NEW LAW CREATES SPEEDIER DIVORCE IN PA WHEN A MARITAL PARTY IS “CONVICTED” OF A PERSONAL INJURY CRIME
On April 24, 2016, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 12 into law April 24, 2016, creating an additional ground for divorce. This new law will allow for a speedier divorce, based on “assumed consent,” in certain cases involving criminal convictions for personal injury crimes. The law becomes effective June 21, 2016
ASSUMED CONSENT FOR CERTAIN CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS
Specifically, consent of a party will be assumed if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony grading of any of the following offenses (or attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit):
18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 25 (relating to criminal homicide);
18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 27 (relating to assault);
18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 29 (relating to kidnapping);
18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 30 (relating to human trafficking);
18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 31 (relating to sexual offenses);
18 Pa.C.S. § 3301 (relating to arson and related offenses);
18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 37 (relating to robbery);
18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 49 Subch. B (relating to victim and witness intimidation);
75 Pa.C.S. § 3732 (relating to homicide by vehicle); or,
75 Pa.C.S. § 3742 (relating to accidents involving death or personal injury).
Importantly, the new law defines “convicted” as any case where the party has:
(1) entered a plea of guilty;
(2) entered a plea of nolo contendere (no contest); or,
(3) was accepted into Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).
Additionally, as part of the new law, a Court cannot compel a party to a divorce from participating in counseling when that party is protected by a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order or a party to the divorce has been convicted of or entered into an ARD Program for a personal injury crime.