Legal Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania

Grounds for divorce differ from state to state. If you are considering divorce, you should acquire the services of a divorce attorney to better your chances of fair proceedings and sound legal advice. The laws governing grounds for divorce in the state of Pennsylvania are very similar to those in the states that surround it. The laws differ somewhat in regards to how they are carried out. It is important to find the correct information regarding these issues from within the state you reside.

If you live in this state, you must have resided there for a minimum of six months before you can file for a divorce. Your spouse doesn’t have to live in the same state. In order to get a better understanding of the reasons for which you can get a divorce in this state I have compiled a list of the grounds below:

Willful and Malicious and Absence From the Marital Home

If your spouse has left the home for a period of one year, you may file for a divorce under these grounds. In order to do this you must prove that there was no stable reason for your husband/wife to leave the home. This means if there was abuse in the home your spouse had every right to leave without further cause.


Adultery is defined as having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse. If your husband/wife has been unfaithful to you, you have grounds for a divorce. The affair has to be proven in order for you to obtain dissolution of the marriage for this purpose. There are several ways in which you can prove such actions including an admission by your husband/wife.

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In Pennsylvania, the only sexual act that is considered adultery is the act of a man actually penetrating the woman. This is an important point to keep in mind if you plan to seek divorce on these grounds.

Extreme Cruelty

This is when there is abuse in the home. This includes mental and physical abuse. Any situation that could endanger you or your health is legal grounds for divorce in this state.


Bigamy is the act of being married to two people at the same time. Bigamy is against the law in most states. It is sometimes practiced anyway. This is an outdated practice that still happens widely in the state of Utah. If your spouse married you and with the knowledge that he/she was already legally married to another person, you have grounds for divorce in the state of Pennsylvania.


If your husband/wife is convicted of a crime and is entered into the penal system for a period of two years, you are able to obtain a legal divorce from him/her. This can be for any crime; it does not matter if it was a misdemeanor or a felony. They must be convicted, not simply charged with a crime.


If your spouse has been committed to an institution for insanity, you are able to obtain a divorce from him/her. Your husband/wife must have been in the institution for a period of eighteen months prior to your filing for a divorce. If there is a possibility of his/her release, you cannot obtain a divorce for this reason.

No Fault Divorce

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This type of divorce is given when you and your husband/wife agree to the proceedings. The agreement is that you have been separated for a period of 90 days and there is not possible chance of reconciliation. You each agree that your differences are too vast to repair the marriage.

If you live in Pennsylvania, the law is very specific on each different grounds. You should consult an attorney to get the complete facts that cover the details of each. It only takes a slight error to lose your right to use these reasons for a divorce. Sometimes, it’s just better to cover all your bases.