divorce in philadelphia

The state of Pennsylvania offers married couples who wish to end their union two different options for no fault divorce. One is called a mutual consent divorce, which can be accomplished in 90 days if both parties agree and file an Affidavit demonstrating their consent. Alternatively, if this type of mutual cooperation is not available, there has always been the opportunity to simply sign an Affidavit stating that the two spouses have lived separately from one another, and that this separation has lasted for a period of two years. Though this has always been considered a relatively simple process, there has also long been a consensus that two years is an inordinately long period to have to wait to end a marriage. Now the state has revised its divorce code, and the Pennsylvania No-Fault Divorce waiting period has been shortened to one year.

The change took place in October of 2016, and was effected in order to try to minimize many of the negative effects that the longer waiting period had on the process. These negative effects included couples fighting more about issues such as child custody, alimony and child support. Unfortunately, the change will not be retroactive, meaning that those couples who had filed for divorce prior to the October 2016 effective date will still be subject to the older two-year rule.

According to one attorney who worked on behalf of the legislation, “It looks like we were making it easier for people to get divorces, but what we’ve learned is that along mandatory separation period doesn’t help people reconcile.”  Others with experience in negotiating marital disputes agree, saying that there is no good reason to legally bind two people together for two years when they no longer want to be associated with one another, and pointing out that the longer waiting period had serious negative impacts. “Sometimes the people who were benefiting were manipulators,” said one advocate of change in the law. “And sometimes they were lawyers dragging out billable hours.”

In commenting on the legislation, marriage counselor Tom Strohl said that the biggest beneficiaries would be the children of divorcing parents. “If the parents are doing it badly and it’s dragged out over that long a time, those parties are not coming to reconciliation and you run a risk of them escalating fights and argument. If the kids are in front of that at all, that’s what will do the damage to them.” He points out that the shorter time period will also reduce the costs of the legal process, which also benefits the children in the long run.

The change is also of benefit to the court system, as the process is shortened. If you are considering filing for divorce from your spouse, this change can make a dramatic difference in the process. For more information or to discuss your situation, contact the Pennsylvania no fault divorce lawyers at Reinherz Law today.

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