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This is really a loaded issue! Perhaps we have to go back to the expectations of both spouses at the time of the wedding. What was the economic plan you had discussed? Who was working at the time of the wedding? If only one of you was, was the income enough to float your marital economy, or was it clear that the unemployed spouse needed to get an income? Is one or both of you spending too much? Do your opinions differ on how much is being spent and on what? Is an in-law exerting pressure that is causing problems? I think I could come up with about fifty more questions, but none of them actually have answers to which both spouses would agree, and neither would likely step up and take the blame. One or both spouses might say the other party is now misstating the original plan. Unhappiness, regardless of who’s to blame, is nonetheless real for both.

Except for the unhappiness, this is much ado about nothing as far a Pennsylvania’s law is concerned. Ever since the Emancipation Proclamation, no American can be forced to work (well, perhaps except those whose prison sentence includes “hard labor”). And that is the case even if it means a family will suffer because of it. Accordingly, a spouse’s refusal to provide could be interpreted as grounds for a fault divorce under “indignities” or even under “cruel and barbarous treatment”. Either would work in an UNcontested fault divorce. Uncontested fault divorces involve a brief hearing where the spouse who refuses to work does not show up and the spouse who filed testifies what the reasons are for seeking a divorce. If the facts are presented properly, the divorce would be granted. Sound good? The drawback is that uncontested fault divorces are about ten times more expensive than uncontested NO-fault divorces. Moreover, if the other spouse chooses to show up and contest, the divorce will not be granted. Proceeding further in what would then be a contested fault divorce would require many. many thousands of dollars with no guarantee as to the outcome.

 So, what about getting an uncontested NO-fault divorce because your spouse will not work? Sure, because for an uncontested no-fault divorce, you do not need any reason at all, just the other spouse agreeing to the divorce. And for a simple, low-cost, uncontested, no-fault divorce, regardless of how long you have been separated, both parties are required to sign. Low-cost equals two signatures, period, no matter what misinformation you may have received or heard.