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Toohil’s No-Fault Divorce Bill Focus of House Judiciary Committee Meeting
9/29/2015
HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne), which would reduce the waiting time to obtain a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania, today was the focus of an informational meeting conducted by the House Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 380 would shorten the length of time for a no-fault divorce based on a couple’s separation from two years to one year after which the litigants are permitted to start the process of dividing assets and determining whether alimony is owed.

“Divorce is never easy and my chief concern is any children who may be caught in the middle,” said Toohil. “Reducing the length of time to one year would lessen the emotional trauma children may experience while their family situation is in limbo. Those uncertainties include future custody schedules, housing arrangements and school placement.”

“There are other benefits to the legislation as well. Prolonging the divorce for two years until the parties can start the process of addressing their economic issues usually means resolution occurs three to five years after the divorce is filed. This increases their legal costs, forces many couples to proceed without an attorney, escalates the level of litigation and conflict between them, and causes additional strain and costs on an already overcrowded court system. A one-year waiting period just makes better sense for all of those involved in a divorce,” Toohil said.

Toohil’s legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which heard from supporters of the bill at the informational meeting, including several members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

“The Pennsylvania Legislature should revise the length of a unilateral no-fault divorce to one year in order to better focus the courts on resolving the overall divorce issues, as opposed to allowing a system which facilitates and fosters delay that is both economically and emotionally costly,” said William Pugh, Pennsylvania Bar Association president, in a written statement. “One of the goals of reducing the length of a unilateral no-fault divorce is to hasten the resolution of divorce to focus on the resolution of the difficulties in custody matters. This applies not only for the hostile families, but for the families who will do better resolving the custody on a friendly basis if the turmoil of divorce is behind them.”
Toohil noted that the divorce waiting periods for surrounding states range from six months to one year.

To watch a video recording of the entire meeting, visit pahousegop.com, click on the “Video” tab and select “Judiciary.”

For more information on Toohil and her legislative priorities, please visit RepToohil.com or Facebook.com/RepToohil.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717.260.6136
RepToohil.com / Facebook.com/RepToohil
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