What Is Fault-Based Divorce In Pennsylvania?

Andrew Silverman, music mogul, and Lauren Silverman (allegedly pregnant with former American Idol and current X-Factor judge Simon Cowell’s baby) are getting divorced. Andrew Silverman filed the divorce complaint, allegedly naming both Lauren and Simon Cowell as respondents. According to the Huffington Post, they are trying to resolve the matter quickly and efficiently, and are attempting to move forward for the best interest of their child.

It is not clear from the available information whether this a fault-based or no-fault divorce. However, attempting to raise divorce fault grounds may not be the best way to go about an “efficient” divorce, at least under PA family law. Pennsylvania is a no-fault divorce state, although fault-based divorce remains a possibility in the case that one party is unwilling to agree that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” the legal standard for no-fault divorce. It has becoming increasingly unpopular, however, because fault-based divorce is both more financially and emotionally draining than no-fault divorce. To prove a fault-based ground for divorce, both parties and their attorneys must appear at a hearing at which the court or a Master listens to testimony about the alleged wrong-doing, reviews evidence, and makes a determination as to whether or not fault is proven. The other party can also raise defenses to fault, which can offset the fault ground being raised.

The fault grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania are :

•1. Desertion. Desertion occurs when one spouse willfully and maliciously vacates the marital residence for a year or more and does not return, without a reasonable cause.

•2. Adultery. Cheating on your spouse is a ground for divorce. Note, however, that if one spouse condones the adultery, meaning that they move past it after finding out, then that can be raised as a defense.

•3. Cruel and barbarous treatment. This means physical or cruel emotional injury to the other spouse. However, common bickering between unhappy couples does not rise to this level.

•4. Bigamy. One spouse being legally married to someone else at the time of your marriage is a ground for divorce. Note, however, that a bigamous marriage may also be annulled and declared void.

•5. Criminal Conviction. If one spouse is convicted of a crime carrying a sentence of two or more years, then it can be raised as a ground for divorce.

•6. Intolerable Indignities. This ground can encompass anything from neglect to hatred to mistreatment that rises to the level of making life intolerable. This treatment has to be continuing, not spur of the moment or one-time hurtful actions.

Our knowledgeable Pittsburgh divorce attorneys are experienced in both no-fault and fault-based divorce.Contact our team today to discuss your case!

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