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Online Divorce in Pennsylvania

Couples applying for an uncontested divorce are welcomed to use services offered by DivorceOnline. With the help of our platform, residents of Pennsylvania can get assistance throughout the entire process of divorce papers preparation without hidden fees.

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Uncontested Divorce in Pennsylvania

As in other U.S. states, people have the opportunity to file for both contested and uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania.

  • If soon-to-be-ex spouses refuse to sign an affidavit consenting to marriage dissolution, they should go through a contested divorce. Partners often consider this option when they fail to reach a mutual agreement regarding property division, child custody, spousal support, and other divorce-related terms.
  • Uncontested divorce, also known as "no-fault and mutual consent divorce" in the state, is less complicated and time-consuming than traditional marriage dissolution. By signing papers stating that each party is in agreement, spouses can also save a lot of money addressing divorce-related issues in Pennsylvania courts. Thus, considering a variety of benefits associated with this option, residents of Pennsylvania most often end their marriages peacefully.

Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online

Preparation of divorce forms is one of the most important steps of any marriage termination process. To ensure these documents are completed correctly and efficiently, people living in Pennsylvania can use DivorceOnline services.

Even if you have no legal background, DivorceOnline can help you select and fill out up-to-date divorce papers for only $139. Our clients do not receive blank forms. We provide a complete divorce paperwork package and easy-to-follow written instructions on how to file.

After finishing a self-guided online questionnaire that is very easy to complete, our customers can download ready-to-sign divorce documents following Pennsylvania laws. Thus, DivorceOnline can be considered a perfect alternative to hiring an attorney for an uncontested divorce.

Currently, Pennsylvania residents may be required to submit the following forms:

  • Form 1 The Notice to Defend, Complaint and Verification
  • Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
  • 3a Affidavit of Acceptance of Service
  • 5a Affidavit of Consent of Plaintiff
  • 5b Affidavit of Consent of Defendant
  • Form 12 Praecipe to Transmit Record
  • Form 13 Divorce Decree
  • Form 15 Notice of Intention to Resume Prior Surname
  • Form 3c Affidavit of Personal Service
  • Form 4 Praecipe to Reinstate the Complaint Instructions

Steps for Filing a Divorce in Pennsylvania

Couples that file for divorce in this state should follow several significant steps that are outlined below.

At least one of the partners must be a legal resident of the state for a minimum of six months before the divorce case is started.

In Pennsylvania, couples are allowed to apply for fault-based or no-fault divorce. To file for no-fault divorce, spouses should agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and file an affidavit alleging that the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year. In this case, neither partner accuses the other of causing the split.

Fault-based grounds include:

  • Willful abandonment without a reasonable cause, for at least one year;
  • Adultery;
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment;
  • Bigamy;
  • Imprisonment for at least two years;
  • Behavior that makes the marriage intolerable.

Also, the petitioner may identify a spouse's insanity or serious mental disorder as the ground for divorce. However, the other party must have been in a mental institution for at least 18 months before the initiation for dissolution of marriage.

To initiate the divorce process, the petitioner should file completed documents, along with at least two sets of copies, to the court clerk.

Divorce Papers in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, each county court has its own requirements regarding divorce papers. However, the basic list of divorce forms includes:

  1. Praecipe for Pro Se Entry of Appearance
  2. Notice to Defend
  3. Notice of Right to Counseling
  4. Divorce Complaint
  5. Verification
  6. Certificate of Compliance1
  7. Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

To make sure all the necessary divorce forms are completed and submitted with the court, divorcing spouses should contact the local court clerk in advance. It can help avoid potential errors and the case dismissal.

Filing Fees

Currently, court filing fees when filing for a divorce cost around $300-400 in Pennsylvania, varying slightly from county to county. It doesn't matter if you represent yourself in court or hire an attorney; the payment should be released anyway. The refusal to pay filing fees without a reasonable cause will most likely lead to the court’s decision to dismiss a divorce case.

Waiting Period

All couples applying for divorce in this state must go through a mandatory 90-day waiting period after filing to get the divorce granted.

