Husband signing a divorce decree

Untying the knot on paper can be pretty confusing, especially for those who have never been divorced or know little about the family law. Below, one can find some useful info on the issue.

Types of Divorce in PA

When marrieds believe that their relationship is irretrievably broken and thus reconciliation is impossible, they don’t need another reason to untie the knot. If they are willing to go their separate ways as soon as possible and therefore want to keep it simple by agreeing on all their issues amicably, they can have an easy, yet fast no-fault divorce by mutual consent. If spouses cannot have the latter one simply because someone refuses to agree, they still can start a no-fault case called an uncontested one. However, in this case, partners need to be considered separated for at least 1 year before the court can fulfill the plaintiff’s request.

Under the divorce laws in PA, if one party is not willing to end a marriage, and spouses haven’t been separated for the required period, it is still possible to untie the knot, but for this, a side that files must prove his or her partner being at fault.

There are many grounds for divorce in PA; however, the most frequently cited ones are infidelity, abandonment, and mental illness. It is important to note that when a plaintiff proves a defendant’s fault, he or she must show that no harm was caused to another party too. Otherwise, if two sides are at fault, the court may decide to dismiss their case.

Who Can Start a PA Divorce Procedure?

There are a few requirements that one must meet to initiate a divorce process in PA. First of all, to get started, one of two spouses must be a Pennsylvanian resident for at least half a year. One of the most frequently asked questions is “What type of court handles divorces in the state?”. And the answer is pretty simple – one can file in The Court of Common Pleas, which considers family law cases, in the county where:

  • a plaintiff resides, if his or her soon-to-be ex-spouse is not a resident of the state;
  • a defendant resides;
  • both parties lived while were married;
  • a plaintiff resides, if the spouses are not separated for half a year and a defendant doesn’t mind, or where one of the sides resides if neither lives in the county where they lived together,
  • one of the parties resides, if they have been separated for at least half a year.

How to file for divorce in PA?

Once the residency requirements are met and the type of divorce (3301(d) divorce or 3301(c) divorce) is chosen, it is time to think about how to get a divorce in PA. To initiate the process, one is supposed to submit the following forms:

  • Notice to Defend Form – This form is needed any time one submits a document with a clerk’s office.
  • Verification Form – This paper confirms that the provided info is correct and that dissolution of marriage is requested.
  • Family Court Cover Sheet – This document varies depending on the county and without it, filing may be rejected.
  • Complaint in Divorce Form – This document usually begins the proceeding.
  • Counseling Notice Form – This paper is prepared by a plaintiff to inform another party about the counseling options available.
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate.

Once the docs are prepared, one should make two copies of the documentation, pay court fees, and send the original papers, the copies, and a certified check along with a self-addressed envelope to the court-house to get started.

While some hire an expert to prepare their documents and file them with the court for them, others prefer to go without outside help. If you don’t feel like paying skyrocketing attorney’s fees but don’t know how to file for divorce in PA without an attorney, sign up with PAOnlineDivorce. Here, you can get all the needed PA divorce forms done specifically for your case in a few easy steps. For $139, you will get a full packet that will come with free detailed instructions on how to submit it with the court yourself easily.