plaintiff) must provide the court with a specific reason for the divorce if filing on fault grounds. If only one spouse consents to the divorce and there are marital assets involved, it may take longer than usual. The court must also be asked to divide marital assets as part of the divorce lawsuit before it grants the divorce.
It's important to understand that every divorce is different and that your own may take longer or shorter than someone else's. To learn more about the divorce process in Pennsylvania and the legal issues you will encounter, you can read up on Pennsylvania Divorce & Family Laws.