There are two ways to end a marriage in Pennsylvania: (1) annulment and (2) divorce. Annulment is distinguished from divorce in that a decree of divorce terminates the marriage, while a decree of annulment is a determination that the marriage never existed.


Two types of marriages can be ended by annulments- those that are “void” and those that are “voidable”. A void marriage is treated as if the marriage never existed. There are four general types of void marriages:

  • A marriage where one or both of the spouses have insanity or serious mental illness;
  • A bigamous marriage;
  • An incestuous marriage;
  • A purported common law marraige where either party was under the age of 18 years.

Voidable marriages can only be annulled when a spouse successfully “attacks” it. The following are situations where a spouse may “attack” a voidable marriage:

  • A spouse was under age at the time of the marriage;
  • A spouse was under the influence of liquor or drugs when he or she entered into the marriage;
  • Fraud, Duress, Coercion, or Force existed;
  • One party has a lack of some physical capacity that was unknown to the other party prior to the marriage. For example, a spouse has an incurable physical or psychological inability to have normal sexual intercourse.

If you would like more information on proceeding with a divorce or an annulment, please contact Pittsburgh divorce lawyer, Bethany L. Notaro, Esquire.


There are generally two types of divorces in Pennsylvania: Fault Divorces and No-Fault divorces.

The following are all grounds for a fault based divorce:

  • Imprisonment for 2 or more years
  • Bigamy
  • Indignities, or a course of conduct that makes a spouse’s life burdensome or conditions intolerable
  • Adultery, or voluntary sex with a non-spouse
  • Cruel & barbarous treatment, or physical abuse
  • Desertion, or willful and malicious absence from home without justification for a year or longer
  • Insanity, or a situation where a spouse is institutionalized

Sometimes, even though a spouse is at fault, he or she may have “defenses” to the behavior. Common defenses are Provocation, Condonation or Insanity.

If you think you may be proceeding with a fault based divorce, please contact PA divorce attorney Bethany L. Notaro, Esquire for assistance.

Filing for divorce in PA

The “standard” for a No-Fault Divorce is one where the Marriage is “irretrievably broken”. Where both parties agree that they want a divorce, and both parties consent to a divorce, the parties may sign an affidavit, wait 90 days, and assuming the paperwork is in order, a divorce may be granted.

If the parties do not agree, one spouse may unilaterally request a decree in divorce (No-Fault) by alleging that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”, and the parties are separated and apart for at least two years.

To proceed with a divorce in Pennsylvania, a spouse must reside in PA for at least 6 months before the divorce. The court of common pleas in the county where one or the other of the parties resides will generally have jurisdiction of the divorce case.

For more information about proceeding with a divorce in Pennsylvania, please contact Allegheny County divorce lawyer Bethany L. Notaro, Esquire.