How to file for pennsylvania divorce

This article will take the mystery and hopefully at least some of the stress out of the process.

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As we mentioned, there are six steps to filing a divorce in PA. One thing to keep in mind is that PA does not offer a simplified or summary divorce. It offers a no-fault or a fault divorce. In Pennsylvania alimony can be awarded.

Pennsylvania Separation Divorce Forms

Note that this is an equitable distribution state, equitable distribution referring to the division of marital property. Equitable means fair, not equal. For the residency requirements, either spouse has to have lived in PA for at least six months before you can file a divorce complaint. Or, it can be recorded in the county where both spouses agree it can be filed. In PA, there are two types of divorces, a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce. The difference is the basis for the divorce. Explanations of each are as follows:. A fault-based divorce it would need to involve something like adultery, desertion, imprisonment for at least two years, endangerment, or indignities.

It means that one spouse is responsible for the ending of the marriage. These divorces are often contested and may take a lot longer to resolve. They also cost more because of increased legal fees and additional court costs. Then the plaintiff will send a notice of a Waiver of Notice to the defendant.

The judge will sign after the papers are reviewed. Then the divorce is final. There are two kinds of no-fault divorce in PA.

Divorce Proceedings - Representing Yourself: Forms and Information from the Pennsylvania Courts

One is under mutual consent, when the spouses have agreed that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and neither takes the blame. Both parties live apart and separate for at least two years, after which the divorce is finalized. The third step is filing the Divorce Complaint is filed with the court. This is a legal document, and will start commencement of the divorce proceedings. You will need six forms to fill out for this first step in PA.

You will need a Notice to Defend form, which is a standard form for any time a document is filed in the court system in PA. Next, you will need a Counseling Notice form, which acknowledges that you are aware of the legal counseling options when filing for divorce. Then you will need a Complaint in Divorce form, which is the actual request, so your divorce is on record with the court. A Verification Form confirms that all your information is correct and that you are filing for a divorce. You will need to have your spouse served the paperwork for the divorce.

The form for this is the Form of Acceptance, and it will indicate that the defendant acknowledges they have been served all necessary forms. Regardless of which forms you choose, you will need to print each form and take it to the designated office in your county courthouse. If you and your spouse agree to a no fault and mutual consent divorce, use the following forms for a c divorce:. If the period of separation from your spouse began on or after December 5, you will need to live apart from your spouse for at least one year before filing your divorce complaint.

If your period of separation began before December 5, , you need to have lived apart from your spouse for a minimum of two years prior to filing a complaint. If you are working with an attorney, they will make sure all the forms are correct and they will file them for you at the appropriate court. When you file your Complaint with the court, you must also attach a Notice to Defend and Claim Rights on the top of your forms and a Verification must be attached to the bottom.

The Complaint is filed where legal pleadings are filed in your county. You will need to pay fees when you file unless you have been granted a waiver. This caption must be identical on all documents filed in your case. After you file your forms with the court, you must also serve your spouse with copies of the Form 1 paperwork so that they are officially notified and have a chance to respond. In Pennsylvania, court papers can be served by mail as long as you follow specific rules and procedures. Court papers may also be served by personal service, but you or a person related to you cannot complete this task.

Once papers have been served, Proof of Service must be documented by completing an Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service which explains how and when the papers were delivered to the other party. If you are not sure which form to use, ask court personnel or consult with an attorney to make sure you follow this procedure correctly. If you were unable to successfully serve the other party within 30 days or within 90 days if the other party does not live in Pennsylvania , then you must complete and file the Praecipe to Reinstate the Complaint, Form 4.

The date you file this Praecipe re-starts the clock for service, and you will have another 30 days to serve the other party or 90 days if the other party does not live in Pennsylvania. If you continue to have problems completing service, it is recommended that you speak to an attorney. You may not proceed until proper service has been made. Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure require that parties in a divorce wait 90 days from the service of the Complaint before filing c Affidavit of Consents.

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  • After all forms have been filing and the waiting period is over, a Divorce Decree will be mailed to both parties, assuming there are no mistakes. If corrections are needed, a final divorce decree will not be entered until the court has the corrected paperwork. Some courts may contact you if corrections need to be made, and some courts will not.

    Filing Divorce Papers in Pennsylvania |

    Prior to the final decree being issued, provide the office where legal pleadings are filed with two stamped envelopes. These envelopes will be used to mail copies of your final Divorce Decree to you once it has been granted. This is not an easy question to answer, because each county in Pennsylvania can charge different amounts for the same services or processes. For example, Philadelphia, Delaware and Bucks counties have relatively high filing fees.

    Divorce Forms

    Keep in mind, these are just court related costs. Fees for hiring attorneys, mediators, arbitrators or for other services can be expensive and vary widely as well. Costs will vary on the type of documents you need to file to begin your divorce case. Some of these fees may run into the hundreds of dollars. If you are not able to pay these fees, you can submit a form called In Forma Pauperis.

    As part of this submission, you will need to provide your income and expense statements and you may be required to appear in front of a judge who will decide if you must pay fees or not. No, online divorce is not permitted in Pennsylvania. However, you can start the process online with the help of online services who will assist you in filling out forms. You will need to review these forms before you print them out and file in person at your county courthouse.

    For a no fault and uncontested divorce, after divorce papers have been filed and served there is a minimum day waiting period before final paperwork can be submitted and a divorce can be finalized by the courts.

    How to File for Divorce in PA: Steps, Fees & Forms

    In some cases, this could take longer if there is a backlog in the county where you file. In cases where a divorce is contested, both sides will need to work to resolve outstanding issues such as child custody and support, alimony, a division of assets and other concerns before a divorce can be presented to the courts for consideration.

    When spouses cannot come to an agreement, they may need to proceed to a trial which could add several months to the process before a divorce is finalized. A person who wants to initiate a divorce in Pennsylvania must establish residency in the state for at least six months prior to initiating the action. After you file for divorce, you do not need to keep living in the state. Yes, and the process is relatively easy. You start by drawing up a complaint for divorce and filing a form you get from the court on online. Be sure to only cite this reason if you are reasonably sure you and your spouse can reach a settlement without using the court.

    File an original complaint and two copies with the court of common pleas in the county where you or your spouse live. Serve your spouse with the complaint within 30 days which you can do by certified mail if you so choose.