With quarantines loosening up around the state, there has been a constant stream of reports of couples filing for divorce. What if, after weeks in quarantine, you discovered you had to wait two years to divorce? Citizens of Pennsylvania are in for a surprise when their quarantine ends, as the governor has changed their waiting period.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a new state law that reduced the divorce waiting period time after a no-fault divorce from two years to one.
Law 102, which will enter into force by 60 days, reduces the waiting period for a one-way divorce without errors from two years to one.
Marriage in Pennsylvania is a traditional divorce and two types of divorce without errors: mutual consent and a two-year separation. Separation simply means that you and your spouse live separately and individually, either under one roof or otherwise.
It is important to note that a one-year divorce waiting period does not necessarily mean that the divorce will be completed in one year. Proponents of the new law believe that it will reduce emotional pressure on families, which seems to worsen the two-year waiting period.
This new rule can save your spouse time, money, and emotional trauma. There is also a delay for people whose spouses disagree with the divorce.
Florida Divorce Waiting Period
The official term for divorce in Florida is “dissolution of marriage”, and you don’t need fault as a ground for divorce. Florida abolished fault as a ground for divorce.
I’ve written about divorce and your rights before. Helping to expedite your divorce, the no-fault concept in Florida means you no longer have to prove a reason for the divorce. Instead, you just need to state under oath that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Before the no-fault divorce era, people who wanted to get divorce either had to reach agreement in advance with the other spouse that the marriage was over, or throw mud at each other and prove wrongdoing like adultery or abuse.
No-fault laws were the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. No fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.
Florida also has a divorce waiting period of sorts, although it’s not as long as Pennsylvania’s.
In Florida, no final judgment of dissolution of marriage may be entered until at least 20 days have elapsed from the date of filing the original petition for dissolution of marriage.
However, the court, on a showing that injustice would result from this delay, may enter a final judgment of dissolution of marriage at an earlier date.
Either spouse can file for the dissolution of marriage. You must prove that a marriage exists, one party has been a Florida resident for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition, and the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Back at The Office
From Pittsburgh to Scranton, residents across Pennsylvania will be heading back to the office. A shorter divorce waiting period makes life easier not only for those divorced couples, but also for their children. In a statement, however, Republican Tara Tohil from Lucerne County, who sponsored the bill, said the quickest solution was in everyone’s favor.
“A shorter waiting time helps solve the couple’s financial situation faster and at a lower cost so that they can take care of the well-being of their children,” she said.
Although Law 102 shortens the waiting period after separation from two years to one year, the actual date of separation is still an important factor that can determine many aspects of the divorce process.
The fact is that happy couples will not file for divorce using a simple procedure. After you file for a divorce in Pennsylvania without your fault, you and your spouse will have to wait 90 days from the date you filed the complaint about the divorce before you file 5a and 5b, declaring your consent to the divorce. Therefore, if both parties agree to a divorce and each of them submits an application to the court, the divorce process can be completed much earlier if neither side agrees.
Although an erroneous divorce is always possible, most Pennsylvania couples are perfectly divorced, which means that one spouse is not required to prove that the other has committed an offense. Both spouses must be available and ready to sign legal documents confirming that they agree to a divorce. Thus, the waiting time is only 90 days.
Lehigh Valley’s Morning Call article is here.