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Pennsylvania Non-Consensual Divorce- Broken Beyond Repair

September 10, 2012

Or Tissues in the Bed

Family Therapist, B Janet Hibbs, PhD. in her book, Try To See it My Way, writes that people who are committed to relationships know how to navigate the annoying issues of daily life that can cause fights between couples. Every couple has issues that need to be worked out because when two people are involved, things naturally will be seen differently. The question is how exasperated do you become when he/she does not walk the dog, or when he/she is late for dinner, or leaves Kleenex in the bed after you asked him/her not to?


Your ability to resolve disputes in a fair way, without name-calling, criticism, defensiveness, contempt or stonewalling are critical to the difference between healthy fights and destructive relationship breakdowns. Oftentimes, it appears to be a small incident that brings a client into the divorce lawyers’ office. He didn’t like what I said about his driving, and the next thing I knew he packed his things and moved into a hotel. One partner may be blindsided by the reaction to what seemed a stupid fight, but in a troubled relationship there is no such thing as a stupid fight.

If you can’t get over an issue, ask yourself did a grudge register and fester despite a resolve to let it go? As B Hibbs says Little things that bother us in a relationship are sticky; they build on themselves , because even the petty things in life deserve to be handled fairly. The greater insult to a relationship often occurs not from the disagreement itself, but from how a couple handles it, talks about it and repairs it.

So called “stupid fights” may end up as non-consensual divorces in Pennsylvania. One party may be unhappy for years and planning an exit without discussing it with the other party. Frequently I am asked, Can I get a divorce if my partner won’t agree? The answer is YES., but you may have to wait. Pennsylvania law states that if a marriage is irretrievably broken and the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of at least two years , the Court may grant a divorce. However, this time period is not hard and fast. For example, if there is a prospect of reconciliation, the Court may order a continuance, and order counseling.

If you have questions about whether your marriage is broken beyond repair, you may wish to consult with a therapist. If you have legal questions, or are ready to make a change, contact a family lawyer to discuss your options.

References 23 PA. C. S. A. §3901 (d)
Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania B Hibbs, Ph.D. , Try to See it My Way Being Fair in Love and Marriage, 2009