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Divorce Options for Victims of Abuse

Generally speaking, there are two ways to obtain a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania: with the other party’s consent, and without the other party’s consent.  Recently, the legislature added a provision to the divorce law that allows some victims of abuse to get a divorce “by mutual consent” but the Court does not require the other party’s actual consent; rather, the other party’s consent is legally presumed.

This option is especially attractive for individuals who have not yet been separated for at least a year (and would therefore have to wait to obtain a divorce without consent), and for individuals who may not be able to obtain the other party’s consent due to the abuse they have suffered.

To be eligible to obtain a divorce in this manner, an abuse victim must have suffered a personal injury at the hands of the other party, and that other party must have been convicted of that personal injury crime. For the purposes of this statutory provision, “convicted” means that the party has been found guilty, has entered a guilty plea, has entered a plea of nolo contendre, or has been accepted into an ARD program. Some of the crimes that may qualify are attempted murder, assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, sexual offenses, arson, and robbery.

If you are interested in learning more about obtaining a divorce in Pennsylvania, contact Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.