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Do I need to allege a “fault ground” to obtain a divorce?

Divorcing spouses are not required to allege a fault ground in order to be granted a divorce. No-fault divorces are not only available in Pennsylvania, but they are the option most divorcing spouses choose. However, it is possible to allege a fault ground, such as adultery, abandonment, bigamy, or imprisonment of two or more years, and to obtain a fault-based divorce in Pennsylvania.

In most cases, choosing to obtain a fault-based divorce does not make sense, because pursuing a fault-based divorce means proving the fault ground in court proceedings. This means, for example, that a spouse seeking a divorce due to adultery will need to provide evidence of the adultery to the court. Even if it’s possible to prove that the adultery occurred, this can be a time-consuming, emotional, and expensive process. Furthermore, even if the fault ground is proven, it will not likely have an impact on the distribution of the marital estate between the parties.

However, there are some benefits to fault divorces. There is no waiting period for a fault divorce, whereas there is a waiting period of at least 90 days and as much as one year for a no-fault divorce. When a fault ground has been proven, it is also a factor (although not the only factor) that the court will consider in awarding spousal support, alimony pendente lite, or alimony.

If you have questions about filing for divorce in Pennsylvania, please call Tanner Law Offices at 717-836-0471 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.