If you are filing for divorce in Pennsylvania, you will be required to pay a filing fee of between $300 and $400. The exact amount may vary depending on the county where the case is initiated.
The overall cost of divorce in Pennsylvania will depend on whether or not it is contested and how much your lawyer, if any, charges hourly. On average, getting a divorce in PA will cost you:
|Type of Divorce||Cost|
|Contested/Fault||$12,000-$25,000 or more if the case is complex|
|Contested & No-Fault||$10,000-$15,000 or more depending on the complexity|
|No-Fault & Uncontested/Mutual Agreement||$4,000-$6,000 with a lawyer
About $400 for a DIY option, including court costs
Around $139 + court costs with the help of an online service
Filing for divorce in PA, you may avoid paying filing fees only if your financial situation is critical. To qualify, you need to prove that it would be impossible for you to make such a payment, or it will put you in extreme financial distress by filling out the In Forma Pauperis form.
Cost of Filing for No-Fault Divorce in PA
The price of a mutual consent divorce in the state is about $400 if you are dealing with it yourself, $139 more if you get help online, and about $5,000 if you hire a lawyer to help you. If your case is contested, you may expect to spend about $10,000-$15,000 in legal fees.
Filing for divorce in PA without an attorney is the cheapest option, but it is only available for couples whose case is uncontested. As the average lawyer’s fee is $250-$300 per hour, it is worth coming to an agreement with your spouse, if possible, and filing without legal assistance.
To file for a no-fault divorce in PA, spouses should choose “irreconcilable differences” as the ground for ending their marriage. To make the case uncontested, they should also draft a comprehensive Settlement Agreement in which they outline:
- How they divided their assets;
- Who is going to pay outstanding debts;
- What type of custody each parent will have;
- Who will pay child support (as well as how much and how often);
- Whether alimony will be paid.
Cost of Filing for Divorce with a Lawyer
On average, attorneys in the state charge from $230-$280 per hour. The cost depends on several factors:
- Service in the big cities or counties is obviously more expensive than in the small ones.
- Attorney’s experience. An experienced lawyer with lots of successful cases may charge up to $500 hourly. On the contrary, inexperienced ones may offer their services for $150-$200.
- Disputes in the case. The number of issues to resolve in the court influences the price considerably. Complex contested cases may cost from $35,000 to $100,000 as they often span years.
Factors That Influence the Cost of Filing for Divorce
Sometimes, a bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit. However, there are cases when spouses are unable to reach a consensus and have to go to court. In this case, the overall divorce costs will depend on many different factors outlined below.
Whether You Represent Yourself
According to the state laws, you have a right to represent yourself in the family court. However, going to the court pro se puts a lot of responsibility on you.
- First of all, you will have to show a deep understanding of state-wide and local laws in court as you will be held to the same standards as lawyers.
- You will also need to know all the steps of the divorce process as well as what documents you have to fill in and file, when, what for, and in what order.
- Finally, you can file pro se only if your divorce is uncontested. Otherwise, you need to hire a lawyer to represent you.
If you are unable to represent yourself due to various reasons, such as insufficient legal background, you will have to get a lawyer as well, which will increase the price of your divorce considerably. On the other hand, an experienced lawyer will guide you on this difficult path and help you achieve the desired outcome.
Whether or Not You Have Children
For couples who have children, divorce may turn into a bigger financial burden. Apart from covering basic child’s needs, spouses will have to face expenses related to child custody battles.
The couple will have to decide what type of custody each parent will have if any, and who will pay child support. If there is no consensus on these aspects, each spouse will have to get a legal representative.
If spouses are in agreement, they may choose whether to hire a lawyer, and the cost of their marriage dissolution will vary from $400 to $15,000 depending on the approach they take.
The average price of a contested divorce with kids in Pennsylvania is $21,500 for each parent. All the expenses spent on child-related services such as child custody evaluation can be split between parents.
Depending on your case, you may need to involve financial and other experts. These professionals can testify in court and help you win the case.
Here are some of the most in-demand divorce experts:
- Real estate appraiser. Makes an evaluation and determines the market value of an apartment, house, etc. An average hourly fee such a professional charges is $400.
- Child custody evaluator. Inspects a family situation, finds out about any cases of parental misconduct, communicates with children, and then recommends who should get primary custody. The cost for such service ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 and is often split between the spouses.
- Forensic accountant. Reviews all the financial documents of spouses and makes sure that there is no evidence of suspicious or fraudulent activity. A forensic accountant can charge up to $20,000 depending on the case.
Number of Marital Assets
The more assets you have with your spouse, the more problems may arise when you decide to divorce. If you have acquired real estate, retirement accounts, personal property, and investments during your marriage and cannot agree on how to divide them, you may need to hire a lot of financial experts.
Filing Fees for Divorce in Pennsylvania
Irrespective of whether you file pro se or hire a lawyer, you will have to pay court fees in Pennsylvania. For example, filing costs in the three biggest PA counties are the following:
- Philadelphia county – $333.73;
- Allegheny County – $200;
- Montgomery County – $284.75.
The cost to file for divorce in PA depends on the county you reside in and the types of services you might require a court to provide. You can review the list of filing fees for divorce in Pennsylvania on the website of your county court.