In the state of Pennsylvania, there are several different types of divorce. The easiest and most straightforward is mutual no-fault divorce, in which neither side contests the divorce. There is fault divorce, where one spouse has to prove that the marriage is over as a result of some kind of wrongdoing by their spouse, and the state will grant a divorce to a person whose spouse has already been confined to a mental institution for 18 months and will be for another 18 months. Additionally, the state has rules for a contested divorce, which is also known as a unilateral no-fault divorce. In this type of divorce, one spouse refuses to comply with the divorce process. This means that they won’t sign the divorce papers that the other spouse has served them with.

Contested divorces make an already difficult situation even harder. There are many reasons why a spouse may refuse to sign divorce papers. They may be angry or may be concerned about their economic stability without the support of their marriage. They may simply be unwilling to admit that their marriage is over. Whatever the reason, there was once a time when a spouse seeking a divorce who faced this lack of compliance would have to wait three years for their divorce to become official without their spouse’s consent. That was shortened in 1988 to two years and was recently shortened again to just one year.

If your spouse opts to contest your divorce, you need to wait a period of at least one year during which time you must be officially separated. That official separation requires you to file a statement verifying the date of separation. Your spouse then has forty days in which they can respond to that statement, and their response can deny that the one-year separation took place, or that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If this occurs, the court will make a ruling after hearing from both sides. If your spouse does nothing within forty days of your separation claim, the court will grant the divorce after receiving all other appropriate paperwork.

Navigating a contested divorce is extremely frustrating for the spouse that wants to move on with their life. For assistance and guidance, contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys.

 

 

 

 

 

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