Pennsylvania's 3301(d) and the concept of living separate and apart
This is a quick little guide to the concept of living separate and apart. This concept comes up in 3301(d) divorces and can mean the difference between getting a divorce decree in one month and getting one in two years and one month.
Living in Separate ResidencesWhat does "separate and apart" mean? If the parties live in separate homes and are together only sporadically, they are living separate and apart (Pangallo v Pangallo, 477 A.2d 885 (Pa. Super. 1985)) even if they occasionally have sexual relations (Thomas v Thomas, 483 A.2d 945 (Pa. Super. 1984). But where the parties spend time together regularly during which time Wife washes Husbands clothes and cooks for him, and they have sex once a month, then they are not living separate and apart (Wellner v Wellner, 699 A.2d 1278 (Pa. Super. 1997)).
When Living in the Same House Still CountsBut under Pennsylvania law, the parties can be living in the same house and yet still be living separate and apart. How can this be? In one case, the parties shared a farm house but slept in separate rooms, sharing only a few common areas, preparing their own meals. They did not have sexual relations. Sometimes they ate together and the Wife cleaned the entire house, and they even acted as if they were still together when playing doubles tennis and entertaining family, but this was not enough to defeat the claim that they were living separate and apart (Mackey v Mackey, 545 A.2d 362 (Pa. Super. 1988)).