How long does it take to get divorced in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2022 | Divorce

Divorce can be difficult, but it does not last forever. Still, before going into the process of ending your marriage, it might be helpful to know how long you must wait until your divorce is final. Knowing what you are in for ahead of time is comforting for many people in Waynesboro.

One thing you should know is that Pennsylvania has one of the longest waiting periods for no-fault divorce in the country. Before you can file for divorce based on an irretrievable breakdown in your relationship (i.e., a no-fault divorce, the most common type of divorce filing), you and your spouse must live separately for at least one year.

An important exception is for divorce filings on the grounds of “mutual consent.” If you and your spouse both agree that your marriage is irretrievably broken and each file for divorce, the waiting period goes down to 90 days. But this is not an option for everyone seeking a divorce. Your spouse might refuse to cooperate, forcing you to wait out the full year.

Time to prepare

While a yearlong waiting period might sound onerous, the average divorce case lasts about a year anyway. You can use the separation period to develop your property division and child custody strategy with your divorce attorney, who can then begin negotiating a possible settlement. Assuming negotiations or alternative dispute resolution go well, the legal process of getting your divorce ordered and finalized can be relatively quick.

Even knowing about how long you can expect your divorce to take does not prepare you for the important decisions and possible complications. But your attorney can explain these details to you so you can avoid unpleasant surprises.