It has been alleged Kate Gosselin states in her divorce complaint that Jon and her have been living “separate and apart” for the past two years.  Many viewers of the show are claiming they have been “duped” and now believe the past 2 years of their television show was a sham. The truth: no one has been duped, and Jon & Kate have not been separated for the last two years.

First, you need to understand the significance of the 2 year separation language in Kate’s complaint.
In Pennsylvania divorcing spouses must establish a legal reason (or “grounds”) in order for the court to grant a divorce.  Pennsylvania has two no-fault grounds for divorce:

  1. consent by both parties that the marriage is irretrievably broken; and
  2. the parties living separate and apart for two years and an acknowledgment by one of the parties that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

In Pennsylvania, it is common practice for the party filing for divorce to allege both of the no-fault grounds for divorce in the complaint.  This is done so that if the other party refuses to give their consent (option #1 above) the filing party (Kate) can still proceed under option #2 once they establish the 2 years of separation.  Option #2 can be established despite the other party’s refusal to consent.

Absent one of the two no-fault grounds being established above, Kate (as the plaintiff) would have to proceed on a fault based ground (such as indignities or adultery) in order to get a divorce.
Obviously proceeding on a fault based ground, while wonderful for tabloids, would only further divide the parties, increase hostility, prolong the divorce and ultimately subject the children to unnecessary animosity.

This case clearly seems to be heading down the path for option #1: both parties will ultimately consent that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

The high profile of Jon and Kate provides the public with a unique opportunity to explore issues that arise in contested divorce cases. Through this ongoing series I will offer comments and analysis of the proceedings and provide insight on how developments in Jon and Kate’s case may occur in other divorces.  I am a Pennsylvania divorce attorney who is not involved in the Jon and Kate matter and the comments I present in this blog series are not case specific but rather intended to provide the public with helpful information on Pennsylvania divorce law.