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New Law Aids Victims of Spousal Abuse in Divorce

On June 20, 2016, a new law goes into effect that will make it smoother for victims of spousal abuse to divorce their partner.

Current Pennsylvania law dictates that if one party does not consent to divorce, the court is required to order up to three face-to-face counseling sessions before the divorce is finalized. Without that consent from both sides, it can be two years before the court will allow the case to proceed.

Under the new law, signed by Governor Wolf in April, victims of spousal abuse will be able to file for divorce and the law will presume consent of the other party if that person has been convicted of committing a personal injury against their spouse. It also keeps victims from having to speak to and see their abusers. They can object to court mandated divorce counseling if the following conditions apply:

  • they have a protection from abuse order
  • the other party has been convicted for a personal injury crime
  • the other party is in an accelerated rehabilitation program due to their behavior

Victims of spousal abuse should report it to the proper authorities immediately and find a safe haven away from their abuser.

The attorneys at Leonard Sciolla have experience guiding clients through divorce matters of all kind. Contact Heidi Anderson at (215) 567-1530 in our Philadelphia office or at (856) 273-6679 for our New Jersey office.


Published June 1, 2016

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