What are No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania?
Since the 1980 amendments to the Pennsylvania divorce code, most divorces are now granted on no-fault grounds. If both parties file affidavits of consent to the divorce, a §3301(c) divorce may be granted 90 days after filing the divorce complaint. If only 1 party wishes the divorce without the consent of the other spouse, in addition to alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the plaintiff must file an affidavit alleging that the parties have lived separate and apart for at least 2 years. In this situation, irretrievable breakdown is defined by statute as estrangement due to marital difficulties with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Separate and apart usually means that the spouses live in different households. However, certain exceptions exist where the plaintiff manifests and communicates to the other spouse his or her to live separate and apart under the same roof. In one reported case, the plaintiff/husband proved that the couple lived in private living quarters in the same home; the couple no longer attended social functions together; and they had not engaged in sexual relations during the period of separation.