What are the Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania

To obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania, at least one of the parties must have resided in the state for six months before divorce procedures begin.

Spouses may agree to a mutual divorce, or may present a fault divorce to the court.

  • There is no waiting for a fault divorce, which should be obtained with the help of an attorney.
  • It is possible to file a mutual consent divorce after a 90-day.
  • Two-year separation divorces require at least 2 years waiting period, prior to December 5, 2016.
  • One-year separation divorces require at least 1 year waiting period, post separation December 5, 2016.
  • Non-consent divorces and military divorces may take longer to complete.

Grounds For Divorce In Pennsylvania Include:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment for at least one year
  • Bigamy
  • Excessive cruelty (abuse)
  • Felony conviction
  • Imprisonment for at least two years
  • Institutionalization for insanity or a serious mental disorder for at least 18 months with no prospect of discharge
  • Irreconcilable Differences

See 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3301 for a complete list of grounds of fault for divorce in Pennsylvania.


The simple process outlined above works only for dissolution of marriage and is only available for cases in which neither spouse is serving in the military. A lawyer must be hired if the spouse who is filing wishes to divide property, file for custody of children, receive alimony, or receive payment for expenses including legal fees.

Because Pennsylvania divorce laws are complex, an attorney is needed in order to ensure all documents are filed in the correct order and at the right time.

Danielle Ross Attorney