Filing for divorce in pennsylvania


Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Your best option is to find a family law firm in PA that can help you file by yourselves. If you choose to file yourself, here's a heads up on mistakes that have derailed our clients. Watch out for these and you'll be in good shape. The PA divorce filing process is full of dates—very specific days to file, waiting periods, etc.

These can easily get overwhelming. To minimize your confusion, it's extremely important to understand the different time periods present within the months before you file.

Typically, the most confusing time periods include 1 30 day window after filing the divorce complaint to serve divorce papers and file the Acceptance of Service, and 2 Mandatory day Waiting Period - this begins after the Acceptance of Service form is filed.

Missing the deadlines will only delay your divorce, causing more stress and the possibility of having to re-file. Luckily all this stress can be avoided with just a few simple reminders to yourself! Since most people who are filing for divorce as a do-it-yourself do not have a legal background, the legal jargon can be very confusing.

One term in particular that is very important to understand is "court docket number. Each new case receives a unique, new docket number. All subsequent forms that you file once you have received this number must include the docket number on them. Regardless of whether you file in person, through the mail, or E-file, your case will be given a docket number. Unfortunately many of the necessary forms in filing for divorce in PA are very similar. It may seem confusing whether you or your spouse is supposed to sign and file a form or which order to file the forms.

That's why you should familiarize yourself with all the forms before you even begin the process. Pay attention to who is supposed to file certain forms and the titles of the documents. Additionally, it's important to understand that the forms cannot be filled out all at once. Instead, you need to sign, date, and fill in appropriate information at the specified times. She is on a mission to generate awareness, understanding and trust around mediation as a healthier option for separation and divorce well before a client's first consultation.

She draws upon over 17 years in nonprofit, education and marketing to enable more spouses to "get to the table" and mediate successfully. All Rights Reserved. Read our Privacy policy. Any information disseminated on this website does not constitute legal advice of any kind,and does not form the basis for an attorney-client relationship. As such, the reader of such information is advised to consult directly with a competent legal professional of their own choosing to discuss and answer any substantive legal questions they may have. Eligibility for Divorce in PA Before we dive into the details, let's talk about eligibility first.

Before You Begin If you're someone who's had very little experience with the Courts, you might encounter some unfamiliar terms. File - This means to provide documents to the Court so the Court can enter it on record. Service or Serve - This is a term used when you are giving your spouse papers to review, sign, and return in the correct time frame.

Complicated Divorce Issues: How to Get a Divorce in Pennsylvania

Docket number - This is the tracking or ID number used by the Court to refer to your case. Time-stamp date - This is the date the Court issues to tell you when they processed your paperwork. Marital Settlement Agreement or MSA - A marital settlement agreement is the legally-binding document that includes all the terms that you've agreed to upon divorce.

It's not required to get your divorce on record with the Court. Getting Organized The filing process in Pennsylvania is broken down into three steps, plus a day mandatory wait period. Step 1: Filing the Divorce Complaint In this step, you'll get your case entered into the Court system. Counseling Notice Form - This acknowledges that the plaintiff is aware of the legal counseling options for this divorce filing.

How To File For Divorce in Pennsylvania

Complaint in Divorce Form - This is the actual request to get your divorce on record with the court. Verification Form - This confirms that your information is correct and that you're seeking a divorce. Family Court Cover Sheet - This could vary depending on the county you choose. Plaintiff The Plaintiff must serve the papers one set of time-stamped copies to the Defendant.

Defendant The Defendant must complete the Form of Acceptance - This form indicates that the defendant acknowledges they've been served the step one forms and made aware the divorce complaint has been filed.

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

Step 3: Final Forms Once the Court receives the Form of Acceptance from the Defendant, they'll return the two copies with a time-stamp. Plaintiff's Waiver of Notice of Intent - This indicates a waiver of formal notice. Praecipe to Transmit Record - This is a request for the divorce to be entered into record.

Pennsylvania Vital Records Form - This requests important personal information. Divorce Decree - You'll need to complete some basic information, and this will be returned once the judge has signed. Optional Forms In addition to the above, here are some forms you may need to file depending on your circumstances. Name Change Form - This legally allows the spouse to change back to her maiden name. Marriage Settlement Agreement - This is the legal document that includes all the terms of your divorce around division of property and child support.

Usually this is prepared by an attorney.

Introduction to representing yourself in Pennsylvania

This includes dividing marital assets equitably not necessarily equally and ordering child custody according to the best interests of the child as well as child support. In Pennsylvania these are all heard separately. An uncontested divorce is often the result of mediation.


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In mediation, both parties to the divorce use a trained mediator to agree to the basic terms of divorce. Each party is still represented by an attorney, but the issues are all decided out of court. Mediation can provide the divorcing couple with a less acrimonious process, one that is managed privately. Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, each party should be represented by an attorney. A divorce lawyer can protect your rights and interests in divorce and ensure that your transition to post-divorce life goes as smoothly as possible.

Karen Ann Ulmer, P. We have significant experience and have worked hard to build a law firm that can address your needs. Please enter a valid email address.

Divorce Proceedings | Representing Yourself | Learn | Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania

Please verify that you have read the disclaimer. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Calming the Chaos, Creating Solutions. A Brief Guide to Uncontested Divorce in Pennsylvania An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties to the divorce agree on all of the main issues of the divorce. Email us for response Do You Need Answers? Bold labels are required.

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