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What grounds does Pennsylvania recognize for a fault divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2024 | Family Law | 0 comments

In Pennsylvania, couples seeking a divorce can file for either a no-fault or a fault divorce. While a no-fault divorce does not require proving fault on the part of either spouse, a fault divorce involves alleging specific grounds for the dissolution of the marriage.

Understanding the grounds recognized for fault divorce is helpful for anyone considering this option.


If one spouse engages in extramarital affairs, the other spouse may file for divorce based on the fault ground of adultery. Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse. Proving adultery typically requires evidence such as witness testimony, photographs or electronic communication records.

Cruel and barbarous treatment

Another ground for fault divorce is cruel and barbarous treatment. This refers to behavior by one spouse that endangers the physical or mental health of the other spouse, making it unsafe or intolerable to continue the marriage. Examples of cruel and barbarous treatment may include physical abuse, emotional abuse or threats of violence.


Bigamy, or marrying another person while still legally married to someone else, is also grounds for fault divorce. If one spouse discovers that the other spouse has entered into a second marriage without obtaining a legal divorce from the first marriage, he or she may file for divorce based on the grounds of bigamy.

While these are some of the circumstances that constitute grounds for a fault divorce in Pennsylvania, this is not an exhaustive list of all fault grounds the state recognizes.



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