It's possible to complete a Pennsylvania divorce without hiring a family law attorney to guide you through the process. For some spouses, this makes financial sense; if they can work together amicably, they may end up saving on unnecessary legal fees. Unfortunately, however, this is not usually the case. Even when a Pennsylvania divorce starts amicably, it doesn't always end that way.
Most of the time, what we see are spouses with bad feelings and a need to “settle accounts”. In Pennsylvania, filing for divorce as a “do it yourself” process (called a “pro se”) is a 3-step process with strict deadlines and forms that must be completed with 100% accuracy or will be returned. The simplest procedure is an uncontested divorce, in which you and your spouse come to an agreement on all issues. You begin the procedure by filing a Demand for Divorce, along with several supporting documents.
For an uncontested divorce, one of these documents will be a marital settlement agreement that describes the division of assets and its agreement with respect to children. These documents are filed with the court and copies of them are provided to your spouse. You'll attend a court hearing, at which point the judge will make sure all your documents are in order, maybe ask you some questions, and enter your Divorce Decree. Under Pennsylvania law, you have the right to represent yourself in all legal cases, including divorce.
You don't need to hire an attorney to file an uncontested divorce petition in PA; however, there are many reasons why you should still consider doing so. First of all, there are still things that can go wrong and work to your disadvantage, even in an undisputed divorce. This is why it's important for a properly trained lawyer to review all your documents and agreements before filing them; to make sure there are no blind spots you're missing. In addition, uncontested divorces are often the least expensive divorce option.
So, for a modest investment, you can get peace of mind knowing that everything is filed properly and in your favor. In a divorce, the spouses have a signed divorce agreement and file it along with the required divorce documentation in the county in which they are seeking a divorce. In Pennsylvania, the court may also call a no-contest divorce proceeding, a no-fault divorce, a no-fault consensual divorce, or a mutual consent divorce. Your divorce is simple enough to go ahead and file the necessary forms to receive a divorce decree without hiring lawyers or a marital property settlement agreement.
When it comes to alimony in divorce mediation, the parties themselves discuss and decide, through the assistance and guidance of their divorce mediator, what is the appropriate amount of alimony to pay that is fair and realistic, after considering their respective post-divorce budgets. Spouses who need to hire an attorney to represent them will generally begin the filing process first, as the first step toward divorce before resolving issues related to finances and children. After both spouses reach an agreement on issues related to the divorce, a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer can help with the drafting of a marriage agreement. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania has a legal glossary that you may find useful if you decide to divorce and information on how to represent yourself in a divorce.
Filing for divorce is never pleasant, but if you have the right assistance or knowledge, you will be prepared to start your divorce. Divorce will also be granted when the defendant has been in a psychiatric institution for a serious mental problem for at least 18 months before the divorce is initiated, and will likely remain in the institution for at least 18 months after the divorce has been initiated. As with alimony, the court must be asked to divide marital assets as part of the divorce lawsuit before the court finally grants the divorce. Divorce Demand Form This form is the actual request for your divorce to be recorded in court.
When you file for divorce, unless your divorce is simple, you will need to attach a legally binding marriage agreement to file the divorce in the county court. That's why you shouldn't delay and consult a local divorce lawyer in your county as soon as possible to help you with your legal divorce options. If you're not sure which path to take, first assess whether divorce mediation is right for your situation before turning to opposing lawyers. After the application has been filed, you have the option to complete your divorce, either by hiring opposing lawyers or through divorce mediation, that is, if your spouse also agrees to mediate.