What is the Process for Divorce in Pennsylvania?

Getting a divorce in Pennsylvania is a three-step process that requires strict deadlines and forms to be completed with 100% accuracy. The simplest procedure is an uncontested divorce, in which both spouses come to an agreement on all issues. The person filing for divorce (the plaintiff) must have lived in Pennsylvania for at least the past six months. The date of separation is defined as the cessation of cohabitation, whether you live in the same residence or not.

The process begins 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.

Divorce in Pennsylvania can take between 90 days and 12 months on average, depending on whether it's fault or not fault. The mandatory waiting period for no-fault dissolution of marriage is 90 days. The average contested divorce takes 5 to 12 months, and an uncontested divorce takes about 4 to 6 months. A divorce can be filed in Pennsylvania only if at least one spouse has lived in PA for at least the past 6 months.

Such a divorce petition can be filed in a county where one of the spouses lives here or in any county if both parties agree in writing that the divorce should be filed there. The Divorce Demand Form is the actual request for your divorce to be recorded in court. Before filing for divorce in PA, consider if you have any financial or child problems that may need resolution, and whether you are both amicable enough to mediate your divorce. After the 90-day waiting period ends, you can file final forms and request a divorce decree stating that you are officially divorced. In addition, it leaves clients at the door, as they must then hire a private attorney to draft a formal agreement of their understanding, and then they are left to file for divorce on their own without any guidance or direction, unless they pay additional fees to a legal professional who can guide them through the process. 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. Under the PA no-fault divorce statute, to establish grounds for a divorce, one does not need to show the fault that caused a divorce to be filed, such as adultery, mental cruelty, or physical abuse.

A qualified divorce lawyer will know the intricacies of the law, as well as the ins and outs of the court system. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse hires their own divorce attorney and both sign a document stating that they will not use the courts to litigate any issues that arise in their matter. You can learn more about the divorce process in Pennsylvania and the legal issues you will encounter in Pennsylvania Divorce & Family Laws. If a plaintiff seeks a no-fault divorce, either by consent or without consent, the defendant can prevent the divorce from being granted by proving that the parties have not lived separate and apart for at least one year or that the marriage has not irretrievably broken down. By filing a no-fault, undisputed divorce with an agreement that an attorney has reviewed, you can get a quick divorce. Appropriate forms and information on how to get a divorce can be found on the Pennsylvania Courts Divorce website.

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