En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Legal Statutes: Pennsylvania

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Pennsylvania Statutes

Print this page

Back to Pennsylvania overview

Chapter 31. Preliminary Provisions

back to top3104. Bases of jurisdiction

(a) Jurisdiction.--The courts shall have original jurisdiction in cases of divorce and for the annulment of void or voidable marriages and shall determine, in conjunction with any decree granting a divorce or annulment, the following matters, if raised in the pleadings, and issue appropriate decrees or orders with reference thereto, and may retain continuing jurisdiction thereof:

(1) The determination and disposition of property rights and interests between spouses, including any rights created by any antenuptial, postnuptial or separation agreement and including the partition of property held as tenants by the entireties or otherwise and any accounting between them, and the order of any spousal support, alimony, alimony pendente lite, counsel fees or costs authorized by law.

(2) The future care, custody and visitation rights as to children of the marriage or purported marriage.

(3) Any support or assistance which shall be paid for the benefit of any children of the marriage or purported marriage.

(4) Any property settlement involving any of the matters set forth in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) as submitted by the parties.

(5) Any other matters pertaining to the marriage and divorce or annulment authorized by law and which fairly and expeditiously may be determined and disposed of in such action.

(b) Residence and domicile of parties.--No spouse is entitled to commence an action for divorce or annulment under this part unless at least one of the parties has been a bona fide resident in this Commonwealth for at least six months immediately previous to the commencement of the action. Both parties shall be competent witnesses to prove their respective residence, and proof of actual residence within this Commonwealth for six months shall create a presumption of domicile within this Commonwealth.

(c) Powers of court.--The court has authority to entertain an action under this part notwithstanding the fact that the marriage of the parties and the cause for divorce occurred outside of this Commonwealth and that both parties were at the time of the occurrence domiciled outside this Commonwealth. The court also has the power to annul void or voidable marriages celebrated outside this Commonwealth at a time when neither party was domiciled within this Commonwealth.

(d) Foreign forum.--After the dissolution or annulment of a marriage in a foreign forum where a matter under subsection (a) has not been decided, a court of this Commonwealth shall have jurisdiction to determine a matter under subsection (a) to the fullest extent allowed under the Constitution of the United States.

(e) Venue.--A proceeding for divorce or annulment may be brought in the county:

(1) where the defendant resides;

(2) if the defendant resides outside of this Commonwealth, where the plaintiff resides;

(3) of matrimonial domicile, if the plaintiff has continuously resided in the county;

(4) prior to six months after the date of final separation and with agreement of the defendant, where the plaintiff resides or, if neither party continues to reside in the county of matrimonial domicile, where either party resides; or

(5) after six months after the date of final separation, where either party resides.
1990, Dec. 19, P.L. 1240, No. 206, § 2, effective in 90 days.