For years, couples in Pennsylvania seeking a “no-fault” divorce have had to deal with a 2-year waiting period from the date of separation if one party would not provide their consent. However, after years of attempts to address this issue, HB 380 was passed in November of 2015 by the PA House of Representatives and has moved on to the PA Senate. This Bill would reduce the waiting period from two years to ONE YEAR.
According to a local Judge, this Bill should be heard by the full Senate sometime in April or May of 2016, and is likely to be passed. If this happens, the Bill would need to be signed by the Governor before it would become law, and thereby Amending the applicable portion of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Reducing the waiting period for a “no-fault” divorce would put Pennsylvania in line with the surrounding States, which all currently have shorter waiting periods.
More importantly, it would allow economic issues to be resolved faster and should also be better for couples with children who would have to endure shorter periods of uncertainty resulting from protracted litigation over: financial considerations; property division and support issues. This is by no means a solution to the pain that can accompany a divorce, but it would be a big step and welcome change to the existing law.
In the meantime and even after any change, divorcing couples always have the option of choosing to move their matter forward expeditiously by consent through traditional negotiation, settlement and litigation, or via Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options such as Mediation or Collaborative Law.