Family Law

Ending Your Civil Union: Know Your Options

civil unionEnding a civil union in Pennsylvania can sometimes be challenging. While same-sex marriages that were granted in Pennsylvania can be dissolved through the state’s divorce process, that hasn’t necessarily been the case for couples who entered a civil union in another state. It’s important to consult a civil union attorney in Philadelphia PA to understand your options, rights, and obligations.

Changes with Recent Ruling

In late 2016, the state’s Superior Court ruled that same-sex couples who were joined in civil union in another state and now reside in Pennsylvania must be considered the functional equivalent of marriage when it comes to the divorce process. Since this ruling, civil unions and same-sex marriages can be dissolved in the state’s Family Court system regardless of where the union initially took place.

Pennsylvania Divorce Laws

There are three types of divorce in PA: a divorce in which both parties agree to end the union, a divorce based on a two-year separation, and divorce in which one spouse is at fault. All three types start with a complaint filed with Family Court. With the first type of divorce, mutual consent, the end of the civil union can be finalized in 90 days. If one party does not agree to the divorce, the party who does want the divorce can proceed independently after two years of living in a separate residence. Cases in which one spouse is at fault include instances of adultery, desertion for more than one year, and cruel treatment. In these cases, the divorce can be finalized without the two-year waiting period even if one party does not want to end the civil union.

To end your civil union in Pennsylvania, you must live in the state for at least six months immediately before the split. Pozzuolo Family Law is a Philadelphia family law attorney specializing in civil unions. For guidance on dissolving your civil union in Pennsylvania, call  Pozzuolo Rodden, PC. today.