Media Center

Passage of Pennsylvania’s new divorce law endorsed by McNees attorney J. Paul Helvy

October 7, 2016
Press Releases

HARRISBURG, PA (October 6, 2016) – Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law on Thursday, Oct. 6, legislation that reduces the mandatory separation period to obtain a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania. Instead of a waiting period of two years, the period has been shortened to just one year.

The law will take effect in 60 days and The Pennsylvania Bar Association supports this change.

  1. Paul Helvy, a member attorney of McNees Wallace & Nurick and chair of the Family Law Practice Group, played an active role in lobbying numerous legislators for passing the new law and is available to discuss what Pennsylvanians can expect when the legislation is enacted in 60 days.

In November 2015, Helvy wrote about the legislation in an article entitled, “Untying the knot: It’s time for Pennsylvania to cut the divorce waiting period.” That story can be found on the McNees website:

He also appeared as a guest on WITF’s Smart Talk to discuss the change in the divorce law waiting period.

“Taking a year to work through the issues is a fair middle ground. If the waiting period is too long, the settlement of financial matters is delayed, and the uncertainty and instability that has haunted the family is exacerbated,” Helvy wrote. “A shorter waiting period enables financial issues to be resolved more quickly and a stable routine for the children to be created more rapidly.”

Helvy is a frequent speaker on behalf of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and county Bar Associations on the topics of divorce, custody and support. Some of the seminars in which he has been involved include a presentation to the state’s Trial Judges regarding Business Valuation, Family Law Practice in Central Pennsylvania, Preparing Marital Settlement Agreements, Determining Net Income for Support Calculations, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and Updates on Recent Developments in the Areas of Distribution of Marital Property, Support, and Custody.

Helvy is the past Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar association, Family Law Section. He also has chaired the Legislative, Membership and Program Committees of the PBA Family Law Section and has testified before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee regarding pending family law legislation.


McNees is a full-service law firm based in central Pennsylvania with more than 130 attorneys representing corporations, associations, institutions and individuals. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Harrisburg, Lancaster, State College and Scranton, PA; Columbus, OH; and Washington, D.C. McNees is also a member of the ALFA International Global Legal Network. @McNeeslaw LinkedIn


J. Paul Helvy

Related Practices

Family and Collaborative Law