The petitioner is required to notify their spouse about the initiation of divorce within 30 days of the date of filing. In this way, both parties have an equal opportunity to present their position to the court. This task can be carried out by:

  • An attorney (if uncontested)
  • Sheriff
  • Process server
  • Certified mail

As a rule, anyone 18 or older (except for the petitioner) is allowed to serve documents on the defendant.

After reviewing an uncontested divorce case, the judge issues a final order of divorce which includes comprehensive information on each party’s rights and responsibilities.

Getting a Divorce With Children

To avoid extra costs and stress when filing for divorce with minor children, it is essential to reach a mutual agreement on child-related issues in advance. When the child's best interests are preserved, the court typically approves any plan the parents may agree upon in their uncontested divorce. Otherwise, parents will have to go to the local court to work out a child custody plan.

When awarding custody, the judge will consider the following factors:

  • the child's preferences;
  • the child's age;
  • the child's relationship with each parent and other family members, including siblings;
  • mental and physical health of each parent;
  • any history of domestic violence; and
  • the criminal record of a parent, if any.

Under Pennsylvania Law, there are two different types of custody in the state: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to a parent's right to live with the child and deal with daily caretaking of them. In turn, legal custody gives parents the opportunity to make major decisions about their child's life. For instance, these decisions can be related to education, nutrition, medical treatments, and personal growth.

A parent with primary physical custody resides with the child, whereas the other parent can either share physical custody or act according to a limited form of physical custody, such as supervised visitation. In case parents share physical custody over a child, they will be allowed to spend a similar amount of time with minors. However, there will still be a custodial parent who spends four nights per week with the child and the other parent who will only be allowed to have three nights per week with their kid.

In the context of child support, both parents are required to support their children financially in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania utilizes standard child support guidelines that will apply in almost every case, barring unique circumstances. To determine the exact amount of financial support, the judge pays attention to each parent's income, earning capacity, and child-related expenses. Child support continues until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school, whichever happens later.

Filing for Divorce in Pennsylvania Without a Lawyer

Even though qualified attorneys can provide legal advice and protect people's interests in court, most uncontested divorce cases can be processed without their legal assistance. As a result, the couple can save a vast amount of money and time on attorney’s services, which is extremely important during such a stressful period of life. Besides, the divorcing spouses can resort to alternative dispute resolution methods, like mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party assists the parties in resolving the issues in their divorce through non-adversarial techniques.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Pennsylvania

Unlike a traditional divorce procedure that costs around $14,300 in Pennsylvania, DIY divorce is way more affordable. The average cost of this type of divorce does not exceed $1000 in the state (together with filing fees and online divorce services).

Also, it is way faster than hiring an attorney who typically needs at least 1-2 weeks to prepare required divorce forms. Online divorce platforms, namely DivorceOnline, can serve this task within two business days.

Finally, DIY divorce is way more convenient than the traditional dissolution of marriage. When using attorneys, spouses have to schedule multiple meetings to discuss the main points of the divorce complaint. In contrast, online divorce platforms can help generate appropriate legal forms over the Internet, at any time of the day or night.


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Frequently Asked Questions:

Usually, an uncontested Pennsylvania divorce takes around four months, although this period can be prolonged to over a year if spouses can't find a mutual agreement on divorce-related issues.

In addition to filing fees ($300-400, depending on the county and personal circumstances), divorcing couples can spend money on attorney's services or online divorce services. The average cost of services provided by a divorce lawyer is $230-280 per hour, whereas online divorce platforms, such as DivorceOnline, charge $139.

If the couple can't afford to pay filing fees, they can ask the judge to waive it by completing and signing the Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. The judge will review this document and waive the fees if spouses prove that the required payment is a considerable financial hardship for them.

The list of appropriate divorce papers differs from one case to another. It depends on the county where the couple files for marriage dissolution and the type of divorce. Thus, residents of Pennsylvania should be ready to complete documents including:

  1. Praecipe for Pro Se Entry of Appearance
  2. Notice to Defend
  3. Notice of Right to Counseling
  4. Divorce Complaint
  5. Verification
  6. Certificate of Compliance
  7. Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

The whole list of required divorce forms can be found on the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania's website.