I have been separated for so long does it matter if my husband contests?

Aug 8, 2012 by

Question: 

I have been separated from my husband for over 10 years. I met someone recently and we are talking about getting married. Since, I have been separated for so long does it matter if he contests it? And also what if I can’t locate him?

State: 
Pennsylvania

Answer: 

Upon filing your divorce petition, your spouse has 30 days to respond if he lives in Pennsylvania. He has 60 days if he lives outside of Pennsylvania, and 90 days if he lives outside the United States. If he does not respond or cannot be located, the court can proceed with the divorce if service of the divorce process has been completed according to Pennsylvania rules of service.

You can file for a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania using the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage if you have been living separate and apart for at least two years. Abandonment of the marriage can also be grounds if the abandonment has been continued for 12 uninterrupted months, deliberate and final and beyond any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

Your husband can contest the divorce as long as you are legally married, the length of separation does not remove any of his rights in the matter. However, since it has been 10 years the court is unlikely to put much weight on his protests or reconciliation attempts at such a late date. It sounds like you may be able to complete a simple, uncontested divorce as long as your spouse doesn’t respond or at least does not object and try to impede the divorce.

- The Divorce.com Team

Wendy Jaffe and Divorce.com can only provide general information about divorce. DO NOT RELY ON MS. JAFFE’S ADVICE ALONE. Before acting on information provided by Ms. Jaffe or by Divorce.com, talk to an attorney first about your particular facts and the law of your state. By submitting your question to Divorce.com, you are not creating an attorney/client relationship with Ms. Jaffe or with any of the other attorneys listed on this site.

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