Understanding Separation And Annulment In Pennsylvania
It is a common misconception that you need a legal separation in Pennsylvania before you can divorce. There is no legal separation decree or order. There is, however, a period of separation required before the divorce can proceed. Our Pittsburgh legal separation attorney can explain the differences and the options, including entering into a separation or postnuptial agreement.
At McMorrow Law, LLC, we have experience with all types of divorce in Pennsylvania. We can help you understand what you need to do in contested and uncontested divorce. We can also explain the legal considerations of an annulment. Please speak with our Pittsburgh attorneys to learn more.
How Do Separation And Annulment Affect A Divorce?
Once a divorce is filed, if it is uncontested, the parties must wait the required 90-day waiting period. However, if one party does not consent to the divorce, the other party must wait a separation period of one year before receiving a divorce decree and a final division of property.
During this year, the parties must have lived separate and apart. By law, “separate and apart” is defined as “the cessation of cohabitation.”
While there is no legal separation document, we can draft a postnuptial agreement to protect your assets and rights during the separation.
If you are considering an annulment, it is important to discuss it with a divorce lawyer first. Although many people consider annulments to be something granted by a church, only courts may issue annulments that have the legal effect of terminating the marriage. An annulment differs from a divorce in the sense that the marriage is deemed to be void (i.e., to never have occurred).
As a result of this difference, a spouse’s property rights and entitlement to alimony may be different than they would be following a traditional divorce. Generally speaking, annulments are fairly rare in Pennsylvania, but may be issued in cases of bigamy, fraud, underage marriages and several other reasons.