In the state of Pennsylvania, can I get granted a divorce if my husband does not come to court?

Also my spouse dumped me in 2011 and we ceased to live as husband and wife after that. We live separate lives and he doesn't support me. Since that was two years ago, can I make a petition for divorce without his signature even though we still live in the same apartment? Neither one of us can afford to move.

Morrisville, PA -

Attorney Answers (2)

Deborah B Miller

Deborah B Miller

Family Law Attorney - Plymouth Meeting, PA

It is possible to obtain a divorce without either party ever appearing in court. If you and your spouse have been living separate and apart, even if in the same apartment for two full years and your marriage is irretrievably broken, you have grounds for a divorce to be finalized. If either of you raises additional issues, such as equitable distribution of debts and assets, the divorce typically cannot be finalized until the additional economic issues are resolved. I recommend you consult an attorney to explore the best way for to proceed in light of your circumstances.

Eric D. Strand

Eric D. Strand

Family Law Attorney - West Chester, PA

The answer is yes, you can obtain a divorce without him (or either of you) coming to court. Under PA law a party can obtain a divorce decree after the parties have been living "separate and apart" for two years or more. For purposes of a divorce, parties can be living "separate and apart" even if residing in the same household. However, every case is fact specific, so it is important that you consult with an attorney to fully review the facts and circumstances of your case and discuss the options available to you, and the potential factual and legal issues that may arise. EITHER party in ANY marriage can file a Divorce Complaint, but you need to provide additional information to your attorney so that you can discuss the options available to move the divorce case forward, which will be based at least in part on your husband's response to the Divorce Complaint (e.g., does he agree on the date you began living "separate and apart," will he file economic claims, will he consent to the divorce?). Use the Find a Lawyer function on AVVO to locate family law attorneys in your area. Good luck.

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