DIVORCE LAWS AND PROCEDURES- PENNSYLVANIA
The court may grant a decree of divorce on the following grounds
- Fault Ground
- Mutual consent
The divorce may be granted on the fault grounds if one of the spouses has:
- committed willful and malicious desertion, and remains absence from the habitation of the injured and innocent spouse, without a reasonable cause, for the period of one or more years.
- committed adultery.
- done cruel and barbarous treatment, endangered the life or health of the injured and innocent spouse.
- knowingly entered into a bigamous marriage while a former marriage is still subsisting.
- been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two or more years upon conviction of having committed a crime.
offered such indignities to the innocent and injured spouse as to render that spouse's condition intolerable and life burdensome.
- The court may grant a divorce from a spouse upon the ground that insanity or serious mental disorder has resulted in confinement in a mental institution
A presumption that no prospect of discharge exists shall be established by a certificate of the superintendent of the institution to that effect and which includes a supporting statement of a treating physician
- The court may grant a divorce on an affidavit filed by each of the parties evidencing that each of the parties consents to the divorce.
- This may be done where it is alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the date of commencement of an action.
- The court may grant a divorce where a complaint has been filed alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken and an affidavit has been filed alleging that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years.
- That the marriage is irretrievably broken and the defendant either:
If a hearing has been held and the court determines that there is a reasonable prospect of reconciliation, then the court shall continue the matter for a period not less than 90 days nor more than 120 days unless the parties agree to a period in excess of 120 days.
During this period, the court shall require counseling which goes on for a maximum of three sessions and the report is submitted to the court after the third session.
If the parties have not reconciled at the expiration of the time period and one party states under oath that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall determine whether the marriage is irretrievably broken.
If the court determines that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall grant the divorce.
If grounds for divorce alleged in the complaint or counterclaim are established, the court shall grant a divorce without requiring a hearing on any other grounds.
- Does not deny the allegations set forth in the affidavit.
- Denies one or more of the allegations set forth in the affidavit but, after notice and hearing, the court determines that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE
- In all cases where a supposed or alleged marriage has been contracted which is void or voidable may bring an action in annulment to have it declared void.
- In the case of a purported common-law marriage where a party was under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian of the minor may bring a declaratory judgment proceeding during the party's minority to have the marriage declared void.
- Where there has been no confirmation by cohabitation following the removal of an impediment, the supposed or alleged marriage of a person shall be deemed void in the following cases:
Where either party at the time of such marriage had an existing spouse and the former marriage had not been annulled nor had there been a divorce except where that party had obtained a decree of presumed death of the former spouse.
Where the parties to such marriage are related within the degrees of consanguinity prohibited.
Where either party to such marriage was incapable of consenting by reason of insanity or serious mental disorder or otherwise lacked capacity to consent or did not intend to consent to the marriage.
Where either party to a purported common-law marriage was under 18 years of age.
- The marriage of a person shall be deemed voidable and subject to annulment in the following cases:
Where either party to the marriage was under 16 years of age unless the marriage was expressly authorized by the court.
Where either party was 16 or 17 years of age and lacked the consent of parent or guardian or express authorization of the court and has not subsequently ratified the marriage upon reaching 18 years of age and an action for annulment is commenced within 60 days after the marriage ceremony.
Where either party to the marriage was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and an action for annulment is commenced within 60 days after the marriage ceremony.
Where either party to the marriage was at the time of the marriage and still is naturally and incurably impotent unless the condition was known to the other party prior to the marriage.
Where one party was induced to enter into the marriage due to fraud, duress, coercion or force attributable to the other party and there has been no subsequent voluntary cohabitation after knowledge of the fraud or release from the effects of fraud, duress, coercion or force.