In the state of Pennsylvania, grounds for getting a divorce can be classified as either no-fault or fault. In most cases, people file for a no-fault divorce: this is the most straightforward process, and usually takes the least amount of time. However, there are some instances when a spouse refuses to consent to a divorce, is not available, or has engaged in some type of significantly negative behavior that demands that the divorce is sought on fault grounds. Marriage abandonment is one reason for an at-fault divorce.

There are several different reasons why a person can seek an at-fault divorce in Pennsylvania. One is marriage abandonment or desertion. In order to qualify as abandonment, the abandoning spouse must leave for a minimum of one year, under circumstances that the other spouse did not agree to. If the two agreed to separate, if one spouse takes a job elsewhere and the spouse left behind chooses not to go, it does not qualify as abandonment. Importantly, if the deserting spouse returns at some point less than a year and stays in the home, then leaves again, the clock starts over again.

One of the most important requirements for abandonment and desertion is that the departure must be willful and malicious. This means that if there is no reasonable justification for one spouse to have left (such as having been abused, or your spouse has had an affair), and the departing spouse has moved out in a responsible and respectful manner, then the departure does not qualify as desertion or abandonment. If your spouse has left you and has notified you that they are leaving, where they are going to be, why they are leaving, and they have contributed financially to their marital financial obligations, it is not considered abandonment.

The other situations that qualify for an at-fault divorce in the state of Pennsylvania include adultery, cruel and barbarous treatment that endangers the other spouse’s life or health, bigamy, the imprisonment of your spouse for at least two years, and indignities, which are defined as rendering the other spouse’s condition intolerable and life burdensome.

Though an at-fault divorce may be appropriate for your situation, obtaining a no-fault divorce is often easier. For information on what will work best and provide you with the easiest solution to an uncomfortable situation, contact Reinherz Law today to set an appointment to speak with one of our empathetic professionals.

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