Filing a divorce by mutual consent in Pennsylvania is the most cost-effective option. It often costs only a fraction of what other approaches to divorce would cost. Or, friendly parties can choose an alternative form of resolution, such as mediation. In those situations, a mediator can help spouses divide their assets and debts, establish custody and support agreements, and more, all without the need for an attorney.
Of course, mediation is only one option for couples who can navigate the divorce process in good faith with each other. To obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania, at least one of the parties must have been a resident of the state for at least six months immediately before filing the divorce case. Pittsburgh divorce lawyer Anthony Piccirilli can discuss the details of your case with you and how it may affect costs in the future. However, the potential price should not motivate divorcing spouses to hire the cheapest lawyers possible to reduce expenses.
The main factor affecting the cost of a divorce in Pennsylvania is whether both spouses consent to the divorce. While you might think you could save money by filing for divorce on your own, it's often more expensive than hiring an attorney from the start. A Pennsylvania divorce lawyer can guide you through the options available to you so that you can choose the right route for your situation and reduce legal costs, if that is your goal. The longer it takes you and your spouse to resolve the terms of your divorce agreement, the more expensive your divorce could be.
A no-fault divorce is one in which the court does not require either spouse to prove that the other's wrongdoing was the cause of the divorce. The low-cost divorce option in PA is called a “no-fault and mutually consented divorce, also known as a no-contest divorce. Divorces involving children, a co-ownership business, or a high net worth are often more than divorces between a couple without children or a couple with few assets. If you are unable to represent yourself due to several reasons, such as insufficient legal background, you will also need to hire an attorney, which will increase the price of your divorce considerably.
It's also possible to ask an attorney to help you with only parts of your case, such as reviewing your divorce agreement, drafting divorce papers, or attending a hearing with you. After your spouse responds to the lawsuit, the court may order that your case be handled by a divorce teacher, an experienced, court-appointed attorney who will hold hearings on matters on which the spouses cannot agree. To get a divorce in Pennsylvania, you'll need to file your divorce documentation with a Pennsylvania Court of Common Appeals. Getting an experienced PA divorce lawyer to navigate the process could make a difference in overall experience and results.
So, is it worth seeking the help of an attorney during your divorce? While you don't need a lawyer to get a divorce, most people benefit greatly from an attorney's guidance and advocacy.