Wolf signs Schlossberg bill to better protect domestic violence victims seeking divorce

ALLENTOWN, April 21 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, joined Gov. Tom Wolf today for the signing of a bill that will help protect abused spouses seeking divorce.

Schlossberg, who was the prime sponsor of House Bill 12, joined Wolf and other community advocates at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown for the ceremony.

"I am thankful to my colleagues in the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf for their support of this legislation," Schlossberg said. "This new law will help ensure that no one in this state is forced to remain legally attached to their abuser through marriage."

Schlossberg said that before his bill was signed into law, an abuser could entrap their spouse in a marriage for two years by refusing to consent to a divorce. Additionally, courts had the ability to impose up to three counseling sessions in these cases, which further endangered an abused spouse by forcing them to continually interact with their abuser.

"Potentially forcing a victim to continually face their abuser is an unthinkable and precarious outcome of how Pennsylvania’s divorce laws were written," Schlossberg said. "With my bill now signed into law, abused spouses will have the legal rights and protections they need to protect themselves and their children."   

This is the second bill Schlossberg has advanced to help victims avoid the perpetrator of crimes against them. Last year, the governor signed into law Schlossberg's proposal closing a loophole that potentially forced a woman to see her rapist if the woman was receiving financial support from her attacker.