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Unilateral Divorce

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Unilateral Divorce

In virtually every state, if not every, there is some mandatory waiting period after spouses have separated before one spouse can get a no-fault divorce without the consent of the other. This divorce without the consent of the other party is a unilateral divorce. Pennsylvania has one of the longest separation periods required before a party can receive a unilateral divorce. In Pennsylvania, to divorce one’s spouse without his or her consent, the two must have been separated for a period of at least two years. In state surrounding Pennsylvania, the periods are much shorter. In Delaware and New Jersey, the waiting period is six months. In New York, Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia, the waiting period is one year.

The current two-year waiting period is the source of much anguish for divorcing parties. It can cause the process to drag on unnecessarily where one spouse will withhold his or her consent out of spite or to leverage for demands to settle the divorce. The prolonged period of separation without divorce can also create unnecessary uncertainty for divorcing parties’ children.

For the time being, Pennsylvania remains an outlier in the separation period necessary before a unilateral divorce can be granted. Legislation is presently under consideration that will shorten that period to just one year. This would have the effect of bringing swifter resolution to divorces, as well as bring Pennsylvania more in line with surrounding states.

If you need assistance with your divorce matter, please visit our website and contact our office for a consultation!

By: John M. Schaffranek, Esquire

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Pennsylvania Office Locations

Allegheny County – Main Office:

3810 South Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Phone: 412-281-9906
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Washington County Law Office:

By appointment only

2400 Ansys Dr.,
Canonsburg, PA 15317
Phone: 724-227-0293
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Butler County Law Office:

By appointment only

2009 Mackenzie Way,
Cranberry Township, PA 16066
Phone: 724-776-9906
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Clearfield County Law Office:

By appointment only

114 1/2 S. Second Street
Clearfield, PA 16830
Phone: 814-290-0587
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Somerset County Law Office:

By appointment only

61 Swiss Mountain Drive
Champion, PA 15622
Phone: 814-352-3037
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Allegheny County – Main Office

3810 South Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Phone: 412-281-9906
Get Directions

Washington County Office

2400 Ansys Dr., Suite 102 Canonsburg, PA 15317
Phone: 724-227-0293
Get Directions

Butler County Law Office

2009 Mackenzie Way, Suite 184 Cranberry Township, PA 16066
Phone: 724-776-9906
Get Directions

Clearfield County Law Office

Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. 114 1/2 S. Second StreetClearfield, PA 16830
Phone: 814-290-0587
Get Directions

Somerset County Law Office:

By appointment only

61 Swiss Mountain Drive
Champion, PA 15622
Phone: 814-352-3037
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Miami-Dade County:

1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1950
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: 305-222-7351
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Miami-Dade County:

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1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1950
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: 305-222-7351
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Our family law offices are working remotely from 8:30 am - 5 pm EST to support you during the COVID-19 crisis. We offer phone, Zoom, Webex and Skype appointments.

Our family law offices are working remotely from 8:30 am - 5 pm EST to support you during the COVID-19 crisis. We offer phone, Zoom, Webex and Skype appointments.Contact Us