Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

Changes in Pennsylvania divorce laws to take effect soon

Pennsylvania's Governor Wolf recently signed legislation that will streamline the divorce process in the state. Luzerne County Rep. Tarah Toohil sponsored Act 102, which reduces the length of time to obtain no-fault divorces from two years to one.

This change will allow divorcing spouses to conclude their issues of custody, asset division and spousal support faster and allow families to get on with their post-divorce lives.

Rep. Toohil stated that she sponsored the bill to reduce the stress on the kids who get trapped in the midst of parents' divorces.

"Divorce is always difficult, especially for the children," she said in a statement released by her office. "[R]educing the waiting period [will lessen] the emotional trauma . . . for children." She went on to state that it will also benefit couples's without children, who can now spend less on legal fees and resolve their joint finances faster.

Of the three categories of Pennsylvania divorces — fault divorces, two-year separations and mutual consent, the Neighborhood Legal Services Association reported that no-fault are most often filed.

The state Bar Association also supports the change, which is effective 60 days from the law being signed by the governor.

If you are in the midst of a divorce, make sure that you check with your family law attorney to see if or how this may affect your particular circumstances. For some couples, the hastened process could ramp up settlement negotiations, and you want to ensure that your and your children's best interests are being timely addressed in any ongoing divorce litigation between you and your ex.

Source: Philly Voice, "Pa. bill aiming to lessen 'emotional trauma' for children of divorce signed into law," Patricia Madej, Oct. 06, 2016

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